General Engineering
Conference smashes all records

The Maintenance Engineering Society (MESNZ) wrapped up a busy and fruitful year with the most successful national conference seen by maintenance engineers yet. A record 200 people attended this year’s SKF sponsored Hamilton event.

The high attendance numbers meant seating was a premium in the conference plenum; however, delegates enjoyed the relatively spacious James Walker Exhibition Hall at the Kingsgate venue with a variety of new and first time exhibitors to explore.

The event management team stepped up to the challenge, working hard to retain the special flavour that is this iconic event. They got it right too; the mix of presenters, exhibitors and activities was “bang on” according to the masses.

More importantly, the team of volunteer society members proved that they too could build on their previous experiences and “Lift their game”.

The biggest measure of success though, is the new information and inspiration taken back to companies across New Zealand after the event. This organised osmosis is the single reason behind the biggest manufacturing and maintenance engineering event of the year; providing a forum to meet, learn and share.

The event started with a bang, with a pre-conference field trip to Genesis Huntly Power station, guided by Glenn Pepper. Delegates arriving early for the conference were treated to a rare opportunity to see the iconic site and they were not disappointed by the display of heavy engineering on hand.

Among a mix of technical, case study, holistic and expert papers, perennial guest Dare’ Petreski scored highly among delegates with his plant reliability case study, while presentations from America Cup team members, the designer of the world’s first carbon fibre helicopter and a men’s health doctor kept the interest levels high right up to the conference end.

Wrapping up the conference was a surprise life membership presentation to Craig Carlyle from society peer and past chairman Barry Robinson.

The national conference doubles as the venue for the MESNZ AGM. A focus on governance and work streams allowed Bill Sole and Glenn Pepper to relinquish their committee roles to focus on specific non-committee roles. The vacant seats were filled by Paul Vickers (Ash Air) and Joe Bain (DVT Consulting). All previous executive and committee roles were retained with Karl Hayward remaining as chairman. Several other attendees volunteered to participate in MESNZ activities outside of committee.

Bill Sole presented budding engineer Kieran Flood with the inaugural 2014 MESNZ Bill Buckley Engineering Scholarship at the 2014 SKF National Maintenance Engineering Conference.

With the 2014 conference wrapped up in a year that saw major developments in the MESNZ’s representative, training and networking activities, the committee could be excused for kicking back on the run into Christmas. No luck there, they have been busier than ever, laying the foundations for 2015.

A return to Hamilton in November 2015 has already been confirmed with full details to be released before Christmas. SKF has not hesitated, stepping up immediately to support maintenance engineers yet again. The 2015 show will build on the success of 2014 with more exhibitors and a full mix of international, expert and peer papers. Awesome.

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