Kiwi software designer and machine manufacturer Helix Flight made it to the finalist round of the HERA Innovator Award 2015 late last month, hard on the heels of a 500 percent sales growth year on year.
It was a proud moment when staff saw the company listed as one of the four finalists in the Innovator of the Year category said Daniel Coats, director of Helix Flight Manufacturing Machines Ltd. “Helix Flight’s strategic alliance with top manufacturers around the world not only benefits our business but also helps raise a stronger New Zealand image around the world.”
This was not the only proud moment for Helix Flight, which earlier this year won support with an R&D grant from Callaghan Innovation. The success of previous projects and revolutionary developments for the sectional helix-forming company has been made possible by being able to leverage the Callaghan Innovation funding, allowing Helix to gain scale as well as allowing simultaneous fully-interactive processes, rather than a piece meal approach.
The R&D funding assistance has also allowed a continued ramp-up of commercialization activities. This follows on from its successful development of software and machines for producing perfect helices - often called flighting - for turbines, anchoring, augers, agitators, piles and conveyors. Coats says the funding was a significant milestone for the company, as it resulted in a significant breakthrough in new markets by funding the design of a wear plate-capable machine that can form sectional helices straight from such materials as Hardox and Bisalloy.
“This development project and the recognition by Callaghan Innovation, is a solid endorsement that Helix Flight has innovative technology," says Coats. The company is developing a prototype for a third-generation, intensive wear plate-capable machine for material-dependent factories, and a larger high-capacity machine for custom equipment built for the largest machines in the world. Both were identified as new customer requirements from earlier research.
“Evidence-to-date shows our new machines are durable, safer and enable improved quality and performance of end products. Our clients see the savings in improved performance of end products and this makes our machines very affordable. This funding will enable us to continue on with R&D while getting on with our current commercialization and export growth.
He said stories like this show what modern New Zealand is all about - invention of new technology and its contribution to the world of engineering.