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Export Award For Henley Industries

Export Award For Henley Industries - Innovative, Invercargill Engineering Company

Dunedin, May 2, 2003 -- Invercargill design and manufacturing engineers Henley Industries, a company with a reputation for innovation, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award for achieving outstanding growth in export sales over the past three years.

(Note to Editors: Media are invited to attend the Trade New Zealand Export Award presentation to Henley Industries by Mark Peck MP, on Friday May 2 at 12 noon at the company’s premises, Lake Street, Invercargill.)

Director Bruce Henley says the majority of the company’s export revenue is presently generated by domestic wastewater treatment equipment to the USA.

He says such plants would normally be manufactured domestically by American suppliers because of the huge transport costs. However, Henley Industries has developed a method of computer modelling very large equipment in modular form which allows the equipment to be built as sectional components, containerised and shipped to the USA. All the equipment is then assembled in American by Henley’s Invercargill-based site crews.

“Our modular design is at the heart of our success,” says Mr Henley. “Most of our equipment, when in operation, is many times the size of a standard shipping container but must be designed to allow it to fit into containers with minimum waste space.

“To compete with American companies we have to be smarter. We can now manufacture and ship faster than our competitors can manufacture only.”

With 25 staff in its Invercargill plant, Mr Henley says one of the company’s greatest strengths is its design team and their ability to get initial drawings into production and onto the shop floor within days of being awarded a new contract.

He says any shortcomings of being small are well outweighed by the benefits of being agile enough to change and respond to customer demands at short notice.

Mr Henley says most of its domestic wastewater treatment plants are being sold into the Southern States of the USA because they are familiar with the oxidation ditch process and associated technology Henley Industries uses.

However, he says a new industrial wastewater treatment product to be launched later this year, also in the modular form, will have a much broader, worldwide audience.

Mr Henley says product development is ongoing at Henley Industries, with a commitment to developing and innovating new products and improving existing ones.

The company has three divisions – Environmental, Industrial Plastics and Conveyor Systems. Mr Henley says while the environmental division’s wastewater treatment equipment is currently generating most of Henley’s overseas sales, two new conveyor products are predicted to have a big impact on export earnings.

The patented products were released at the Boston Seafood Show in the USA and the Anuga Food Tech Show in Germany recently and Mr Henley says the interest has been overwhelming, with some of the biggest food manufacturers in Europe vying for exclusive rights to the product.

He says the new products are made for converging and diverging loose products on production lines.

“If you’ve got loose products on the conveyor it takes up a lot of space. If you condense the product you can put it into a far smaller freezer and so reduce the capital costs of equipment downstream significantly by making the products closer together. Alternatively to apply a coating you can spread the products apart.

“It’s a completely unique system. We thought in the first year we would sell about 10 machines but one Dutch company already has an annual requirement for over 100 machines.”

Mr Henley says the company is currently considering options for increasing its capability to meet the demand for its new conveyor products and industrial wastewater treatment equipment, and is likely to take on new staff at its Invercargill plant.

“We are on the brink of huge growth which is going to take some managing. We have got three very exciting products that have the potential to really take-off, with demand for one of them - the converger/diverger - already exceeding all expectations.”

He says the New Zealand origin of Henley Industries’ products is a positive.

“There is now a very strong awareness of New Zealand internationally, with the country very highly regarded internationally as a manufacturer of engineering equipment. New Zealand has a very good reputation as being a quality, niche supplier not a mass producer, which is great as that’s the area we’re operating in.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager David Grant congratulated Henley Industries on its Export Award, says the company has achieved outstanding foreign exchange growth over the past two years.

“This is largely the result of the success of its waster water equipment sales to the USA and the company’s ability to be internationally competitive in terms of manufacturing and shipping.

“Building on this foundation, the company’s new conveyor systems look set to position the company for long term expansion. Strong leadership and manufacturing flexibility and quality will support this growth.”

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