David Thompson Posted:
So very, very true. It beggars belief that we consider ourselves to be a developed nation when so much of our economy is based on selling milk powder or logs. BTW, I own a Plinius amplifier (my second) that drives a set of Theophany speakers.
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David Thompson Posted:
A robust but sobering report. It concerns me that confidence is rising, yet sales and exports are down and "manufacturers and exporters are still lagging behind other sectors". Surely we should wait until we're earning more money before we start spending more?
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siemens Posted:
Yes true! The only thing that will never die in this world is the nature and its science behind it. Great post.
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Kieran Ormandy Posted:
Thanks for the question Steven, Germany has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2009, and Switzerland has had stable manufacturing employment between 2006 – 2011, even in the face of ongoing Euro-zone issues. Korea has seen increases in manufacturing employment since 2008 and Israel experienced large increases since 1998, while being stable over the last 4 years. Singapore has had increases in manufacturing employment over the last two years. These countries all value their manufacturing sectors and work to protect them, this is reflected in the above numbers and their performance through the GFC. Note data around the above examples was sourced from OECD labour market stats.
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John Walley Posted:
Point one: you should have no doubt what our Association says publically represent the views of our members. Point two: we don’t knee jerk responses, if you trace back our comments around NZPower you will see them link all the way back to our research in 2004 and 2005. All that material is fully linked from our comments above. Point three: you will note our comments on major users, sadly the same advantage does not accrue to smaller industrial users. The perverse incentives of the LRMC approach in all this are well known. Point four: the NZMEA is not like any other Association in New Zealand we admit only manufacturers and exporters into membership, and our public expressions are the views of that restricted membership.
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MEA Member Profile - Flexi-Crate Systems Limited

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Peter Riera, Managing Director of Flexi-Crate, describes the firm’s product range as “a solution looking for a problem.”

The journey started for Riera when he was watching the disaster response in Burma (Myanmar) after Cyclone Nargis. Cyclone victims were being put into camps with tents and tarpaulins after their homes had been destroyed. They ended up living in these tent cities for an extended period and in fact 15 months after the disaster only seven percent of the need for shelter after the disaster had been met.

“What these people needed were structures that could be made to family specifications, that could fit the land available and be moved to their own towns after the rubble had cleared so they could have shelter while they rebuilt,” says Mr. Riera.

The original idea was based on using scaffolding to create more suitable structures for disaster relief. After having little success selling the idea to Aid NGOs involved in such projects, Riera combined his idea with his ‘day job’ as a management consultant. During a visit to Melbar Engineering in Lower Hutt, who had a common situation where only half of the workshop was being used, he found that his product could be used to utilise their older manufacturing process machinery. Melbar Engineering now manufacture the Flexi-Crates.

This experience exposed a gap in the market as pallets and shipping containers come in standard sizes which are unhelpful for moving or storing unusually shaped items.

At the centre of the Flexi-Crate design is a New Zealand patented three dimensional joint (pictured above) which allows the crates to expand in any direction. The original enclosed one cubic metre crate can be extended to any horizontal or vertical dimension by bolting metal bars onto this joint.

Riera describes it as “a ‘man-rated’ MeccanoTM set.”

“The ability to adjust the crates allows them to fit the dimensions of any room where storage is required or any product that needs to be stored or transported.”

But this flexibility has come with its own problems as Riera explains. “The difficulty with this product is that we have so many uses it is hard to decide what the best use for a particular firm is,” he says, “it is almost too universal in nature.”

Despite this Flexi-Crates are getting the three dimensional joint patented in Australia as well and have had some interest from firms looking for more creative ways to store and transport their goods.

As Riera points out, “there are lots of possible uses”, but the search for problems continues.

tags: flexi-crate, peter riera, melbar engineering, crates, storage


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