Electronics cluster members optimistic for 2012

Fifty jobs created in 2011, more growth forecast for coming year

Members of the Electronics-Auckland cluster created 50 new high skill jobs in 2011 and are forecasting more growth in the coming year.

Chair Dorian Scott, who is business development manager at the Massey University business innovation centre, says there are around 20 members in the cluster, with the larger companies employing up to 30 staff. It is a specialist industry group under the Auckland ICT industry group.

“The companies are diverse in size and focus, but all have the common goals of growing their businesses and raising the expertises within, as well as the promotion of, the New Zealand electronics industry,” he says. “What this growth means is that contracts are being won against sizeable and significant international competition.”

Scott says the companies have been able to fill the new roles in New Zealand with a mix of university graduates and experienced engineers and technicians who came onto the employment market following high-profile company buy-outs.

“Companies like Navman and High Modulus and others that have sold and have restructured have put people with these sorts of skills onto the market,” Scott says.

Brian Knolles, CEO of cluster member Senztek says monthly meetings are held for CEOs, owners and senior engineers to discuss issues and address problems. “Depth is added to the cluster through the participation of several technical consultants who contribute design, product development and embedded software engineering skills,” he says.

“Experts are brought in to share knowledge and familiarisation visits are made to member companies.”

Companies in the cluster include:

Cleanflow Systems – specialises in large pipe inspection and has recently merged with US competitor Redzone Robotics. The merger attracted US $25 million investment from equity investor ABS Capital investors.

PowerShield – makes battery monitoring products for major datacentres. In North America the Powershield system is being installed in one large datacentre with over 4,000 batteries and six other medium to large datacentres. In Europe installations are underway for an international bank with over 4,000 batteries.

Define Instruments – specialises in easy to use transmitters and wirless devices and exports to Australia and South Africa. The company grew by 45 percent in 2011 and employed six new people.

Compac Sorting Equipment – won a $US15 million contract to design and develop a hi tech sorting and packing line for the world’s largest citrus company. Compac will be building a sorting machine the length of a rugby field that will sort approximately 2.7 million mandarins an hour and will run 20 hours a day during the citrus packing season.

Autogrow Systems — won the ANZ exporter award in the Business.govt.nz Flying Start competition and is using the prize to fund a trip to China for the official opening of a large new farm using Autogrow’s horticultural automation equipment.

Senztek — manufactures energy management and control technologies and has tripled the number of customers to whom it sells over the past 12 months and has entered into two potentially large OEM deals including a global opportunity.

QuickCircuit — offers component sourcing and procurement, design for manufacture, electronic board manufacturing and product final assembly and testing. QuickCircuit will be adding 20 staff before April 2012.

Fero — is an integrated electronic and wire technology company that provides services for electronic manufacturers. New product and manufacturing developments include projects to develop a microbrewery and a research submarine.

ICE AV Technology — designed and manufactured the DJ multi touch mixing and control surface for the international live performance DJ market.

Actronic Technologies — creates electronic measurement and control products and software. The company’s hydraulic weighing systems, conveyor belt scales, and specialised log-harvesting products are in use throughout the Americas, Europe, Australasia and China.

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