Innovation and passion drive success
Transforming ideas into high-quality stainless-steel products through innovation and a passion for the industries it support cuts to the essence of Crown Sheet Metal.
Originating in Invercargill, Crown Sheet Metal has been operating since 1974 and joined the NDA Group early 2008.
NDA is a world leader in the engineering fabrication of high precision industrial process vessels and heat exchangers.
Operating over three sites in Blenheim, Crown Sheet Metal specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of insulated and non-insulated stainless steel vessels for the wine, dairy and food processing industries.
General Manager for Crown Sheet Metal, Crichton Purdie says that in the last twelve months the company has built vessels ranging from 200litre to 550,000litre capacity.
“Our high bays can build vessels up to 19 metres high and weighing up to 60 tonnes. We also specialise in the design and build of access catwalks, product conveyors, sanitary drains, juice lines and fittings, and grape receival bins. We provide solutions throughout the process from initial arrival of the grapes through to the finished wine.”
While the wine industry currently accounts for 90% of Crown Sheet Metal’s work, the company also builds vessels for the dairy, transport and other food processing industries.
With a team ranging from 50 – 80 staff, peaking prior to the grape harvest in March, Crown’s experienced draughts people and design engineers work closely with the company’s fabricators, welders and polishers, ensuring a high-quality finish.
“The client either provides us working drawings for the winery that they would like built, or they might come to us and say they’re thinking about building a new winery and would like us to put together layouts including catwalks, piping and tanks designs.”
Since completing most of the urgent repairs and replacement of winery vessels damaged in the November 2016 earthquakes, Crown Sheet Metal has undertaken a significant amount of seismic upgrades to the wineries.
Crichton explains that different wineries have different approaches to the upgrade work which is driven by a range of things including the residual tank strength, how thick the concrete slab is that the tank is sitting on, tank access, connected services, the risk to the business if an event occurred, and most importantly the risk to human life.
“Every scenario is different and requires working through the process with the winery and engineers to determine whether the tanks should be removed or done in situ. It could be a simple as bolting a tank down for them. At the other end of the scale we might lift the tank out, cut the bottom section of the tank away and build a new base—in some cases this might reduce the volume of the tank. You have to work around the wineries operations as well.”
Reflecting on the company’s strengths, Crichton rates innovation and capacity at the top, siting work done for the wineries just after the November 2016 quakes as an example.
The earthquakes coincided with significant expansion within Marlborough’s wineries.
With the damage caused to the existing tank farms through-out Marlborough it wasn’t possible to replace all the damaged capacity with bespoke builds plus complete the repair work in time for the 2017 harvest.
“We looked for the most economical solution in terms of ease of transport, and material availability, and then built the tanks in multiple locations. We came up with a 140,000-litre tank and built about 40 of those. It was a really efficient way of restoring capacity back into the industry.”
Along with innovation is passion for the work and Crichton says that is something he and his team share with the wine makers and winery owners of New Zealand.
“Our passion is listening to their ideas, then delivering a quality solution to the customer that is functional and safe to use. It’s not just the fabrication—it’s the design, working within the time frame that you have, doing it economically and delivering the correct solution.”
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