Innovation, new products mould firm

Innovation, new products mould firm
INDAC founder and owner Michael Hitchins and one of the company buoys (below) which serve as navigational aids, hazard warnings, information collectors and also assist with environment and water management.

The Blenheim manufacturer of a vast range of industrial grade plastic products, INDAC NZ, has thrived on an ethos of innovation in a highly competitive local and global market. So much so, it is exporting its rotational and injection moulded products throughout the world, including to China.
INDAC’s name is an acronym created from the words innovation, design and construction which appropriately describes what it does, but barely hints at the incredible scope of the business.
Owned and established by Michael Hitchins in 1980, the company currently employs 22 staff, a team which has considerable specialised experience in plastics, design, prototyping, engineering, tool making and manufacturing.
The company’s’ clients cover a wide range of sectors including agriculture, aquaculture, marine, viticulture, government, scientific research, waste management, construction and plumbing.
General manager Graeme Rickard says, in addition to surviving increased global competition, INDAC has not only stayed afloat, but continued to grow despite also facing global sharemarket and economic shocks since 1980.
“What we have found is the way to survive that is being innovative and getting alongside your clients and developing new products.”
“We’ve become very adaptable and because of that economic stress we’ve become very efficient.” Examples of rotational moulded products it manufactures includes buoys, conical tanks, Mastercraft toolboxes and numerous bins, trays, kegs and drums.
Site and safety boxes and emergency kit boxes, designed for work and construction sites, have been a big seller because of health and safety regulations, as have signage products for which there is also a large market.
INDAC NZ recently installed two new injection moulding machines at a cost of $180,000; these replaced four older machines. The new machines are a step-up in technology
and will use a third of the power of the previous units.
Injection moulded products follow a design and manufacturing process in which plastics of varying natures are heated and injected into a mould under incredibly high pressures, with the potential to produce volumes of units into the millions if required.
Products can be manufactured to virtually any design, but there are many considerations to take into account such as application, the environment, contact with food, chemicals or corrosives and static or dynamic loads.
“We probably use 26 different injection moulding materials here. All the materials run at different temperatures and all cool at different rates so they all shrink differently.” “The key to it is to produce a product as fast as possible.”
While the speed of manufacture is vital, the quality of plastics and the inclusion of ultra-violet light inhibitors to reduce degradation is also crucial, particularly in New Zealand’s harsh sunlight.
With environmental responsibility being a hot topic especially with plastics, INDAC is committed to work with the 3 R’s of recycling: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
All waste material is fully recycled then used for other products. It also produces products using post-consumer and post-industrial plastics scrap purchased from suppliers for manufacturing items these are suited to. “INDAC is at the forefront of all product and manufacturing design; this our commitment to sustainability.”
“During the design phase we are constantly looking for opportunities to reduce the material going into a product by good design practices and material selection.”
The quality focus also ensures the correct materials, product design and manufacture are used to ensure long-life products are produced.
The INDAC bucket is a good example of this where customers are still using buckets that were produced over 25 years ago.
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