Samara Davis was a natural at SouthMach 17 selling the many advantages of Bottle Boost, part of a school-based business project.

Samara Davis was a natural at SouthMach 17 selling the many advantages of Bottle Boost, part of a school-based business project.

These types of shows are the place to see what’s new (along with b-2-b magazines such as Engineering News, I might add), but as you strode the aisles many weren’t expecting to see such a simple product that absolutely is a solution for a problem; even more so coming from a team of Palmerston North schoolkids.

Their Bottle Booster and Bottle Belt just have you nodding in agreement with a good idea, two fantastic products, and you can read all about them on page 6 of this issue. Engineering News’ stand was in plain sight of where Holdsafe was exhibiting – in school uniforms and all – and we can attest to the fact that at times there were no doubts which stand was the busiest of all at the show.

What these kids have done is a testament to the Kiwi No. 8 wire mentality of finding solutions to a problem to make life easier, getting stuck in and learning as you go. They’re a real feather in the cap of The Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES).

Speaking of feathers, as you will see inside the news section there are a few that have been ruffled of late within the industry.

Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand (MESNZ) chairman Barry Robinson is and has been warning of the potential of tragedy regarding steel mesh, as one such example of sub-standard product infiltrating our shores.

“The problem is endemic across the supply chain from steels and construction materials to stressed engineering elements. We are not talking single tragedies here, but the potential for a significant event taking out multiple lives,” says Mr Robinson.

MESNZ represents manufacturers and industries right across New Zealand industry and regularly report potential issues discovered with counterfeit materials, false certification and incorrect certification.

He says there are vast quantities of very sub-standard products and materials that have infiltrated Kiwi society throughout – at “every imaginable level”.

“Most people don’t think of it, but these things form the very core of our society’s ability to function. While the recent cases against Steel & Tube and Timber King highlight internal supply issues for New Zealand, soft trade barriers make us an attractive target for dumping substandard materials.”

His blood is boiling, and rightly so, as the government “appears frozen in the headlights when it comes to providing a solution that does not compromise our free market ethos.”

He believes there are practical solutions such as the QualityMark model (and many others) and all the government need do is to take advice from industry – advice he says he’s been giving them for years.

In fact, “seven years ago,” the society warned of the potential dangers of counterfeit materials.

Watch this space.

Greg Robertson