By Mike Bishara
GGE has weathered the global financial recession better than many of its rivals because of a 20 year old tradition of quality and customer focus begun by Bob DeLacey and carried forward by his sons Cameron and Scott and their sister Sharne who run the business today.
“Many of our competitors burned some bridges in the good times and paid for that when times got tough. We have always been a family owned business and as such it is part of our philosophy to look after our customers first in all situations, and this has stood us in good stead,” says commercial manager Cameron DeLacey.
In fact, the company’s last financial year was the best in half a decade, he says.
It wasn’t easy though.
“The construction scene seems to have improved slightly over the past year or so with a few decent sized projects around – where in the past we’ve had to do 20 smaller projects, we’re now getting the opportunity to select larger projects which means resources aren’t stretched and we can improve our service to our clients,” says Mr DeLacey.
In addition GGE offers a full range of civil and heavy engineering expertise from fabricated structural steel design, grit blasting, protective coatings and on site erection services.
GGE converted a whole building to house its new purchases, a Ficep 1203 DDB automatic CNC drilling system combined with a Katana 126L band sawing unit, a ProArc plasma cutter for steel plate and a Geka to handle both flat bar and angle iron.
“The Endeavour 1203DDB and the Katana 126L combine to produce one of the fastest beam drilling and sawing lines available in the country. In a test last year in Europe a Ficep Endeavour drilled 624 holes within 17 minutes,” says managing director of Lucas Machinery, Simon Lucas, who represents Ficep in New Zealand.
“Because of its direct drill spindle and auxiliary X stroke, all three spindles can drill, mill or mark independently,” he says.
The system begins by sending a beam towards the machine along a roller conveyor where a clamping system takes it either by the centre or the wing and manoeuvres it through the machining field.
Once the position is set, a hydraulic system blocks the workpiece and spindles start drilling or milling operations. The machine is also capable of scribing amidst two or three spindles.
It has been pre-programmed from specifications provided by GGE’s own five-person drafting team which has interpreted architects or engineering drawings for the job.
Ficep has developed Pegaso to command the machine with a bigger memory and more communication protocols such as Canbus, Profinet and Ethercat.
It is possible to add a further longitudinal movement beam, so that spindles can operate independently with a range of 250 mm on a static beam. Locking a heavy beam in position and executing a new machining set without moving it picks up time and enhances precision.
There are often millimetres of difference between the theoretical and the real value on machined beams so Endeavour spindles measure the contact between tool and pieces through the power absorption on axes.
Machining axis speeds range from 20-30 m/min and spindles develop a power of 27 kW and a torque of 172 Nm in S6 (40 percent). A precision rack and pinion system allows the axes to generate a nominal thrust of 9000 N.
With two distinct gear motors – a heavier weight one for machining axes and another for travelling cuts back on maintenance costs.
Other options include a kit allowing scribing on the interior side of the core which could, for example, mark up indicators for upcoming welds.
From there it is a simple matter of fabrication, erection or construction in accordance with client requirements.
Five years ago, GGE completed its purpose built facilities on a one hectare site in Papakura.
Since then, its efforts to stay ahead in technology, based on strict QA control and a skilled workforce, have kept it to the forefront of large and small scale structural steel projects for quality metal work on fabricated designs.
The latest Ficep beamline, ProArc and Geka are good examples of that development philosophy.
“They are fully automated and could operate overnight without direct supervision if necessary. But we prefer to have people around, ” says Mr DeLacey.
The ProArc Master 35 is a low profile, big reputation gantry structure CNC plasma cutter. It comes equipped with an advanced Hypertherm EdgePro PC-based controller, a powerful AC servo drive, precision linear guideways and self-aligning plasma torch collision device.
“It’s a high performance machine designed to produce top quality production cutting,” says Dennis Coutts, chief executive of PPT who supplied the machine to GGE.
And it is in the purpose designed new building that the new Ficep beamline, the ProArc plasma cutter and the Geka will show off GGE’s best attributes of its Eco Warranty and ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) standards certifications.
In an understatement typical of a company which doesn’t go out of its way to boast of its impressive performance and reputation, Mr DeLacey says, “it’s simply a matter of managing energy and power and keeping pollution under control – the floor’s clean now and I hope it stays like that. We save money and we don’t want to get a reputation as industrial mongrels,” he says.
In reality, the ISO 14001 which GGE has earned requires a company to put on record its intentions and commitment to
environmental performance, and to plan and analyse the environmental impact of its operations before it achieves the certification.
It requires regular training programmes, hazard assessments, verifications and
monitoring – topped off by key management EMS reviews to ensure the effectiveness, adequacy and suitability of the company’s environmental programmes.
The ISO 9001 qualification recognises companies who demonstrate the ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. The company must work towards “enhancing customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”
“We are operating out of our purpose built factory complex and are increasingly equipped with the latest technology and machinery. We take a lot of pride in our in-house expertise across all key manufacturing processes,” he says.
Current or recent projects include the architectural roof pop-ups at Britomart, steel work fabrication and erection at Sacred Heart College, Hobsonville Primary School and the Torpedo 7 retail outlet as well as the pictured netball courts facility in Takanini.
The company has an enviable client list (and a reputation to boot) which includes leaders in the New Zealand construction industry such as Hawkins, Fletchers, Naylor Love, Watts & Hughes, Ebert Construction and the once powerful Mainzeal.
John Overton from Hawkins Construction commented on GGE’s performance on the Mission Heights School.
“The project has not been easy with an extremely tight programme putting enormous pressure on design and construction teams … on nine buildings including site works.
“On behalf of the Hawkins team I would like to thank you and your team for the huge effort and commitment your company has put into the project in making the contract such a success.”
Fletcher Construction’s Dean Hudson said the steel work provided by GGE for its project “was excellent, workmanship on cutting and welding first class”.Cameron or Scott DeLacey [email protected] [email protected] 09 295 0550 62 Hunua Road, Papakura www.gge.co.nz