The Kiwi way

From the September 2015 issue.

New Zealand family business Tidd Ross Todd has established itself as a heavy equipment powerhouse in the Asia Pacific region that doesn’t let economic scaremongering lead it astray.

If you ask Bruce Carden, Manufacturing Director of  Tidd Ross Todd (TRT), a trailer manufacturing company based in Hamilton on the North Island of New Zealand, there is something special about the Kiwi way of doing business, a competitive advantage deeply rooted in the nation’s economic and geographic seclusion.

“New Zealand has traditionally been off the beaten path, so people have learned to take charge of their own destiny,” he says, emphasising that the country’s ancient can-do attitude is still affecting every aspect of life in the Land of the Long White Cloud. “In business and in private life, we look at a problem from every angle and try to find a way to solve it with the resources we have on hand. We don’t let the problem freak us out.”

That ‘island mentality’ is exactly what has made TRT such a highly effective manufacturing business, Carden argues. Established in 1967, the company is specialised in the design of bespoke heavy-duty equipment, from classic rows-of-eight to so-called house removal trailers, which are fitted with hydraulic lift axles that can carry entire buildings in one piece.

From the first design drawing through to the final layer of paint, every step of the production process in carried out in-house, Carden says: “One of our core strengths is having our entire manufacturing at our Hamilton facility. After processing the steel plate at one end through twin high-definition plasma cutters and press brakes supported by CNC lathes and milling machines, our raw steelwork is put into kit sets before moving off for welding and line boring.

Carden is quick to point out that pre-assembly takes place with Quality Assurance hold points before the weldments enter the blast and paint section, with TRT ensuring they are blasted to a 50 micron profile and painted with 150-200 micron – using a 2k paint system via electrostatic gun within filtered bake ovens. Carden says the complex process was chosen to provide a “world-class surface finish” and ensure paint is applied to those hard to get to areas pre-assembly – indicating just how much control the company has about every detail of the build.

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