HERA House, home of the New Zealand Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA), celebrated the re-opening of its refurbished premises, officiated by the Minister for Research and Innovation Hon Steven Joyce.
The building’s refurbishment coincided with 30 years of service, and the Minister congratulated the Association on the impressive $2m face-lift of the metals engineering industry-owned facility.
Acknowledging HERA’s role as an important non-profit private sector industry body that acts as the resource centre for New Zealand’s metals-based engineering industry, Mr Joyce said that while there are very good CRI and university research entities, it is organisations such as HERA and sister associations like SCNZ, NASH and Metals NZ that play an important role in growing the industries and sectors they represent.
Mr Joyce noted the current economic growth date which showed a NZ-wide annual GDP increase of 3.5% and benefitting all regions. Mr Joyce said. “Strong sustainable economic growth is the only way to create more jobs in construction and manufacturing, and increase incomes.”
“Every company I see that is doing well overseas has a unique proposition, and the crux of that is innovation, something HERA is all about.”“The Government is continuing to focus on economic policies that encourage business investment in research and development, and IP development amongst the engineering industry,” said Mr Joyce.
The Minister also responded to specific industry issues, e.g. relating to R&D support for collective industry levy-funded programmes or the implementation of the new Government Rules of Sourcing and in the ensuing discussion, he invited HERA to follow-up with him.
“In this process, HEERF supports R&D work via its scholarship programme for PhD and graduate engineers, and also brings in many international experts as a means of technology and knowledge transfer for our industry.”The Heavy Engineering Educational Research Foundation or HEERF is the owner of HERA House and its Chairman Noel Davies says, “HEERF plays an important function in maintaining this industry asset. HERA as its main tenant pays commercial rent and HEERF in fulfilling its trust deed gives its surplus back to industry for charitable purposes.”
The Heavy Engineering Educational Research Foundation or HEERF is the owner of HERA House and its Chairman Noel Davies says, “HEERF plays an important function in maintaining this industry asset. HERA as its main tenant pays commercial rent and HEERF in fulfilling its trust deed gives its surplus back to industry for charitable purposes.”
A key objective of HEERF is to recognize individual and company excellence, and promote the careers and development of the engineering profession associated to our industry.
This has been achieved in the funding of awards such as the annual sponsorship of final year student engineering project awards, the industry awards Innovator of the Year and Exporter of the Year, and our most prestigious award the Keith Smith Memorial Award for Distinguished Services to Industry.
“Therefore HERA’s mission is clearly to assist industry innovation in the provision of research, education, marketing and advocacy functions.”
HERA Executive Chairman John Frear introduced HERA’s mission “to have an internationally competitive New Zealand Metals Engineering Industry. We want HERA to be the catalyst to achieve this through ongoing innovation.”
He noted that “it is relatively easy to prioritise research spending from the industry levy which base-funds HERA in the area of steel construction through its Structural Systems division.”
“The fact that steel-framed buildings designed to HERA-influenced guidelines provide safer buildings and did well in the Canterbury earthquakes is very pleasing to note, as is the fact that a more competitive steel construction sector as a result of HERA activities drives market share.”
“However, in the general heavy engineering sector which is supported by the Industry Development division, the research needs are much more diverse.
The decision around what research to support is generally much easier when HERA is winning in the government-funded contestable High Value Manufacturing Pool, as is currently the case with the Above Ground Geothermal & Allied Technologies (or AGGAT) programme,” said John. “In this case, the Government contributes about $4 million, alongside the industry-funded contribution, spread over a four-year programme.”
John also introduced HERA’s New Zealand Welding Centre, ”The Welding Centre focuses on the key technology of metals based fabrication – i.e. welding. This division has its own income stream in the form of a levy on welding consumables, and integrates other weldable metals such stainless steel and aluminium.”
“This is important as many of our industry members use more than one material in their daily operations, and technology support over the entire welding fabrication field is crucial,” John said.
John also commented on the Steel Fabricator Certification (SFC) scheme introduced by the Welding Centre in co-operation with SCNZ. “I have followed with interest over the last couple of years the implementation of the SFC scheme. It is a major achievement that we now have industry leaders driving a scheme which puts New Zealand fabricators on par with any international workshop certified to ISO 3834.”
“It gives us the confidence that if we are supported by the Government with a level playing field, our industry will be competitive against imports and we will successfully export, as my company does with our tow bars in the international automotive market.”
Other related associations
Related organisations and HERA House tenants SCNZ, NASH and Metals NZ were also introduced. The latter organisation plays the role of a united industry voice and organises the next key industry event “Metals Week 2015” which takes place at the beginning of September.
Looking back on a well-attended re-opening function HERA Director Dr Wolfgang Scholz said, “It is great to see such great industry member, stakeholder and ministerial interest in what HERA and its associated organisation are doing in HERA House.”
“Celebrating the last 30 years of HERA House, and looking ahead to the next few decades in a brilliantly refurbished environment, will keep the spirits of those working and meeting with us in top gear. And this is exactly what the industry needs to be successful and sustainable.”