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Research and development is the life blood that runs through HERA’s veins.  As we work hard to drive innovation in the metals industry to create clear pathways of opportunity for our members.

We’re able to deliver value through income generated from several sources.  But of most significance is the industry contribution we receive through the Heavy Engineering Research Levy Act.  Which governs us to put research and development at the core of what we do.

Our small team of researchers and key personnel work in collaboration with universities and associations to deliver value to our members.  Where we take research programs on board in structural steel, light gauge steel, composite action, welding, industry capability and business acumen.

For us, innovating through research and development is key.  Especially if we want to advance products and services, find smarter and more efficient ways to do things and create a point of difference that sets our industry apart.  That’s why we encourage our members to be a part of the journey every step of the way.

Engage more with our team

Join or invest in an existing R&D program

We’re always looking for potential partners to be a part of our R&D research.  Because we know the key to success is bringing together expertise in a collaborative space to drive innovation.

We’re interested to talk to anyone that might have facilities, capability or resources to build their own prototype versions of fabricated products.  Or those who may simply want to commit time or funding to a project.

Our goal is to ensure the metals industry has a wide base of product offerings that bolsters our national footprint for global market entry. And, that those unique product offerings have been developed with guidelines, standards and research they can rely on which is aligned to international best practise.

Your involvement in our programs bring you the added benefits of an increased product portfolio, access to specialist expertise and sales and market entry strategies for commercial success.

So what are you waiting for?

Contact Dr Troy Coyle

Tell us about a potential R&D topic you think is worth exploring

No one knows more where there are potential R&D opportunities in the heavy engineering metals industry, than our members. You have your ear to the ground everyday – so what have you picked up on?

A hole in the market that needs filling?  Several requests for a product that doesn’t exist, but could with a little bit of trial and error? A regulation or process that could be improved to facilitate winning more work? A global trend that has some local development potential?

To us, there’s no such thing as a bad idea – just a missed opportunity.  Our role is to help understand the idea better and identify if it has market potential or value in helping the metals industry move forward.  And if it does, we’ll take steps to connect resources and partners to the project – developing a clear market entry strategy that realises a return on any investment at the end of the R&D process.

Contact Dr Troy Coyle

Industry development

AGGAT program


Organic Rankine Cycle

Converting low enthalphy geothermal and waste heat resources into clean energy with Organic Rankine Cycle technology.  Specifically delving into:

  • The development of an Expert Design tool to assess heat resources
  • Heat exchanger innovation
  • Delivering New Zealand’s first purpose built, high efficiency radial inflow turbine
  • Materials test rig, and
  • Control systems

Marine engineering


Off shore fin fish farm

Advancing New Zealand’s marine capability through the development of a robust offshore fin fish farm for our aquaculture industry.

Structural Systems

Shear connectors


Evaluation in existing composite bridges

Evaluating maximum load capacity of composite bridges through bridge surveys focused on identifying the most widely used shear connector types and their geometries.  This work will allow structural reliability analyses on design provisions to open up existing highway networks to heavier and higher productivity motor vehicles within required safety margins.

Improving steel and composite construction standards


First joint harmonised standard between Australia and New Zealand: AS/NZS 5100.6

This work looks to align our standards with international best practice and work opportunities, while significantly improving composite and fatigue design as we seek to drive ingenuity in steel construction.

Seismic research


Advanced FEA modelling

Implementing finite element analysis principles to better optimise weld details for seismic connections to help our members confidently select the best performing and most cost effective weld solutions in critical seismic connections.

Welding Centre

Seismic research


Welding trials using NDT and mechanical testing

Research focused on better understanding how we can deliver value through time and cost savings to our members by optimising fabrication and inspection requirements for hot rolled products.

Non-destructive testing


Meeting New Zealand structural steel design and fabrication standards

Developing a comprehensive data base to develop statistical models linking inspection with reliability levels for members.  This involves assessment of DR AS/NZS 5131 Structural Steelwork / Fabrication and Erection standard.  Which introduces the concept of ‘construction category’ to link the importance level of a structure and provide minimum levels of workmanship to ensure design assumptions remain valid.  But is yet to be linked to reliability classes.

Developing a fabrication and erection of steel standard


Development of Standards AS/NZS 5131 and AS/NZS 5100.6

This work will be critical to our SFC Scheme – allowing us to keep our members up to date with technological advances and quality requirements in the market.  The delivery of these standards will provide a competitive edge against increasing imports, the globalisation of construction product sourcing and changes in procurement practices that raise the risk of non-compliance.


General Manager Welding Centre


Manager Structural Systems