ICN boosts business for PFS of Hamilton

Neither believed anyone in New Zealand was capable of meeting their specifications for the stations 205-tonne condenser - a vital piece of equipment for the plants energy-efficient second stage of power generation, in which waste heat is captured to generate electricity.

The Industry Capability Network (ICN) believed the work could be done in New Zealandif the right company could be found. ICN identified PFS - which operates out of the 33,000 square foot former Rolls Royce engineering plant in Hamilton - as one of the few New Zealand engineering shops large enough to accommodate the condenser project.

On ICNs prompting, PFS tendered. Competing against other companies from Asia, New Zealand and Australia, against initial expectations, PFS won.

"PFS offered the best engineering solution," says David Corney of ICN, whose role is to put New Zealand companies in touch with potential contracts on major projects such as Huntly.

"It was a very demanding job. Its an important piece of plant, for a very aggressive environment. There are non-standard materials, difficult welding specifications, a high degree of accuracy needed, and it has a 10-year epoxy paint warranty. It was a very complex and exacting process."

The project marked a significant point in the development of PFS, which had started out in a double garage in 1997, and had only two hired staff when owners Graham and Sharon Singleton bought the Rolls Royce plant.

Graham Singleton says the condenser was "our biggest single piece of work to date." The job occupied PFS for six months, leading up to installation in November 2005.

Now, the company operates with a staff of 40 or more (the number fluctuates depending on project demands) and has two otehr condenser projects on the go, both for Australian power stations. It is also dealing with enquiries from other countries.

Graeme Solloway, ICNs director, says the real value to PFS of the Huntly contract wasnt just in the project itself, but in the fact that PFS is now known overseas to be capable of work of that magnitude.