ICN helps specialist glass company gain entry into the rail industry

Facilitated by the Industry Capability Network (ICN), Glasshape Limited recently won a contract to supply specially designed and built windows for KiwiRail's Tranz Scenic carriages.

KiwiRail's AK Project, worth $39.9 million, will provide a new, modern passenger carriage fleet for Tranz Scenic services in the South Island. During the procurement phase of the project, ICN worked with KiwiRail to identify capable local companies that could offer quality products and services that suited KiwiRail's needs.

Glasshape was put forward by ICN as a candidate to supply windows for the 17 AK carriages, being built at Hillside Workshops in Dunedin. The six figure contract was for close to 600 specially designed and built double glazed, laminated, toughened side and skyline roof windows for the carriages to maximise the passengers' experience of the dramatic scenery on the journey.

Glasshape Limited, established in 1986, is a 100% New Zealand owned and operated company and a leader in manufacturing specialist glass products. The company owns a state-of-the-art multi-million dollar facility and equipment that produces complex glass products used for safety, security, thermal, marine and acoustic control. Over the years Glasshape has gained clients from across industries including construction, security, transport and marine. The rail industry is another new direction.

Rail carriage windows must meet stringent safety standards and regulations and fulfil a range of tough requirements. ICN Procurement Advisor Richard Harrison was confident Glasshape had the product, technology and capability to meet KiwiRail's needs. He recommended Glasshape to KiwiRail and advised Glasshape of the opportunity.

ICN's role is to link capable New Zealand companies with the needs of major purchasers.  "We have world class skills and technologies and sometimes looking outside a business's normal sector can bring opportunities and rewards down new paths," said Richard Harrison.

Glasshape Director Rick Forrest was in Otago when he heard from Harrison and took the opportunity to visit KiwiRail's Hillside Workshops in Dunedin, meet the staff and learn more about what was required.  This was followed by months of hard but successful work to meet their rigorous requirements. Glasshape's involvement with the AK Project led to another contract with KiwiRail's Silver Fern fleet, currently being refurbished. 

"The Silver Fern contract was a result of the hard work demonstrated and the relationship built during the AK Project. It has a different and equally demanding requirement, which has allowed Glasshape to broaden its involvement in the rail industry" said Rick Forrest.

The KiwiRail owned Hillside and Hutt Workshops tap an extensive network of local companies for the supply of products, services or the offsite manufacture of finished items. New Zealand companies are also exporting products and services into the international railway industry, including communication equipment, castings, seating and air conditioning systems. "The New Zealand industry base has the capability, the skill and experience, the international connections with supply chains and railway operators, and the keenness to provide quality products and services to the New Zealand railway sector," says Richard Harrison.

For further Information, visit: www.glasshape.co.nz , www.kiwirail.co.nz and www.icn.govt.nz