A Dunedin engineering company is spreading success across paddocks around the world.
Helispread spreaders designed and manufactured by Dunedin engineering company Red One Fabrication have been exported to South Africa, the United States Midwest and Australia.
Red One Fabrication owner David O’Neill said the popularity of the heli spreaders marked a departure from the use of aeroplane spreaders.
The heli spreaders were among a variety of products being engineered in Dunedin and exported across the globe.
“Everything in it, except the motor, pretty much comes from Dunedin, from the main machine to the casting and powder coating.
“There is a team of Dunedin companies doing unique things on an international level.”
The spreaders were designed with efficiency in mind, and they spread in a large spiral pattern which resulted in less time in the air, Mr O’Neill said.
Unlike other spreaders, which were designed to spread only one product, the machines could spread fertiliser, seeding and slurry.
The aerodynamics of the machine meant if it was empty the helicopter could fly as fast as it would if the machine was not attached.
Demand for the machines was so strong the company, which had been operating for five years, would “definitely” have to add to its team of four full-time and one part-time staff, Mr O’Neill said.
“It is quite a complex thing to create but there is satisfaction in looking at the job.
“One guy has started from raw material to a highly technical product rather than just working on one stage in the creation of a machine.”
A 500-litre spreader weighed about 100kg, cost about $25,000 and operated on a 15hp motor.
Eight hundred and 1200-litre spreaders were also made by the company, as well as fire buckets.
Otago Daily Times