Tuesday, 18 December 2012 14:10

Fieldays helps Kiwi win Oz award

Written by 

A NEW Zealand company's 'revolutionary' brushcutter blade that won a 2011 product-of-the-year award from the Australian Outdoor Power Equipment Association got its start chiefly through National Field Days and with crucial help from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

 

Airecut Company Ltd won the award for its Airecut blade, a self-sharpening and self-clearing brushcutter tri-blade. Notable for its aerofoil twist and reverse bevel, the blade has been in development since 2005 and marketed since June 2009.

Though set up only three years ago, the company has this year sold at least 100,000 units in 40 countries through major distributors, says director Barry Funnell, who developed the blade. The 2011 award for ancillary product of the year from the Australian Outdoor Power Equipment Association is important not least because the association represents the majority of Australia's medium and large outdoor power-product manufacturers.

The Airecut Tri-cut blades won the prize in competition with a Kohler Comander Pro engine, a Stihl fuel stabiliser and a Silvan diesel transfer tank, amongst other entrants.
Funnell says none of this would have been possible without his product's publicity at National Fieldays, gained when he launched it there in the innovations contest. "We would not have launched internationally if hadn't been for Fieldays," he told Rural News.

"New Zealanders don't appreciate the value of Fieldays. It's at an international [event] that attracts international visitors. It's great if you've got things to launch."
Funnell met Mowac Coporation Ltd manager John Lahman owner at the Fieldays, and noted Lahman's surprise at the number of people ordering the blade. "He couldn't believe how many people were buying the blade. We had four people going flat out taking money and dealing with eftpos. He was so staggered... that he asked if he could be the national distributor." Airecut is now distributed by Mowac, JakMax and PMD International Co.
Also, Funnell says his company would not have achieved what it has without the help of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which he and associates approached four years ago to apply for an R&D grant. They have received four grants, including one for patent research. Business connections and other resources were also helpful.
The biggest boost was to the company's credibility, Funnell says. "Mower manufacturers in New Zealand weren't interested in what we had to offer; launching anything new they tend to be conservative but with the ministry [helping] bankroll us it gives credibility."

The blade is said to be a big hit in lifestyle property and rural markets, which account for 80-90% of sales.
"So far the biggest market has been North America, and the second-biggest Europe," Funnell says. "A recently launched two-tip blade sells well in South America, the Pacific Islands and Asia. We expect sales to double next year."

 

More like this

Saputo takes over Oz processor

Canadian dairy company Saputo is set to take full control of Australian dairy processor Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

Fonterra lifts Aussie milk price

Fonterra says improving global dairy prices and a revamp of its operations have enabled a rise in the farmgate milk price to Australian suppliers.

 
 

The Hound

Own goal

The Hound would like to know how much Fonterra and its shareholders’ council is paying rugby commentator – and a…

Alternative facts?

The Hound sees that the temporary leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little, is not averse to employing Trump-like tactics,…

 

» Connect with Rural News

 
 

Markets

South Island wool sale eases

South Island wool sale eases

The 4700 bales on offer saw a 74% clearance with mixed results, however all prices paid locally are still above…

Wool continues to ease

Wool continues to ease

The 7250 bales of North Island wool on offer saw a 72% clearance with most types easing further.