Magnet maker Buckley Systems doubles factory space


Bill Buckley. Photo / Richard Robinson

Auckland-based manufacturer Buckley Systems has nearly doubled the area of ​​its factory to meet demand for its precision electromagnets.

The company founded by former EY Entrepreneur of the Year Bill Buckley 30 years ago is a global leader in its field, manufacturing and supplying precision electromagnets that go into machines that make 80-90% of silicon chips in the world.

Its products are used in machines that manufacture electronics such as flat screen televisions and touch screens, medical technologies such as photon therapy and particle accelerators. All of its $ 85 million annual revenue comes from exports, primarily to the United States and Asia. Some 60 percent of revenues still come from the supply of electromagnets for the semiconductor industry.

The expansion to a building adjacent to Mount Wellington made it easier and faster to perform heavy fabrication and forming operations for large electromagnet fabrication coils, and the company to double its production.

“The demand for larger screen layout machines has seen some of the magnets exceed 25 tonnes and stretch the resources of the existing building,” said Mark Stolten, COO.

The company also recently set up a new ion source test facility at another of its Auckland buildings in conjunction with Canadian design firm D-Pace, in which it purchased a 50% stake there. two years ago for an undisclosed amount.

The facility will be used for testing purposes by both companies as well as third party manufacturers.

Buckley’s investment in D-Pace, with which he had worked for 20 years, allowed the Canadian company to commercialize a number of new products it had in research and development in the particle accelerator market.

It had many technologies licensed from Triumf, Canada’s national laboratory for particle science, nuclear physics and accelerators, which it did not have the funds to commercialize, said Buckley’s chief financial officer Julie. Perry.

Buckley is currently enjoying 100% year-over-year revenue growth, but the nature of the business was very cyclical, Perry said. Two years ago, right after D-Pace’s investment, it had to lay off 45 employees due to a sudden downturn, only to rehire more soon after when the cycle turned.

“People say ‘Why don’t you understand your market better?’ but we are very subject to external market forces, which means we have to be very flexible when we have to grow very quickly and when we have to contract, ”she said.

It now employs 300 people in Auckland and has an office in Boston, as well as the 10-person design team in Canada.

According to Companies Office records, Buckley and members of his family own 100 percent of the manufacturing business.

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