During the years, we as individuals become (hopefully) wiser with age, the same can be said of a business and after 35 years in the manufacturing game, Viking Ironcraft is coming of age at just the right time.
Initially founded by Gavin and Molly Smith, the business has remained a family affair with son Lester Smith taking over in 1990. After completing his design and engineering internship in the European air pollution concept industry, Lester returned to take the helm of Viking and even deployed a marine branch called VK Marine.
Viking’s core expertise remains in air pollution control systems, specialising in the provision of systems for dust extraction, spray booths, modular ducting and welding fume extraction.
Ross Metcalf of Viking explains the company ethos: “We provide solutions to problems. Customers can tell us their issues, we then design it, build it, install it and maintain it. From start to finish we work towards solving intricate issues involving the extraction and filtration of dust and fumes associated to industry.”
Many industries experience issues with dust and fumes, especially in processing plants. Viking provides tailor made solutions to assist with the reduction of air pollution within the work place to allow for a safer, more efficient environment.
Hands on experience
Viking operate in a way its clients appreciate; it has hands-on practical experience so when a salesperson visits to scope a project, that salesperson will have been well versed in providing practical advice due to a trade background. Honest, knowledgeable advice is often derived from experience, something a traditional salesman may not fully comprehend.
“I joined the company 20 years ago as a time served fitter and turner working in the heavy engineering sector through to maintenance engineering and then into sales within the industry,” Metcalf says.
“When it came to giving advice, I had the industry knowledge and years of experience to call upon. We don’t design and sell our products from brochures; we design and sell from experience.”
‘Hands-on’ is an ethos Viking look to promote throughout its 12 strong staff, most of whom have been with the company for more than 10 years. Hierarchy is almost obsolete within the company as Metcalf explains, “We’re a solid, old fashioned Kiwi company, we don’t need titles within our work place – we operate seamlessly as a well oiled machine”.
Kiwi and proud, Viking use only New Zealand made materials with the exclusion of a few imported components from Denmark and Italy. The New Zealand manufacturing industry has long-since been reeling from the influx of average to poor quality imports from abroad, hence Viking attempt to choose Kiwi made above the cheaper alternative.
Viking is a true example of Kiwi manufacturing at its best. Combining New Zealand made materials with a skilled staff and occasionally using the best of imported equipment to deliver a well-balanced result for our clients.
“We believe by being just an importer, a company risks the lack of backup and design depth, but by refining the design and performance of a system with New Zealand manufacturing and local industry knowledge, we have managed to achieve a sustained level of success for Viking.”
Viking’s very own ducting range consists of an extensive array of modular ducting components ideal for off-the-shelf ducting solutions. Ranging from 100mm to 500mm, traditionally, but Viking stress that any size ducting can be made to suit a client’s needs.
Viking’s extensive range of filtering options work with its different cleaning systems to extract hazardous dust from a work area. If your company foresees an expansion in the future, the ‘reverse flow’ filters are ideal as they can be added to in a modular fashion. However, the cartridge filters offer a superior filtration performance coupled with a reduced area to volume footprint. Viking work with Camil Farr and represent the company’s products including the impressive ‘gold series technology’ integrated in their range of cartridge filters.
Viking is the largest manufacturer of spray painting booths in New Zealand. All sizes, temperatures and shapes can be made to order from the market leaders or the Viking kit sets can be purchased off the shelf. The kit sets range from 1m wide to 4m wide and can be freighted nationwide and easily installed (compliance certificate supplied). Viking also supply a range of ‘multi-cure booths’ with spray and bake temperatures ideal for every industry.
In Vikings 1200sqm fabrication facility, among the manufacturing of dust extraction and spray booths, lies an operation born out of Lester Smith’s (managing director) passion for the marine industry – VK Marine.
VK Marine work with yacht designers to produce aluminium boats alongside the rest of the company’s operations. VK Marine is the product of passion and accompanied with the industry/aluminium knowledge of the Viking staff, the future looks buoyant for the diverse metal workers.
The marine fabrication and modifications/repairs are carried out on a wide range of vessels from small trailer boats to super yachts.
German engineering meets Kiwi ingenuity
Two reputations that are genuinely recognised and appreciated are the Germans’ flair for engineering and the Kiwis’ number 8 wire ingenuity. Combine the two together for a recipe made in manufacturing heaven.
German made Keller (a world leader in dust extraction) machinery is manufactured by Viking with a delightful twist of Kiwi ingenuity, ensuring the best product is available for the New Zealand market.
We’re a company proud of our New Zealand roots, we use as much Kiwi product as possible to support our economy and we encourage our staff to apply the good old Kiwi tradition of innovating in the work place.
Viking’s diversity is undoubtedly the key component in the company’s longevity. After 35 years the team is still innovative, practical and growing ever more knowledgeable as the decades tick by.
If your business needs the dust eradicated, the experts go by the name Viking.