Bringing ideas to life

Pat Fogarty, Managing Director of Christchurch-based Shamrock Industries sums up the company as “Here to proactively partner clever companies towards market leadership and make their lives easier”.

Shamrock focuses on servicing the biomedical, aeronautical/aerospace, defence, electronics and high-tech manufacturing industries.

“Our capability ranges from 3D modelling and design, and precision part manufacture to finish assembly, pre-delivery testing and commissioning of the device,” says Pat. “Our forte is prototyping, complex 3D machining and custom manufacture together with production machining in small to medium-sized batches.”

When it comes to the biomed tech sector, Pat says they’re generally involved as manufacturing partner/project engineers.

“This frequently begins with DFM (Design for Manufacture) review/support, followed by parts manufacture and instrument mechanical assembly. Sometimes we project manage the complete build process to finished product and arrange delivery.”

Pat describes their most rewarding project as the partnership with Rex Bionics which developed the “A-Rex” adjustable robotic exoskeleton.

“Our involvement began with DFM support and continued through to parts manufacture for the prototype. The requirements of functionality, minimised mass but high strength/durability were a significant challenge to the project team, and collaboration saw the product successfully brought to life within a very tight deadline.”

The company also has longer-term partnerships, such as with Mars Bioimaging and their 3D colour X-Ray Imaging Scanner. CEO Prof Phil Butler says they first used Shamrock to manufacture their mark II scanner.

“We needed precision as we set out to image with pixels of 0.1 mm. We had to rotate an x-ray source weighing 11kg and an x-ray camera to a hair’s breadth of accuracy. Shamrock had that capability and Pat was very helpful in organising the design services that we needed.”

Pat says Shamrock’s ability to engineer original equipment (OEM) is often their most sought-after skill, particularly in the biomed tech sector.

“We want to grow the number of partnerships we have within the biomed sector by working alongside research institutions and start-ups to bring their innovations to life and commercial success.”

Other successful partnerships have been with the University of Otago’s Anatomy Department, Callaghan Innovation, and Able-X Healthcare a digital therapeutics company for neurological recovery.
Like others in the manufacturing sector, Shamrock is facing both the threat and opportunities of additive manufacturing (3D printing).

“This model threatens to disrupt the traditional manufacturing methods we’re equipped for and the time will come when Shamrock will need to change. That in itself provides challenges because when to change is critical, not being too early or too late.”

By Prue Scott