SEC Engineering and Design managing director Grant Colbran (left) and sales manager Rodger Trounson accept ''Hardox in My Body'' certification from Real Steel managing director Luke Mathieson, of Wellington, (second from right) and Swedish Steel's Asia and Pacific technical manager Daniel Hejazi. Photo by Allison Beckham.
Five years ago, the type of manufacturing now being carried
out by Invercargill engineering firm SEC Engineering and
Design and a handful of other New Zealand engineering
companies was not even technically possible.
But the arrival of imported high-strength wear-resistant
alloy plate has brought with it massive opportunities for SEC
and others, especially in its work for the transport
Traditionally, high-strength steel was only manufactured in
But Hardox 450, made by Swedish Steel, comes in thinner and
larger plates, making it suitable for a wide range of
products including agricultural cutters, buckets for heavy
machinery and waste transfer bins as well as truck chassis,
bodies, tubs and decks.
Yesterday SEC become the first company in the South Island to
receive ''Hardox in My Body'' certification - a quality
guarantee for trucks with components manufactured using the
Managing director Grant Colbran said his company had been
working with Hardox for about three years. The certification
process, which involved assessment and approval of SEC's
design and manufacturing processes, took about a year.
''Certification has the backing of Swedish Steel, and their
staff are also available to give us design advice if we need
"Certification give our customers confidence that our
processes are the right ones and they will get the longevity
they expect,'' he said.
Hardox is imported into this country by Real Steel.
In October, 2012, Real Steel commissioned a giant steel press
at its Upper Hutt plant to prefabricate truck and trailer
Mr Colbran said SEC got its units from Upper Hutt and
finished them in Invercargill.
The larger sheets of plate and the giant press allowed truck
and trailer bodies traditionally made out of eight or more
separate pieces to be built with four sheets, Mr Colbran
That meant less welding, which he said was the weakest point
Hardox was calculated to be five times stronger than mild
steel, so the components stood up to intensive heavy use, he
The introduction of the new manufacturing method and uptake
from transport operators meant SEC was ''flat out'', he said.
''We've gone from zero orders [in Hardox] three years ago to
a lot. There has been significant growth for us.''
Mr Colbran said he was was convinced to begin using the
imported plate because he could see the benefits for
customers, particularly transport operators.
''Hardox is a considerably costlier to build with, but it is
lighter, stronger and more durable.
''A truck and trailer unit manufactured from it weighs one
tonne less than a conventional unit, so that is another tonne
of freight which can be carried.
''One customer estimated using Hardox bodies was saving
$37,000 per annum per truck and trailer unit, so it doesn't
take long for customers to reap the rewards.''