About Helix Flight, Our Journey

Who are we?

Our HFMML team consists of genius mathematicians, designers, engineers and metallurgy people that have one key purpose: providing continual innovation and revolutionising helix formation. Our machines allow companies to move away from manual operations to automated production..

Our entities include intergenerational businesses who have been running successfully for over 55 years. HFMML was deemed one of the top 4 finalists for the HERA Innovation award in 2015. Our business has been further validated by Callaghan Innovation, the New Zealand Government R&D Agency, in underwriting our R&D plans.

History

Helix Flight Manufacturing Machines Limited was established by our founder, Daniel Coats, due to needs being identified in the screw piling industry. With over 20 years exposure to helix making both in New Zealand and internationally, Coats was aware that high quality true form helices were of paramount importance in enabling integrity of weld procedure, improved installation, and higher load capacity per pile as a result. It was very clear through research that problems existed in producing quality helices in a safe, effective and efficient manner.

First Machine commissioned in Japan

Research & Development phase

In 2012, Coats pulled together a team of New Zealand experts in mathematics, programming, automation, linear motion, engineering, finite and fatigue analysis, hydraulics, and high cycle hydraulic cylinder manufacture. The team had some basic empirical knowledge of how to build durable machines and over 20 years’ experience

in making high quality helices. However, solutions were needed to the problems seen in the global industry. Most existing machines were run by artisan operators and were labour intensive, creating key operational and safety issues. Issues included fracturing blades, foot pedal operation, and lengthy training and setup between jobs. These needed to be eliminated to enable a safe operation. Ultimately these machines had high whole of life costs per helix, were unsafe, and created never ending management issues.

By the end of 2012 we had our first HF1 series Medium Diameter machine which resulted in a steep change in the helix formation industry. Our first machine was placed into a high demand product situation in Japan in early 2013.

Revolutionary phase

Other models followed to meet a variety of needs, while keeping the R&D team constantly busy seeking to improve technology and performance. It was important to generate safe lower whole of life costs per helix formed.

Targets aimed at leading the world in ensuring safety; reliability with advanced on line diagnostics; quality of true helix form; reducing training requirements; and reducing the risks of operational error. At the same time HFMML had been extending the service life of machines driven by new technological developments.

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Custom built approach

By the end of 2014, with experience in transforming global industries, our company’s interest continued to grow in terms of finding solutions to more intense problems. These included creating cold forming helices from a wear plate, and forming larger diameter and thickness helices. HFMML made a large investment in R&D of a wear plate capable machine, which we released into the market in mid 2015. This machine entered production in Europe and gained interest from a number of companies around the world.

The simplicity of Helix Flight technology took a further step in 2020. We released our suite of commissioning, safety, and training documentation, and videos for new machine owners. This allows those with no previous experience in sectional helix formation to get up and running within a few days.

Adoption of Helix Flight technology globally has been rapid with nearly 50 machines placed in over 20 countries and on six continents. Our largest machine operating with the global leader in Archimedes pumps and turbines can form helices up to 6 metres in diameter and 7.2 metres in pitch.

The Helix Flight Team

The HFMML team is made up of genius mathematicians, designers, engineers and metallurgy people that all work for one cause: allowing companies to move away from Craftsman black art of forming helices. With the great effort of our team, HFMML is now deemed as one of the top 4 finalists for HERA Innovation award 2015.

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