The Waikato is home to a thriving advanced manufacturing industry which is a significant contributor to the country's economy. The region's manufacturing sector has a strong focus on high-tech and innovative products, ranging from specialised machinery and equipment to cutting-edge electronics and software.
Advanced Manufacturing in the Waikato
The advanced manufacturing industry in the Waikato region supports a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, automotive, electronics, healthcare, and agriculture and plays a key role in adding value to these industries. For instance, the region’s advanced manufacturing companies add value to the agriculture sector by producing specialised machinery and equipment such as milking machines and irrigation systems.
The advanced manufacturing sector is the second largest contributor to the Waikato’s GDP, employing around 25,000 people. The industry creates employment opportunities for skilled workers across roles such as engineering, design and management.
Large manufacturers such as Sleepyhead and Saito have been attracted to move operations from Auckland to Waikato, and more are expected to follow.
The advanced manufacturing industry has benefited from the region's location, skilled workforce, and supportive business environment. The Waikato region is also home to world-class research institutions and facilities that provide advanced manufacturing companies with access to the latest technologies and expertise.
The region has also become popular among many large manufacturers looking to lower costs, with more affordable property prices, ample industrial-zoned land and a better lifestyle for employees.
The Waikato region also has a strong research and development infrastructure, with leading facilities that provide advanced manufacturing companies with access to the latest technologies and expertise. This helps companies to stay at the forefront of innovation and develop cutting-edge products that meet the needs of their customers.
Te Waka and the Manufacturing Sector
Te Waka recognises the significant potential of advanced manufacturing to contribute to economic growth in the Waikato and supports the adoption of technology to improve productivity and innovation in all sectors.
By leveraging the latest technologies and manufacturing techniques, advanced manufacturing companies can produce high-quality products more efficiently and cost-effectively, which can help them to increase their profitability and expand their operations, contributing to the economic growth of our region.
Industry 4.0 in the Waikato
As a leading region for advanced manufacturing, Waikato businesses are well represented among the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network. This network helps New Zealand businesses realise the benefits of adopting digital technologies that enhance manufacturing performance, output, monitoring, and control.
Leading Waikato manufacturers that are members of the Industry 4.0 Demonstration Network include:
- Convex, a flexible packaging manufacturer in Hamilton creates thousands of products and has been delivering bespoke packaging solutions throughout New Zealand and internationally for 45 years.
- ES Plastics, an independent family-owned plastics company known for the development of plastic products that require strong design, ingenuity and manufacturing ability.
- Gallagher, the company's business units focus on protecting what matters most for its customers across the Animal Management and Security industries, with a strong focus on using technology to solve real problems.
- Hansa Products, from their base in Hamilton the company designs, manufactures and services wood-chippers that are gaining a reputation for quality and performance around the world.
- Longveld, a world-class manufacturer of primary food processing machinery, systems and equipment, and an expert in custom metal fabrication, specialising in food-grade stainless steel.
- RML, providing high-performance innovative robotic and automation solutions to their customers for the past 40 years.
- 30 SECONDS Limited, a manufacturer and marketer of task specific cleaning products. They manufacture in Matamata, New Zealand and export to a number of countries globally.
Waikato Story Highlight:In 2022, labelling manufacturer Saito began construction on a sustainable factory in Waikato. The company had operated out of Auckland for 35 years but shifted south with a goal of offering a better work life balance for staff and to be more sustainable. Click here to find out more.
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Digital Manufacturing Challenge
The Digital Manufacturing Challenge is a free, in-person event facilitated by expert manufacturing consultants from LMAC in partnership with Callaghan Innovation, EMA, BECA, and Technology Partners NZ Controls and Wyreframe.
Smart Factory Showcase - Waikato
In partnership with Callaghan Innovation, EMA and Beca have created the Smart Factory Showcase to demystify and break Industry 4.0 down to the nuts and bolts of what it means for your business in a practical sense.