additive manufacturing

Award-Winning Southland Business Evolves With Innovation

“It just made sense.”

Some would say it’s a very Southland way to explain why you’d purchase a company selling some of the most advanced 3D printing technology in the country, but that’s fi innovations’ founders Gareth and Melissa Dykes in a nutshell.

The pair have stuck to their mission since taking over the Invercargill-based, family-run fibreglass, composites and flooring business about 20 years ago — to strive to be world-class through innovative thinking and manufacturing excellence.

That mission led to the introduction of their additive manufacturing brand fi additive earlier this year, and now, the purchase of Auckland-based 3D printing business Complete 3D

“We’ve always had a really vested interest in the world of advanced manufacturing, so the direction the business has taken has been very natural,’’ Mr Dykes said.

What started as a company that specialised in anything from industrial, residential and commercial resin flooring to boat building services, had since grown to incorporate a whole new level of innovation.

While the fi innovations team had initially been responsible for the additive manufacturing arm of the business, when the demand for those services increased, it became necessary to launch a new brand dedicated solely to additive manufacturing.

“fi additive has been designing and manufacturing parts for the likes of the aerospace, medical, transport and marine industries for some time now.

“When the opportunity arose to take over a company like Complete 3D that sells the machines and materials that print those parts at fi additive, it was a no-brainer.”

Complete 3D was not just a retailer, it offered industry-leading consulting expertise to help transform its clients’ workflows through training, warranty support and general customer care. 

It was also the only business of its kind offering technical support for additive manufacturing systems in New Zealand. 

From its ability to print complex master patterns for high-end jewellery to dental solutions and prosthetic limbs, Complete 3D’s repertoire of machinery and materials was extensive.

“Whether it’s a start-up business or a large-scale industry needing superior end-use parts, we want to be able to deliver end-to-end additive manufacturing solutions to our clients.

“The purchase of Complete 3D is what’s going to make that a reality.”

With fi and Complete 3D joining forces, the team would now be able to provide a solution across the whole 3D spectrum — from design and scanning to printing parts and supplying machines and materials, as well as consultancy and technical services.

Former Complete 3D staff had been kept on board, and with the combining of the two businesses, the goal was to “breathe new life” into it what already existed.  

The Dykes’ business portfolio has received widespread recognition for its success after being dubbed finalists and winners at a variety of awards, including at the New Zealand Hi-Tech Awards, the Best Awards and the Southland Business Excellence Awards where their team most recently brought home the 2021 Supreme Award.