The adventure begins – on Independence Day, 4th July 1972, R J Sheetmetals received their first order for five battery trays. These were to be painted and sent to Lower Hutt.
The building at 26 Green Street was not quite finished, so the first few jobs were completed at a friendly engineer’s work shop. A new name was established a few months later – Supreme Sheetmetals Ltd, and the new company was up and running.
There were plenty of orders, but only one person turning out the work for five to six weeks.
The first major ducting and ventilation job was for the Waikato Times at their new site at Foreman Road. This went on for around four years and Supreme was forced to employ another fabricator and on-site installers.
Several dust extraction systems were installed for joinery workshops and woodwork rooms in intermediate and high schools for the Education Board.
We travelled all of the Waikato and Bay of Plenty areas installing ducting units to schools and even to Papatoetoe in Auckland.
In 1975 we manufactured caravan chassis and pressed the aluminium panels and all metal work including freshwater tanks for Sovereign Caravans – which swamped the rear space of our workshops. But, sadly, the sales tax introduced by Muldoon in 1979 saw the demise of many caravan companies in Hamilton including Sovereign.
Machinery was becoming larger and Supreme replaced the 2.5 metre dye for a new 3.1 m x 6 mm G.M.S from Singapore. The press break was also replaced and a 4.2 metre long, 125 tonne dye was purchased. In the mid 2000s another 3 metre press break with multiple split tops and bottoms blocks was installed.
Special radius bars of various sizes were made. The marine grade now could be bent and moulds of various applications, and trailer mudguards developed – single and tandem type. Aluminium boat manufacturing was looked at seriously, and although it was a viable option, a separate factory would have been needed. Many aluminium boats have been modified and restored over the years by Supreme.
The purchase of the Turret Punch really was a major step towards cutting out panels and supplying a perforated metal sheet service. Major advancement was made with the Turret on multiple large orders and components.
In the month of October, 2009, Antony and Bob travelled to Italy to view a state-of-the-art Salvagnini fibre-laser cutting machine at Verona.
The few days spent there was sufficient time to gauge the terrific advantages the machine would create in Hamilton.
A machine was ordered and it wasn’t until mid-May 2010 that we cut our first sheet. We set up a new factory a few streets away from our original site.
Our workload from component manufacture has increased, as has our cutting range – from .45 to 25 mm thick. We have noticed increased orders for multiple components along with general jobbing work. A suction lifter assists loading and unloading the machine, as does the overhead crane or forklift truck.
Further computer operated machines are being considered to form the shapes to compliment the laser.