Insulated panel factory an investment in Christchurch’s future

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The Conqueror International Ltd factory in Christchurch is an indisputable investment in the earthquake-ravaged city’s future.

But the manufacturing plant is creating an impact well beyond Canterbury. It’s one year now since on-site work began on the creation of the Conqueror “super-factory” that caters for the manufacture of thermally-efficient and environmentally-friendly insulated panels for use in the construction industry.

The factory, in Yaldhurst Business Park, spans more than 7500 square metres, cost in excess of $35 million, employs dozens of staff, and has been heralded as a world-leading enterprise.

Conqueror International Ltd is owned by Christchurch entrepreneur Trevor Bills, who describes his manufacturing plant as “a world first” with its ability to produce varied product on an unprecedented scale.

“Typically around the world you would find factories producing either roof or wall panels, or the machinery to do both.

“We produce external walls in four different styles, panels for walls, ceilings and roofs, plus garage doors offering several different options. So we are a very versatile plant,” he says.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says the Conqueror factory is an example to New Zealand.

“If New Zealand is going to continue to have a strong manufacturing base then it has to invest in doing what is happening at Conqueror,” he says.

“The pattern adopted there is investment in new equipment and good technology — and moving up the value curve. That is how New Zealand can win on the world stage,” he says.

Conqueror is proud of its product’s sustainable make-up. Its product has received plaudits for its insulated panel construction system with a green heart. The “green” classification relates to its PIR core — all Conqueror panels are devoid of harmful CFCs or HCFCs.

Mr Bills believes the PIR insulation provides the perfect solution for meeting current and perceived future building regulations, and other carbon reduction programmes.

The product’s PIR core also offers superior insulation properties reputed to outperform similar products by more than 50%.

Conqueror’s garage doors, for example, are thermally insulated and being chosen by consumers wanting a quieter, warmer and, consequently, more cost-efficient home.

The product can also boast remarkable acoustic qualities, an exceptional fire rating and a seismic performance second to none.

It’s little wonder then that this highly praised insulated panel methodology was adopted for the construction of the Conqueror super factory, which was completed in late 2012.

Not only did that mean the use of a product the Conqueror team had utter faith in, it meant building time was minimal in comparison to historical methods.

Mr Bills is convinced his factory and its product has the ability to change the common, current building mindset.

The factory — which features ipad-controlled state of the art plant — has the capability to output a substantial volume of product.

For example, it can produce 14 metres of insulated panel per minute. It also has the capacity to produce New Zealand’s entire annual garage door requirement in less than 30 days.

That’s a lot of very fine product, Mr Bills says.