11 Apr 2012

NZ screw clips dollars in yachting, construction

7:22 am on 11 April 2012

A clever plastic screw designed and manufactured in New Zealand is making a name for itself among superyacht builders around the world.

Fastmount screws created by Greg Kelly and Ron Hanley have not only own awards by are being sold to more than 1000 boatyards in 50 countries, and are now being used in buildings on land.

Auckland boat builder Gregg Kelly was working on the interior fitouts of superyachts seven years ago when he hit a problem - panels falling off the walls and ceilings - and took his problem to product designer Ron Hanley.

Their solution - a plastic screw which allows panels to be taken off and refitted precisely -- was taken to boat-builders around the world. Now the company exports 95% of its production, with just four staff manufacturing the product in New Zeland.

Marketing manager Joss Hong - Mr Hanley's wife - says the directors have lived for up to four months every year in some of their target markets, such Viareggio on Italy's Tuscany coast, building close links with distributors.

Two years ago Fastmount was used by the luxury jewellery brand Bulgari for an exposition to celebrate its 125th anniversary in Paris.

Ms Hong says the association with consumer perceptions of quality, such as Bulgari and luxury superyachts, is essential to the brand.

Mr Harley says Fastmount's latest moves to become part the global architectural sector poses new risks and challenges, but could see sales grow 10-fold.