Stunning river stone

Stunning river stone tabletops, destined for the Rees Hotel in Queenstown, were painstakingly crafted at Fi Innovations’ workshop in Invercargill.

It was a long and delicate process, requiring much patience – machine, prime and sand each plywood base; machine, cut, sand and glue the oak timber edging; clean the individual stones; accurately level each top; get everything to the optimum temperature; mix and pour the clear doming resin. After all that, vigilance was required to remove the pesky air bubbles that randomly appeared as the resin slowly cured.

The result is very impressive. We hope that the guests who dine at the restaurant will appreciate our efforts, as they gaze at the stunning views of Frankton Arm and the Remarkables.

Posted in Coatings, Tourism |

Big camera for you

Bungy NZ camera housingNext time you’re standing petrified on a bungy jump platform near Queenstown, take a look at the super-size camera housing that is pointing at you.

It might take your mind off the impending plunge. Ahh, no!  I’m too busy being scared.

Yep, we custom make these carbon-fibre camera housings for AJ Hackett Bungy . Initially we supplied a white camera housing, but they so wanted the modern carbon look, that we’re now making a series of these black beauties for their various jump sites, including the historic Kawarau Bridge bungy, the ultra-high Nevis Bungy and the skyline Ledge.

From the front the camera housing looks like a giant SLR camera, but hidden inside is a real DSLR camera, a wireless transmitter and batteries. As each client does their jump, they are photographed and the images are transmitted back to the base building.  These top quality pics and video become personal souvenirs of a memorable experience.

Each camera housing has multiple resin-infused layers of carbon fibre. A UV-resistant clear coating ensures that they will last a long time. Bungy NZ handles the installation of the internal components, the front ‘lens’ and the rear ‘door’. We’re looking forward to seeing the final result.

Bungy NZ jumper photographed from carbon fibre camera housingBungy NZ jumper photographed from carbon fibre camera housing Bungy NZ jumper photographed from carbon fibre camera housing

Bungy NZ jumper photographed from carbon fibre camera housing

Posted in Carbon fibre, Resin infusion, Tourism |

Full-carbon Snare Drum

full-carbon fiber snare drumPeter Robertson, who owns Hunter Custom Drums, picked up two more full-carbon fibre snare drum shells from us today.

After assembling the drums, Peter will take them this weekend to the Finn Brothers studio in Auckland. Hopefully the musos will like them and Peter will get more orders.

The prototype full-carbon drum we infused for Peter was featured at the Auckland Drum Fest. Russ Miller, one of the world’s best session drummers, raved about it, so he took it home to Los Angeles to use.

Have a look at Russ Miller’s video review of the carbon fiber snare

Posted in Carbon fibre, Music, Resin infusion |

Speedway to the World Cup

Aiden Thwaites + Shane Twiss racing their 58i sidecar ready for the Speedway World CupSpeedway enthusiasts are right behind the two Southland teams who are heading to Australia soon to compete in the Speedway World Cup and the first round of the Oceania series.

Fi Innovations have contributed to their costs. We wish Aiden Thwaites and Shane Twiss (riding sidecar number 58i) and James Douglas and Harley Biddle (riding 44i) all the best for their campaign.  We hope you bring home the silverware.

James Douglas + Harley Biddle racing their 44i sidecar ready for the Speedway World Cup

Hopefully you keep the bikes and yourselves in one piece, so we don’t see you bringing broken bike fairings after the racing.

Follow them on Facebook

58i Thwaites Racing

44i Racing

Posted in Fibreglass, Transport |

Business After Five

BA5, short for ‘Business After Five’, are informal events designed to encourage Caleb Burke (Infusion Technician) monitors progressnetworking among Southland manufacturers.  FI Innovations was excited to host the December BA5 evening, with over 40 people enjoying drinks and nibbles at our Otepuni Ave premises.

Gareth, the Managing Director of FI Innovations, updated everyone on some of our recent developments, including the heat-resistant urethane handles for the Tiwai aluminium smelter and the Project Carbon cabins that we make for Stabicraft.

A highlight was the ‘real time’ demonstration of how GAreth Dykes - Managing Director explains resin infusionresin infusion works. This provoked plenty of technical questions and pondering about other applications of this process.

After the evening, we received lots of favourable feedback. People appreciated seeing what we were making here in Invercargill and took the opportunity to talk with our technical staff.


Business After Five events are informal occasions organised by the Southland Chamber of Commerce. They give participants the chance to network, while expanding horizons and knowledge of other businesses.FI Innovations team

We certainly found that hosting a BA5 evening was an excellent way to showcase our business.Some of the business people at the BA5 evening

Posted in Carbon fibre, Composites, Flexible products, Industrial, Marine, Resin infusion, Urethane |

Branxholme water treatment tanks

F-I staff working inside the alum tankBranxholme, just north of Invercargill, saw lots of contractor activity recently as part of the ICC’s $11.5m upgrade of the city’s water treatment plant.  FI Innovations was asked to manufacture and install double linings in both their alum tanks.  These double linings were required to provide environmental protection in the event of an earthquake or other mishap.

After detailed planning, the project started with laminating a series of huge vinylester sheets at our Otepuni Ave factory.  To provide the required cavity spacing and the ability to resist pressure, an array of stiffening ribs was bonded to the back of each sheet.

transporting the vinylester walls to Branxholme water treatment station

With each sheet weighing over 200kg, it took quite a few trips to transport all ten sections by road over the 15km to Branxholme.

Once the sheets were on-site, the FI Innovations team carefully manoeuvered them into position in each alum tank. The edges were bonded together with custom-made mouldings.

Finally the crew worked to seal all the joints before the fibreglass I-beams and safety gratings were installed.

bonding vinylester walls at Branxholme water treatment plantA big job for the FI Innovations team, but overall very satisfying to complete it within the strict criteria.

Posted in Civil Infrastructure, Composites, Fibreglass, Industrial |

Mini Shotover Jet boat

mini Shotover Jet - innovative display standPop into Shotover Jet’s operations base at Arthur’s Point in Queenstown sometime and take a look at the mini Shotover Jet sitting in the corner.


The Ngai Tahu Tourism company asked us to create a unique stand to display souvenirs. They’re selling the “Jimmy the Jet Boat” kid’s book, cuddly PeeWee Kiwi soft toys and other items.

mini Shotover Jet in Q-town shop

Next they want a mini jet boat that a client can sit in for a photo opp. We’ve started that project, so we’ll post some pics when its finished.

Prince WIiliam + Kate ride the Shotover Jet

In the meantime, why not book an experience on the iconic Shotover Jet?

Posted in Boat-building, Composites, Fibreglass, Marine |

Urethane pads prevent coupling damage

Urethane pad to prevent scratches and dentsIf you’re out at Fonterra‘s huge milk products factory in Edendale, keep an eye out for the bright yellow urethane pads in the truck bay. Apart from being a colourful addition to an industrial area, these pads serve a practical purpose.

Big truck and trailer tankers unload their milk in this bay. The hose couplings frequently get scraped and dented when they contact the concrete road surface. Such damage is unfortunate and expensive.

For several months each winter, Fi Innovations has a team out at Edendale doing maintenance for Fonterra. While we normally work on their hygenic flooring, pipes and storage tanks, we also heard about this issue in their truck bay. Our team thought that we could be able to Urethane pads in the truck bay at Fonterra plant, Edendalehelp, so Fi Innovations offered to come up with a solution.

We cast urethane pads with a checker-plate pattern in the top surface. The pads are glued into the concrete roadway underneath the inlet pipes. If a coupling is dropped, it should land on the shock-absorbent urethane.

So far, the urethane pads have proven successful at minimising damage. Another bonus is that they are easily cleaned.



Posted in Flexible products, Flooring, Industrial, Urethane |

Oyster boat sculpture

Oyster boat sculpture in Bluff's main streetThe Oyster Boat sculpture in Bluff’s main street was tired and in desperate need of a complete overhaul.

The oyster shell part had been absorbing rainwater through its very porous exterior, so the main support structure had collapsed with rust. In addition the steel masts and sails of the sailing boat had rusted.

Fi Innovations took it all apart and assessed the damage. We made replica mast and sails from fibreglass. Hours were spent sealing all the holes and cracks in the shell. When it was re-built, the whole sculpture was sprayed to seal and protect it.

The result is very eye-catching  The kids love the little dolphins, too.

Huge oyster shell in Bluff main street

dolphins leap out of Oyster boat sculpture

Posted in Art + Culture, Coatings, Composites, Fibreglass |

Splash Palace Solution

“By the summer of 2013, the flooring of Invercargill’s city pool was in need of a major overhaul.  Normally that would mean closing our doors to the public.  However, FI Innovations came up with a night-time solution that meant the pool could stay open throughout the full 2000m2 flooring refit.

The decorative anti-slip Rhino Armafloor not only provided a durable anti-slip surface, but it was patterned to show walkways and words.  Contrasting colours were used for walkways,  while instructions such as ‘PLEASE WALK’ were embedded into the finish.

Best of all, everyone got to keep their cool, even though it was a record heat wave summer.

The FI team put in an incredible effort from the word go, consistently going the extra mile.  They retained a pleasant manner, professional work ethic and attention to detail that others could do well to learn from.  I absolutely recommend Gareth and his team.”

– Peter Thompson, Aquatic Services Manager, Splash Palace

Posted in Fibreglass, Industrial, Swimming Pools |