Praise Showered

Praise showered on Fi Innovations by Real Journeys for our craftsmanship.  We refurbished over 30 shower cubicles on their big “Milford Mariner” tourist boat.

Cubicle after cubicle - it never seemed to end. Stan and Reece made countless trips up and down steps, and along the narrow corridors, as they measured, cut and carefully fitted each shower panel. Meanwhile Pete and the workshop boys worked hard to make 105 fibreglass flat panels and prep up nearly 300 metres of pultruded corner angle.

Well done guys on a marathon effort – the showers look great.

After the winter maintenance at Bluff is completed, the Mariner will sail back around to Fiordland for the upcoming tourist season.

Enjoy an overnight cruise on the Mariner at Milford Sound. More info at Real Journeys "Milford Sound Nature Cruises"

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

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 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 |

Full-carbon Snare Drum

Peter 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.

Posted in Carbon fibre, Music, Resin infusion |

Speedway to the World Cup

Speedway 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.

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

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Posted in Fibreglass, Transport |

Business After Five

BA5, short for 'Business After Five', are informal events designed to encourage networking 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 shock-absorbing 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 resin 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.

We certainly found that hosting a BA5 evening was an excellent way to showcase our business.

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

Branxholme water treatment tanks

Branxholme, 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.

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.

A 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

Pop 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.

A fun project for us to do. There's another wee jetboat in the pipeline, so in the meantime why not take a spin on the iconic Shotover Jet.

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

Urethane pads prevent coupling damage

If 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 help, 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

The 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.

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

Splash Palace Solution

We did a series of all-nighters to revamp the pool surrounds for Splash Palace. read what they thought of our job.

"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 |