What is Fabrum?
Founded in 2004, Christchurch-based business Fabrum has a clear vision — to precision-engineer better outcomes through technological excellence, whilst leaving the lightest footprint possible and providing a pathway for future generations of engineers to continue that mission.
Fabrum’s work in green hydrogen and fuelling future transport is of key importance and Managing Director Christopher Boyle is leading the charge while partnering with local manufacturers who, he says, they can’t exist without.
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How does the local business eco-system benefit Fabrum?
A key part of the connectivity in Christchurch is its manufacturing history and its competency around new technologies. We underpin our ability to export technology offshore by the use of a collaborative team of local manufacturers.
Some of the key players are Alec Farrar Ltd who produce castings for our cryocoolers. A fair bit of our machining work is done by Integrated Hydraulics or G-Tech Belmor and other parts of our product are made by Mercer.
In fact we rely heavily on at least ten Christchurch-based businesses, in engineering, control systems, as well as support at a design level. We can’t exist on our own and the rate of growth that we are going through can’t be done on our own.
The benefits of basing Fabrum in Christchurch are second to none and we wouldn’t do it anywhere else.
What advantages are there by having links to tertiaries?
We have to keep developing minds that can support the growth of technology in New Zealand.
Being based in Christchurch aligned to the University of Canterbury and Ara Institute of Technology means that we can be part of that forging of future talent. We run student programs every summer where we bring in five students for internships. If we are lucky enough they will go back to university and do a project that is in the interest of our business, for example hydrogen. Just like two of our most recent interns who were so inspired by their time with Fabrum that they are now doing their own hydrogen projects back at UC. The hope is that when they graduate they’ll come back to work with us bringing new skills, knowledge and more value.
What does the future hold for Fabrum?
The alliances with local manufacturers over 17 years has enabled us to really lift our technology level to the point that we’ve got several significant pieces of patented technology that are now incredibly desirable in a future travel or transport world. We are in a climate crisis, which is a huge challenge. Hydrogen has been identified as one of the solutions to helping us clean that up. We’ve got a lot of stuff we’ve got to design and are leaning heavily on other engineering consulting groups.
There’s a big conversation going on at the moment about how far off hydrogen-fueled planes are. One of the projects we’re working on in Europe already has flight – 12-seater planes flying on liquid hydrogen. By 2026, it’ll be fueling 26-seater planes and by 2030 it’ll be 80-90-seater planes doing 1,000 kilometres.
As we grow, we’re also creating high level jobs. In the last year Fabrum has grown from 25 – 50 staff and we will do the same again, if not more, during this rapid stage of growth.
The benefits of basing Fabrum in Christchurch are second to none and we wouldn’t do it anywhere else. It’s definitely a big part of our road to success and I’d say to any manufacturing companies that are looking for a solid base, with incredibly valuable connections and support, Christchurch is your place.