Business profile: Robur Attachments


Kerikeri-based Robur Attachments Ltd is celebrating a significant milestone in its journey, the purchase of BS Engineering in Auckland

BS Engineering was the most recent venture in the heavy-engineering career of industry icon Bruce Short, which started many years ago when he invented the mechanical post rammer.

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"I was actually too lazy to dig holes for the posts, so invented a machine that could do the job in a fraction of the time," says Bruce. "It has been copied by many manufacturers and was the start of my career in equipment design."

To some, Bruce is known as the engineering mind behind companies that had a tight grip on the attachment supply market in the 1990s and early 2000s. He says those were heady days, but he relinquished the role when the businesses expanded and became more corporate focused.

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Clem Simpkin (left) and Bruce Short

"I retired for a bit, but the pull of design and manufacturing was too attractive," he says. After establishing BS Engineering in 2011, Bruce and his partners built an enviable business making attachments and buckets while also doing heavy-engineering contract work that displayed their talents and cemented a strong reputation in the marketplace for the BS Engineering brand.

It was in April last year that a conversation took place between Bruce and Robur Attachments owner Clem Simpkin that led to the BS Engineering purchase in December.

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The team at Robur and BS Engineering

"I was always impressed with the complex jobs Bruce took on and I knew that one day, an opportunity to purchase the business would arise—I just had to be prepared for the challenge," says Clem.

For Robur, the purchase of BS Engineering was the next practical step to fully establish itself in New Zealand’s largest market.

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"Kerikeri is actually quite close to Auckland, but since spending time here [Auckland], I realise there are opportunities the new business can capitalise on just from being close to purchasers.

"It doesn’t cease to amaze me how people are continually walking in through the door and wanting things made."

Bringing the Robur and BS Engineering businesses together involved some detailed discussions, and assurances to staff the family environment of the Auckland enterprise would not be disrupted.

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"The highly skilled people who Bruce employed are the backbone of our business and a resource we intend to continue fostering."

So, Auckland now has an enhanced local business that is at the forefront of technology advancements in attachment and bucket construction.

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Experienced machinist Stan Prasad

"I am so thrilled to be part of this whole team," concludes Clem. "On one side I have the support and enthusiasm of my operations manager, Matt Allison, and on the other the knowledge and experience of Bruce, so I am supported by people I respect and trust."

For more information, visit robur.co.nz or bsengineering.co.nz

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