Regional Facility Takes No Risks When It Comes to Staff Safety During COVID-19

02.07.2020 Richelle Ward

When aerospace technology company HeliMods was commissioned to deliver essential assets while the country is experiencing a pandemic, extreme measures had to be taken. Based in Caloundra in regional Queensland, Helimods’ international market consists mostly of US and European clients with teams deployed globally to service demand.

Founder and Managing Director of HeliMods, Will Shrapnel, says: “We have invested heavily over the years in a state-of-the-art facility, advanced technologies and a highly talented team, all of which allow us to make a unique and holistic offering to the market, from concept creation all the way through to 3D design, manufacturing, certification and integration.”

Will Shrapnel Founder and Managing Director of HeliMods

“Our team consists of specialists from all over Australia and the world, who come here to work on really complex and challenging projects. The repercussions of having to isolate the facility for two weeks if someone were to test positive to coronavirus would have been highly detrimental to the business, so we took a lot of proactive steps to ensure our people were as safe as they could be and that we could still continue to operate at a high capacity.”

“We split the team up across the facility, assigned maximum numbers to different areas, added additional spaces where people could have lunch in a socially distanced setting, and shut down any non-essential visitors to the centre for a long period of time. We had to take it very seriously,” Mr Shrapnel said.

Attending numerous exhibitions throughout the year across Europe and the United States is what enabled international business growth and relationship building for HeliMods, and while one benefit is that many of their projects are long term, the lock down has still resulted in a substantial loss of international income.

“Our export earnings have taken a short to medium term hit and we have had to change the way we operate. I was travelling internationally, sometimes twice per month, and now that has just stopped. It has been a time of great uncertainty,” Mr Shrapnel said.

In adversity we often see the best in people and HeliMods were able to show their support for health care workers by utilising their large 3D printing capability to print PPE and face masks for the Queensland Metro North Hospital Region.

“When this is all over, we will re-emerge as a stronger business, with new and innovative products and different ways of selling those products. If not 2021, we think 2022 will be one of our better years of exporting.”

“To other exporters out there – I would encourage them to make the most of this opportunity to re-invest in the business and redefine the exporter you want to be when you emerge through this challenging time,” Mr Shrapnel said.

Neeraj Chadee and Casey Giulieri Engineers at HeliMods

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