Encouraging winds of change and innovation for Insol Ltd
A desire to challenge the status quo and deliver solutions not available anywhere else has encouraged one Southland business to embark on a remarkable research and development journey.
Insol Ltd is a Southland-based company that specialises in the design, manufacture, supply and installation of aluminium louvre and custom-made architectural facades.
With the weather playing a critical factor in the success of any outdoor installation, Insol Ltd was always acutely aware of the need to ensure its products could withstand strong winds. Initially, the company used cement bags to simulate wind load so that it could test the design structures created, however, Executive Director Greg Simmons was motivated to find another way.
“Every time I had to do a test and use the weight of cement bags, an idea of something better would bubble away in the back of my mind and eventually lead to the notion of creating a bespoke wind tunnel,”
With significant capital investment required and not much precedent for designing a wind tunnel for testing purposes, Simmons enlisted the help of Great South (then Venture Southland) to learn more about the research and development opportunities available through Callaghan Innovation.
Callahan Innovation offers a range of R&D funding which can add scale, depth and return to a company’s investment, and in this instance, a successful project grant helped to support investigation during the initial feasibility and de-risk the design stage of the wind tunnel project.
Mr Simmons said that as a result of a ‘sleeves rolled up’ approach and the guidance of Great South, Insol Ltd was not only successful in receiving a project grant but also able to recently successfully build a bespoke wind tunnel on their premises in 2019
The wind tunnel which has been created is capable of moving up to 500 m3/s of air, is the biggest of its type in the Southern Hemisphere and is now providing unparalleled educational opportunities for learning more about how different materials and designs cope in differing weather conditions.
A great example of the innovative thinking that can be synonymous with the Southland region, Mr Simmons said the initiative has the potential to set the company as a leader in the sector.
“While the primary business case of the wind tunnel is built on risk mitigation, the secondary effects will position us as leaders in the market internationally and continue to highlight the importance of innovation to business longevity,”
With Insol Ltd showing what is possible with the right support and information, Great South Business Services GM Ben Lewis encouraged other businesses to consider the research and development opportunities in their sector.
“With Great South able to provide the tools, resources and possible funding avenues to accelerate innovation and success in your business, now’s your chance to follow in the innovative steps of Insol Ltd,“
Great South is always happy to meet with businesses to discuss small start-ups and large scale projects and to work with these businesses to recognise the support services that are available to them.
Find out more about the business services Great South offers here