Shot Darts Head of Engineering Robbie Donaldson (left) and Managing Director Peter McCormick (right) with the company’s new titanium plating plant.
A new piece of machinery has firmly positioned Katikati’s Shot Darts as a leader in the international darts industry.
The recently purchased titanium plating plant is behind the vibrant colour coatings on the company’s darts.
It also ensures a durable coating that doesn’t chip and helps keep a dart’s edges and grip intact, supporting the quality and flair the company is well-known for in international darts circles.
Managing director Peter McCormick says the purchase speaks to the company’s obsession with darts, which goes back almost 50 years to when his father, John McCormick, took over the business.
“To the best of my knowledge, we’re the only precision darts manufacturer in the world to manage the entire manufacturing process in-house. From initial concepts, to packing our beautifully finished tungsten darts by hand ready for shipment, we get it all done here at our factory in New Zealand.
“It gives us complete control, from woah to go. Not just over quality, but also lead times and consistency of supply.
Peter says customer expectations for lead times are getting shorter and shorter, and he expects bringing the entire process in-house to shorten turnaround by at least two weeks.
“It enables us to be more flexible, to respond quicker to customer needs.”
The company has backed up its investment by hiring a machine operator with a Master’s Degree in Chemistry, a role Mr McCormick says is expected to have a strong research and development focus.
“We want to see what the machine is really capable of. We’re excited about continuing to push the envelope. And getting our ideas out there, into the hands of players, faster.”
Tthe process of getting the machine to Shot Darts Katikati factory and up and running hasn’t been without its difficulties, he says.
“There have been challenges, but nothing insurmountable. Just a few things that have required a bit of Kiwi ingenuity along the way.”
Peter says the challenges have also showcased some of the other great things about being a Kiwi business.
“There’s been a lot of help from other New Zealand businesses and business leaders. When there’s been a problem, they’ve turned up on our doorstep to help us. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t happen in other countries.
“We’re hugely proud to manufacture our darts in New Zealand.”
He says the purchase also symbolises Shot Darts dedication to doing things in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way, something that is becoming increasingly important in some of their key markets.
“Germany is a big market for us and there is a growing demand there, from young people in particular, for products and businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.”
With the darts previously travelling as far as China at times for plating, the emissions generated by flying them there and back is something the company is happy to see an end to as part of their commitment to doing things more sustainably.
“We’re also looking forward to reducing our carbon footprint through the use of cleaner energy sources in the plating process (renewable energy sources make up more than 80% of New Zealand’s electricity generation vs. less than 40 per cent in China).”
Peter says the purchase also speaks to the company’s commitment to staff, the community and the darts industry, as it approaches its 50th year in 2020.
“There is a definite excitement in the team, they’re invested in the outcome. There’s a lot of pride.
“It’s also good for the community to see the future of the business, what we’re working toward. It demonstrates our commitment to being based in the Katikati community.
“Darts gets into your blood. We’re here for the long haul.”