A high tech pipe profiling company that grew from Massey University’s ecentre has confirmed a multi-million dollar deal with a technology company in the United States.
CleanFlow Systems, which designs and manufactures robotic devices that assess damage to underground pipes, has been acquired by RedZone Robotics, a leading US designer and manufacturer of robotic wastewater inspection technologies.
CleanFlow Systems started at ecentre, the University’s business innovation centre on the Albany campus, and designs and manufactures devices, including the FlyEye profiler.
This device travels down pipes taking photographs and 360-degree laser readings to pinpoint wall loss, cracks, holes and blockages. The information it collects is analysed using a software programme to build a digital image showing the pipe’s exact condition. It can also be adapted for use in flooded pipes taking readings by sonar. It was recently used in Christchurch to help get the city’s water systems back up and running.
RedZone Robotics is the only other company in the world that had a similar product to CleanFlow’s.
“The combination of Cleanflow and RedZone makes sense for the business and for our customers. Together we can provide all of the tools required for our customers to make sense of the world’s abundant wastewater collection systems, which are all too frequently out of sight and out of mind. The challenge here is to put the much needed information in the hands of wastewater managers so they can proactively manage their sewer infrastructure,” says RedZone CEO Eric Close
Trevor Logan, CEO of CleanFlow Systems, says both companies have a history of developing innovative products that help their clients precisely measure and understand the condition of their underground sewer infrastructure.
“Independently each company is respected in the industry, but our combined solutions will enable us to be a truly global leader with the ability to serve clients of every size, and across the globe,” he says.
Logan will join RedZone’s Board of Directors and the 12 employees, nine of whom are Massey University graduates, will continue product development.
He said ecentre, which they approached in 2001 with their idea, had contributed greatly to the company’s success.
“The support we received from being based at the ecentre was critical in getting through the first tough years. We have built a strong relationship with the University. We will continue to build our research and development capability with graduates from Massey University’s top engineering degrees,” says Logan. “This deal is fantastic news for us. We have had a very turbulent year.”
Earlier this year, CleanFlow Systems moved into a new research and development facility in Tarndale Grove, Albany. This is part of its plan to continue to develop expertise in research and development. Just after the opening of their new facility, co-founder and company chief technical officer Geoff Logan was the victim of a fatal plane crash.
Paying tribute to his brother, Mr Logan says: “Geoff was my elder brother and friend for 43 years and my business partner for 12 years; I specifically banned him from starting on the FlyEye project eight years ago. Now it is the leading inspection tool bar none in our industry and the reason for the successful sale of the company.”
Steve Corbett, chief executive of ecentre, describes CleanFlow System’s story as “inspirational”.
“CleanFlow has evolved from two entrepreneurs whose early prototypes were test driven for days in the water-filled gutters of ecentre to test their water resistance, to a global company exporting to 36 countries.”
“This latest move is another endorsement of the shining talent of Kiwis on the global stage In order to make New Zealand more prosperous, we need more entrepreneurs like Trevor and Geoff who are willing to take their ideas from garage to global.”