Washing machine cross-section

Washing machine cross-section.

Refrigerator Assembly Line

Refrigerator assembly line.


In the post-Second World War period, as Fisher & Paykel strengthened its move toward manufacturing, it began to develop its own in-house designed machines to supplement those produced under license. This change in strategy was aided by a succession of talented engineers who joined the firm and were given ample room for experimentation. Graeme Currie started with the firm in 1950 and soon developed a conveyor line for washing machine production. In 1955, the conveyor belt was adapted for refrigerator production raising output to 15 per day. The following year, Fisher & Paykel produced its first in-house designed product: a pressurised clothes dryer. And in 1957, a dual temperature refrigerator with freezer compartment was marketed, developed by another Fisher & Paykel engineer.

The product releases came at the start of a period of rapid expansion in the firm. Having outgrown the factory at Carlaw Park Lane, a new 48,000 square foot, purpose-built premise was opened in Mt Wellington in 1956. The factory opened with 60 staff, yet within four years, aided by new product launches and a network over 200 dealers throughout New Zealand exclusively marketing Fisher & Paykel product, it had expanded to a staff of 600.

Through the efforts of in-house engineering staff, the company continued to achieve on-going cost savings. In 1964, for example, engineers Julian Williams and Graeme Currie, perfected a flexible manufacturing system at the refrigeration plant in Mt Wellington utilizing pre-painted steel. Man-hours on an average home freezer, which Woolf Fisher benchmarked against other overseas manufacturers, dropped from 25 hours to five hours, significantly reducing costs and increasing output.

Further new innovations have continued. In 1987, after visits to international technology fair, Domotechnica, engineer Adrian Sargeant and designer Phil Brace developed the DishDrawer concept. Based on a filing cabinet, the new dishwasher had two fully independent drawers. Simplicity marked both the machine's design and production: DishDrawer had 11 screws compared to a normal dishwasher's 120, and 200 parts compared to the traditional 760. By the time DishDrawer was exhibited in 1996 at Domotechnica, Fisher & Paykel had spent $35 million in capital costs and $10 million in development of the machine, continuing what had become a trademark of innovation led market leadership in the firm.

The Fisher & Paykel range The Fisher & Paykel range.

Fisher & Paykel Truck Fisher & Paykel Truck.

A Fisher & Paykel Plant A Fisher & Paykel plant

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