Small firm earns global recognition
Blenheim aviation engineer Tony Wytenburg has not quite reached his goal to make money in his sleep, but is enjoying the journey.
In 2004 the Classic Aero Machinery Services owner started out by himself, working from a hangar in Omaka, building parts for old warplanes.
Eight years later, Mr Wytenburg has built a reputation on having the ability to machine safe, classic aircraft pieces with exports to the United States worth $100,000 last year.
To make new parts, he first draws them on his computer before entering the program into the CNC mill, which has a range of carbide tools for cutting aluminium, plastic and steel. After programming the mill, he pushes a button and walks away, he said.
"My ambition is to make money while I sleep, and while I'm not quite there yet, I'm having fun doing it.
"It's important to get it right, it has taken a long time to get to this point and build up the clients, and it's had its challenges like finding where to source parts and equipment from."
Oshkosh, the week long aviation event held annually in Wisconsin United States, is the perfect networking opportunity to catch up with new and existing customerss, and he tries to get there every year.
Most of his work now came from word of mouth referrals, he said.
Mr Wytenburg grew up in Dunedin and studied fitting, turning and machining at the Otago Polytechnic. His ability to do all parts of the design and machining process, him apart from his counterparts in the United States, he said.
"We stand out in the American market, because we do everything – drawing, programming, machining, finishing and then we package it up and send it away to them. Over there they have someone different doing each job."
Until six months ago, Mr Wytenburg was flying solo but then the work load got too heavy so he employed another person fulltime.
While he mostly works in aviation engineering, he has plenty of customers who approach him because of his ability to make or modify a piece of machinery to improve its function, he said.
"I don't go out of my way hunting general engineering work, but people who know the work I do approach me if they have a problem and I never say no."
- The Marlborough Express
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