In the world of chippers and shredders, Hansa is a family business that sets a great example of using specialist design and manufacturing, to not only compete against larger machinery brands around the world but giving them a good run for their money.
Hansa was originally formed when founder Manfred Vogel saw the opportunity to make chippers for domestic use. No one else was interested, so in the 1980s he left his job as a mechanical engineer to build his first chipper. Now under the leadership of husband and wife team, Martin and Kate Vogel, Hansa continues to excel in producing top quality chipping and shredding equipment with a range that now includes domestic chippers suitable for gardens and acreages, all the way up to compact-but-powerful commercial chippers designed for arborists in urban spaces.
To supplement their chipper line, Hansa are also the local distributor for Predator Stump Grinders – a brand well known for grinders that can fit through tight gateways. In recent years Hansa have also released a unusual product – a Chaff Cutter – based on a remodelled Streamline product when friend and founder of Streamline discontinued the business.
If this dynamic duo didn’t already have enough on their plate, Hansa have just completed undertaking a massive task of building a new 3000m² dedicated production facility. This build started in March 2018 and saw the production facility become operational late last year in December. Offices and administration followed in early 2019. Rather than simply adding new equipment, the facilities were built with a clear focus on streamlining their processes to produce more efficiently and sustainable growth. However, several key areas of production have expanded – such as incorporating an additional coating booth, assembly bay and service bay.
This is a huge leap from Hansa’s origins, where the first chippers were originally built in a relative’s honey shed. Hansa have since moved several times over the years – promptly outgrowing the honey shed, moving into a small workshop, undertaking several expansions to the workshop, before leasing a bigger production space in 2012. By 2016 it was already evident that Hansa was fast outgrowing this production space also, as a multi-generational business
Hansa’s leadership knew that they wanted to invest in the future for a truly sustainable long-term home, so in 2018 they launched this project to give Hansa a more permanent home with plenty of room to grow.
The newly completed headquarters at Te Kowahi Road East, Hamilton are only three minutes away from Hansa’s last home but shows a much larger site of more than 8300 m². The building design was by Stiles and Hooker, while the build was completed by Livingstone Builders.
Formsteel rafters were used for the structure to provide a pillar-free clear-span across the production areas and allows for better utilisation of the floor space.
Hansa pride themselves on being an innovative family business. Listening to the feedback of their customer base has been a core value since the beginning of Hansa. Product developments and advancements usually come from the first-hand experience from the field by actual users in their working environments, and are tested in the field.
Another key consideration for the move was to take the opportunity to maximise efficiency – optimised for leaner production systems. Hansa has often looked to utilise the best avaliable technologies in their design and production, including: solid works design, CNC machining, metal folding, laser cutting and robot welding, and the new headquarters is no exception. There is no doubt that Hansa has come a long way from their humble beginnings and are ready to tackle the next decade of production and growth in their stride.