Over the last forty years, Pertronic Industries has gone from strength to strength. To mark this milestone, we asked Pertronic founder David Percy what he wanted to achieve when he started and why this unique company has been so successful.
“I support local manufacturing,” said David. “I wanted to make high-quality fire detection equipment. A fire panel is not a commodity product that can be competitively manufactured in a large consumer electronics factory.”
Pertronic started operations in 1982. The company completed several specialised contracts before launching its first automatic fire alarm control panel in 1986. Based on conventional detection technology, the highly successful F30 was installed in thousands of New Zealand buildings during the 1980s and 1990s.
By the late 1980s, it was apparent that New Zealand needed a smart fire alarm system for larger facilities. Launched in 1991, the Pertronic F40 fire panel was a new challenge for Pertronic Industries. The combination of analogue addressable detection technology and microprocessor control allowed the F40 to pin-point the source of an alarm signal, a vital capability in larger buildings.
The F40 was replaced in 1999 by the F100A. This was the first Pertronic product sold in Australia. “I always wanted to be in both New Zealand and Australia,” said David. “I have seen some savage downturns in the New Zealand market. The Australian economy runs on different cycles.” The F100A and its larger sibling, the F120A, were as well-received in Australia as in New Zealand.
As Pertronic grew, a large proportion of its profits were invested in its manufacturing capability. Pertronic’s first surface mount assembly machine entered service in 2006. A second machine was added in 2009. The company continues to add new machinery and to recruit new talent to support growing demand.
The F100A and F120A were replaced in Australia in 2016 by the Pertronic F220. This new fire panel and the F220-Net2 Network supercharged Pertronic’s market penetration in Australia. Today, the two markets are equally important, providing the diversification Mr. Percy hoped to achieve.
“The future bodes very well for New Zealand manufacturing of appropriate products,” said David Percy. “Local manufacturing allows us to avoid the negative effects of extreme globalisation. Fire alarm systems are highly specialised custom-built products. In this kind of business, there’s always a home team advantage.”