Published 10 March 2023
Images Andrew Edwards, Hideaki Fukutake
  • news
  • shape
Published 10 March 2023
Images Andrew Edwards, Hideaki Fukutake
  • news
  • shape

Shape announces the 100% acquisition of trusted NZ generator and backup power company Dependable Power, established as Appleby Engineering in 1974 by industry leader John Appleby.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Gabrielle’s devastation across so many communities, questions are being asked about our preparedness and energy infrastructure failings. Shape Group Limited is tackling this problem head-on. Formed by Hideaki Fukutake’s STILL Limited in 2021, Shape Group is building an infrastructure services business that can improve the resilience of businesses and communities in the event of natural disasters, power and communications outages.

SHAPE Group’s team of engineers, technical and operations experts has been working around the clock since the January floods in Auckland and Cyclone Gabrielle to provide backup solutions and get businesses and infrastructure back up and running. Among the devastation are untold stories of functional resilience - companies and communities with backup/contingency solutions that meant they were able to keep going, do their jobs and keep supporting the most vulnerable communities.

Shape Group CEO, Andrew Edwards describes Shape Group as “The company keeping things going when the going stops - Shape’s solutions are all about resilience, making sure essential things can operate and do their jobs without the main power grid, the cellular network or physical access to their sites. We are on call 24/7”

With the flooding of Eden Park facilities on 11 February, the Ed Sheeran concert in Auckland faced the possibility of not having any functioning backup power systems for their critical electrical equipment. With the support of Shape and UPS manufacturer ABB, new systems were brought in to ensure the show could go on.

Within less than 24 hours of electricity loss due to Cyclone Gabrielle, a 350Kva generator was operational at the ABB factory in Napier; a 500Kva generator was installed at a major canning facility in Hastings; four additional generators and a vital fuel tanker were established at Arvida’s rest homes to support their operations and community.

Shape Energy and Shape Technology are the two key areas of focus of Shape Group. The acquisition of kiwi companies Nukor and Motiv Solutions in 2021 then IT Power in 2022 combined leading expertise and enabled Shape to join important dots to keep infrastructure and energy working in the toughest of times. There are many components and dots to be joined - from diesel generators, compressed air services, nitrogen, hydrogen and batteries to the Internet of Things sensors, software stacks, micro controllers, green technologies, UPS systems and innovations like remote satellite low-cost low-orbit solutions - and “Datablok” self-contained, portable, containerised data centres.

Organisations that utilise Shape Group’s resilience solutions include Waka Kotahi, Department of Conservation, Maritime New Zealand, MetService, Auckland Transport, NZ Police, Transpower, Christchurch City Council, Wellington City Council, 2 Degrees, NIWA, Ryman Healthcare, Rocket Lab, Dimension Data and Pāmu Farms.

To further ramp up efforts to build a more resilient future for Aotearoa, Shape announces the 100% acquisition of trusted NZ generator and backup power company Dependable Power, established as Appleby Engineering in 1974 by industry leader John Appleby. Shape Group CEO, Andrew Edwards says, “There wouldn't be many hospitals, data centres, police stations and other critical assets in New Zealand without Appleby support for mission-critical backup solutions. Dependable Power is New Zealand's premier generator and dependable power supplier, renowned for being able to solve challenges that are unique to an industry and unique to New Zealand in relation to our location in the world.”

The addition of Dependable Power to Shape Group brings unmatched experience and depth in relation to uninterrupted power supply and generator energy generation. It also brings mechatronic engineers, electrical engineers, mechanical technicians, design and engineering expertise around fuel systems and containerised solutions for a 24/7 service maintenance business with a substantial hire fleet. Dependable employs over 45 staff across three locations - Auckland, Christchurch, and Fiji/Pacific. All staff will be retained, and the acquisition will increase Shape Group total head count to 100.

On the acquisition, John Appleby states, “I am happy to have found a safe home for Dependable Power in SHAPE. Dependable is 48 years old, it's been a big part of my life and I am proud of what the team has achieved. I look forward to working with Andrew and the team over the next few years to integrate the companies and deliver backup power solutions to the many clients I have worked with over nearly five decades.”

It's important for companies like SHAPE Group, that specialise in mission-critical and backup systems, to share what can be done to reduce significant disruption to communities, when extreme weather events cause such devastation.

Says Edwards, “Cyclone Gabrielle is a sharp reminder to all businesses and agencies to check that your backup plans, systems and equipment are ready to go and fit for the needs of the future. Telecommunications, eftpos and financial systems are critical.

“Micro grids, decentralised power systems and large scale energy storage systems may be the way of the future. As we rebuild, adding solar, batteries and small generators to community halls, marae and civil defence structures will not only reduce their day-to-day costs but also increase resilience. Big industries and factories will start to move away from traditional energy consumption from centralised large power stations and distribution networks. Self-generation and microgrids provide endless opportunities as new and better technology is coming fast for batteries, generators and solar solutions.”

Projects in the pipeline for Shape include the launch of Powerblok energy storage systems, a portable deployable solar powered batteries energy solution, full microgrid solutions and a dedicated energy emergency response team.

Shape is focused on investing, innovating, and building a more resilient and sustainable future for Aotearoa.

About SHAPE Group:

SHAPE Group Limited was formed by STILL Ltd in 2021 to build an integrated infrastructure services business specialising in smart, connected, enduring and sustainable infrastructure. SHAPE Group provides a range of services including design, build, supply, fund, and through life support of critical energy and air infrastructure assets. Products and services offered by SHAPE include air compressors and dryers, energy generators, nitrogen/co2 generation and recovery, onsite backup energy solutions, UPS / batteries, portable data centres, battery energy storage systems, cooling systems, Internet of Things hardware and software, engineering expertise and SaaS.

Shape Group started from one employee in mid 2021 and now employs 100 people. The engineering team has quadrupled in the past 12 months and there is significant forward demand. Both revenue and profit are doubling year on year and forecasted to continue.

Recent products and services to launched in 2023 include:

The Shape Blok series solutions, which are turnkey, prefabricated containerised solutions - built to be scalable and rapidly deployable. They include:

  • Datablok – Prefabricated, modular, transportable, secure containerised data centres.
  • Powerblok – Grid-scale battery energy storage systems.
  • Nitroblok – Compact, energy-efficient, and cost-effective nitrogen generators, producing high-purity nitrogen on demand.

The Shape single board computer for deployable assets, giving them a new edge with processing capabilities and control capabilities at 50% of the cost of old Telemetry and Scada systems.

The Shape Edge swarm satellite gateway device gives all remote assets connectivity anywhere in the world.

The Shape Group has a focused R&D programme and looks forward to bringing further innovations to diverse sectors.

About STILL:

STILL is the New Zealand organisation of the Fukutake family, led by CEO and founder Hideaki Fukutake. STILL is an intergenerational organisation with a 100-year outlook that invests, develops and supports large numbers of small projects that collectively create global change to enhance art, culture and community. STILL exists to help New Zealanders deliver ideas, projects and sustainable businesses. To deliver this vision, over the next decade STILL will acquire, start or support 100 projects, companies or people shaping better business, ideas, art and culture across diverse sectors including nature, wellbeing, people, design, infrastructure and energy. Recent acquisitions and projects include World of WearableArt (WOW); Kings Plant Barn; Hulbert House; DDMMYY; Shape Group; Consult Recruitment and Drive Electric.

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