The main function of the company was to service the Palmer Companies - Palmer & Son Limited and Palmers Concrete Limited.
Years of service to these two companies and other Dunedin based companies including Dunedin City Council, Blackhead Quarries, Ravensdown Fertiliser, and Cadburys seen Ronald Smith Engineering grow its operation from a small workshop of 2-3 staff located on Ravensbourne Road to a company with over 50 staff at a new location at 100 Ravensbourne Road.
During the journey, we made several acquisitions including Crosbie Sheetmetal in 1994. This extended our engineering base to include the specialty areas of architectural metal and the sheet metal trade. Several employees of the original Crosbie Sheetmetal remain with us today.
Following this acquisition, the name of our company was changed to Palmers Mechanical Limited.
This showed the loyalty we have to Dunedin and Otago and the pride we have in being part of the Palmer Group of companies.
The Palmer family purchased the first quarry in Dunedin at Logan Point in 1880. In the 130 years that the Logan Point Quarry has been functioning, it has provided materials that have been used to build roads, buildings and infrastructure that makes Dunedin what it is today.
Palmers Concrete was formed in 1947, with ready-mix plants in both Dunedin and Mosgiel. These plants both continued to operate until purchased by Allied Concrete in 1997.
Our company was initially created to service the quarry operation including the crushers, conveyors and bin maintenance along with vehicle servicing and repairs for both the concrete and quarry vehicles.
Over many years these basic services continued to expand to incorporate hydraulic and pneumatic system design and services. This was enhanced when we were appointed the Otago distributor for SMC pneumatics in 1989. In our 20 plus years associated with SMC, they have become New Zealand’s leading pneumatics brand.
In mid-1988 we split the company into 2 divisions, Engineering and Vehicle maintenance. In 1996 we added the Sheetmetal division. In 2001 we added the Industrial Coatings division and finally, in 2004 we split our Engineering Division into 2 areas, Heavy and general Engineering and Process and Instrumentation Engineering which incorporates the hydraulics and pneumatics in addition to speciality engineering.
During 2001 Palmers Mechanical Limited purchased Rhino Linings Otago. Although this product was totally different from our traditional engineering history, we could see where it could be utilised within the customer base we had established and how it could create opportunities for the entire company.
Over 40 years we have gone from a 2-3 person general maintenance workshop servicing 1-2 main clients to a multi-divisional company with 45-50 staff servicing specialized equipment and plant, manufacturing MMU vehicles for international destinations, and servicing hundreds of regular clients with all their engineering requirements.