OBO – New Zealand Pioneer in Hockey equipment

September 2019 – When Simon Barnett founded OBO in 1994, he had a very clear goal in mind; to be the best supplier for field hockey goalkeepers by providing such good quality equipment that customers would be able to “almost play a whole new game.” To achieve his big dream, Simon was inspired by three New Zealand pioneers, and if you happen to visit their production facilities in New Zealand that would appear quite clear…

From left:
Sir Apirana Ngata: early leader of the Maori people, youth and art advocate
Sir Edmond Hillary: first person to climb Everest
Kate Sheppard: led the campaign for the vote for Women (NZ was first in the world to obtain women right to vote)

Simon wanted to be a pioneer himself. He started experimenting different materials, listened to the players’ needs, and soon at OBO they were able to produce unprecedented protection products for field hockey, enabling goalkeepers to be and feel protected, outperform their competitors and have more fun!

Today OBO is the leading Hockey equipment supplier in the world, with over 75% market share. OBO strives to be the best in the industry and pays particular attention to the local community and the environment. This reflects on the capital equipment OBO purchase; indeed, they look to buy only the best for their business and the environment.

When Simon found out that water jet technology could have been an asset to his business, he wanted to test proof and witness its capabilities. Between the manufacturers, Simon was attracted by the design of the machines and by Techni’s environmentally friendly Electric Servo Pump. He contacted Techni Waterjet and requested to machine the foam they apply to their equipment. The improvement in cutting quality was very noticeable. The smooth and regular edges left by the water cut, compared to the rough cut of the blade, got OBO to seriously start considering a switch to the new technology. 

Left: water jet cut on foam
Right: blade cut on foam

The cut quality, however, is not the only advantage Techni machines offer. Thanks to proprietary Softec NEST nesting software, we demonstrate how our machine could have allowed OBO to nest more parts per sheet and reduced programming time, saving them thousands of dollars per year. Our nesting software utilizes advanced nesting algorithms developed by Geometric Global which is specifically developed to maximize the production while leaving minimum scrap material.

Techni has another customer close to OBO called Mike Christie Sheetmetal. They have owned a Techni machine for 12 years now and spoke very highly of Techni’s after-sale support. This is what drove Simon to his final decision to purchase a Techni Waterjet system.

Simon said:

“The design of Techni’s product to withstand the harsh waterjet process and Quantum Servo Pump technology to reduce the power requirement is what intrigued us at first. After the test cut and have witnessed the nesting program, we had no doubt it was going to be a perfect fitment in our workshop.”

Simon added:

“Techni and OBO are likeminded companies which share values and goals; we are looking to be the best in what we do, we have a keen eye for the environment, and we both are pioneers in our industries.”


For more information about OBO please visit their website.