From a Shipping Container to a Bespoke Solution

Leading shipping container provider Royal Wolf continues to grow its modification division as demand for specialist products increase with more industries using containers to solve business challenges.   

Royal Wolf has been reinventing the humble shipping container for almost 25 years – from explosion proof containers and ice cream factories to worker accommodation units – and production of specialised containers continues to increase as understanding about the versatility of containers grows.     

Paul Creighton, Royal Wolf Executive General Manager New Zealand, says while the company’s core business is the hire and sale of shipping containers its capability is highlighted by the bespoke products it designs to meet a client’s specific needs.

“We have a future-thinking philosophy and coming up with new product ideas as well as innovative solutions for clients is what keeps us at the forefront of the industry,” he says.

Mr Creighton says Royal Wolf has a wide range of standard modified products, including workers sites offices, toilets, and pedestrian walkways, however production of one-off projects or multiple replicas of the same product are increasingly popular.

These types of projects include a pop-up milkshake bar for flavoured milk brand Primo, specially designed dog kennels for the NZ Defence Force, and in Australia Royal Wolf was commissioned by reverse recycling company TOMRA to modify 360 containers to house recycling machines around New South Wales.

“The reverse recycling project showcases Royal Wolf’s expertise and capability to make a large-scale project, with a very tight deadline, happen efficiently and cost effectively. That’s the beauty of containers, they can be modified, replicated, and then deployed quickly and easily.”    

Through Royal Wolf’s Centre of Excellence in Queensland and its Auckland-based modifications workshop the company brings new product ideas to life, improves existing products, and delivers bespoke shipping container products for clients.   

Mr Creighton says an ambitious product such as the company’s Auto Wolf Container, a fully automated pop up box, is an example of a container developed specifically for the hospitality, event and retail sectors.

Royal Wolf’s industry innovation and design expertise was recognised this year at the prestigious Australian Business Awards with its Wolf Lock Safety Container winning New Product Innovation and Technology Innovation awards.  

“Shipping containers are extremely strong and robust, but for a steel box they are also incredibly versatile and provide an ideal base to create a wide range of useful solutions to help support customers and grow their businesses.”

5 key Royal Wolf bespoke container projects:

Reverse Recycling

Royal Wolf partnered with TOMRA, the world's leading provider of reverse vending solutions, for the roll out of the New South Wales government’s Return and Earn scheme which aims to reduce the volume of litter across the state by 40 per cent by 2020.

TOMRA had four months to set up hundreds of sites across the state, with Royal Wolf completing the design work and specially modifying 360 20-foot containers to house TOMRA’s recycling machines to meet the tight deadline.

The modification of these units included installing electrical fittings, ceiling insulation and fitting an awning to provide shelter over the recycling station.

Relocatable Explosive Magazine (REM) container

Essentially a simple storage container, only modified to be extra strong and safe to withstand a blast if explosive materials malfunction or are ignited.

Royal Wolf developed the REM 20 for safety and survival company Survitec Group to store flares, rockets and live ammunition. The company hire the product meaning it was able to reduce the capital outlay of building a purpose-built storage facility.

The 20-foot REM container has 5mm thick steel walls and a 10mm thick steel door with the inside completely lined and insulated with timber.

The Auto Wolf

The AutoWolf is a 20-foot, fully automated container with a powered system to activate a fold down-side while simultaneously deploying an awning.

It was developed from a prototype to a commercially available product with a registered patent and is available on a made-to-order basis. 

The container is an ideal pop-up solution for the retail and events sectors for everything from bars, cafes and ice cream parlours through to clothing stores and performance stages.

Factory in a Can

A 40-foot container, designed for Auckland steel and framework design company FRAMECAD, that houses a high-tech mobile steel framing factory.

Royal Wolf worked closely with FRAMECAD on the design of the container, creating doors at one end and on the side to allow easy access for construction materials and machine operators.    

Inside, a heavy-duty crane was installed on runners to lift weights of up to 2000kg, and a generator powers the factory.  

The innovative mobile concept is used by FRAMECAD to build accommodation in developing countries, or remote locations with little – or no – infrastructure.

Ice Cream Factory container

Modifying a 40-foot container into a portable ice cream factory for Auckland-based business Joy Ice Cream was one of the company’s most challenging and ambitious projects to date.

Royal Wolf worked closely with Auckland architect Frank Tonetti to ensure every component of the container factory was built strictly to food and hygiene specifications and the client’s specialist requirements.

One of the major challenges was building multiple internal rooms in a small area where temperatures range from -22 degrees Celsius in the freezer to around 20 degrees in the main factory room.

Discover More Stories