Taska grasps chances to grow

A fast-growing Christchurch company which pioneered the world’s first prosthetic hand with compliant fingers is using local networks to expand.

Taska Prosthetics has the only waterproof multi-articulating myoelectric hand on the market, invented by engineer Mathew Jury. The device, controlled with electrical signals generated by the wearer’s own muscles, uses patented technology that makes the fingers comply.
“The hand was designed to be functional, as opposed to largely cosmetic, and to stand up to the rigours of everyday life. It has received huge interest because it has delivered on that front,” says chief executive Jamie Cairns. The two-year-old company – which has gone from shipping a few hands at the tail end of 2017 to more than three hundred – exports to Australia and the United States. Europe’s the next big market within reach, with agreements inked to supply Germany and France.

Quality control

With business booming, maintaining product quality has been paramount for the company, which brought assembly in-house last year. “That really paid dividends for us, and we’re now at the point where we are confident our supply capability will scale with demand,” says Jamie. “Although many will say that having too much demand is a good problem to have, the reality is if you don’t fix that relatively quickly, you’ll have much greater long-term issues to deal with.” Taska, which took home three awards at the 2019 Westpac Champion Business Awards, is heavily engaged in new research and development and intends to establish an overseas office close to its major markets. “We are still a relatively new company and need to retain an opportunistic approach to a rapidly shifting industry.”
The company went from 10 staff a year ago to almost 40, with further growth expected over the next year. It is of “huge benefit” to recruit technical staff through Canterbury’s vibrant medtech, engineering and manufacturing ecosystems, says Jamie.

“The business is built by the people working in it, and we have not struggled to get great people. "While being Christchurch-based can sometimes pose problems from a logistics viewpoint, “those challenges can focus the mind on being a little creative with your supply chain,” he says. “Joining The Chamber will allow us to leverage local networks and resource, but also hopefully provide us with the ability to contribute something back to the business community.”