Bill Buckley, the man behind Buckley Systems

It takes someone special to keep a business at the leading edge of technology for 35 years.

Bill Buckley takes great pride in doing things himself. Seldom seen in a suit and tie, he is more often to be found in coveralls, sorting out problems around his factory.

An engineer by trade, Bill has always thrived on a challenge. Approached by PhD graduate Hilton Glavish in 1976 to build prototypes for his ion implantation designs, he embarked on a journey that has seen Buckley Systems become the world’s leading supplier for particle guiding electromagnets and ultra-high vacuum systems. Being at the very birth of the silicon chip industry and helping solve the many problems involved in bringing theoretical designs to working reality, he gained a deep insight into the physics of particle acceleration.

Never afraid of investing in equipment to achieve his goals, he has bought some of the largest and most sophisticated machining equipment available in order to achieve the precise tolerances required for the industry. Investment continues today with the recent purchase of a DMG Mori DMC 210 machining center.

Not content to lead the world in electromagnets, Bill also used his engineering know-how to take a tilt at the World 500cc motorcycle championship in 1998, putting together a team to design, build and race in this most competitive of sports. Rule changes made before the bike had reached its full potential put paid to the dream but he gained valuable industry exposure from the venture.

With the company landing the electromagnet supply contract for the Australian Synchrotron Light Source, the successful delivery and Exploring new cures for cancer is another passion of Bill’s. Buckley Systems has now made over 1,000 magnets for radiotherapy machines and also magnets for roton and carbon therapies which are regarded as less invasive treatments. Bill is currently working on machines for boron neutron capture therapy (BNCT), an experimental treatment that until recently, has required access implementation of the project has seen Buckley Systems subsequently awarded contracts for the Brookhaven Synchrotron and Taiwan Photon Source projects.

The high pole tip accuracy needed for these projects saw Bill developing innovative manufacturing techniques to meet the demanding specifications. Always on the lookout for fresh challenges Bill also had a shot at highperformance offshore yacht racing as a partner in the 100ft (30 meter) Maxi racing yacht Maximus. The boat with its ground-breaking retractable, canting keel (partly fabricated by Buckley Systems) and rotating carbon-fiber mast (a first for a keel boat), won line honors in the prestigious 2005 Fastnet yacht race. to a nuclear reactor to provide the spectrum of neutrons required. Bill is working on developing a powerful enough accelerator to create neutrons without the associated risks of a reactor.

Bill is also helping research into climate change by co-funding the Glavish-Buckley Chair and Buckley-Glavish Senior Lectureship in climate physics at the University of Auckland. To help young people into engineering careers, Buckley Systems is also establishing one of the largest apprentice training schemes seen in New Zealand. At 73 years old, Bill’s passion for discovering, inventing and helping others still burns brightly and he is certainly not looking to hang up his coveralls just yet.

This piece was reprinted by D-Pace, Inc. from the Buckley Systems Summer 2016 technical bulletin with permission from Buckley Systems Ltd. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.