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Also in this issue:

Supply chain resilience Manufacturing personalisation Motivation in the workplace

Human resources Outsourcing services Making the most of IT

IP Protection Customer-centricity Delivery


125 February


Editor’s Comment

Editor Libbie Hammond Art Editor/Design David Howard

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Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researchers Laura Thompson Jeff Goldenberg Mark Cowles Tarj D’Silva

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hat is this year going to hold for manufacturers? Certainly challenges – environmental targets, oil prices, increasing demands on technology and successful recruitment are just a few that spring to mind. But also of course, there will be possibilities and opportunities – mergers and acquisitions, embracing new ways of working, finding and exploiting efficiencies, gaining new customers and finding new markets. The UK economy finished 2015 strongly, but as the CBI states, that doesn’t mean there is any room for complacency as significant challenges to global growth remains. I’d love to hear about and share your plans for success this year – get in touch!


Winter 15 / Spring 16

Staff Writers Jo Cooper Andrew Dann Ben Clark


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Also in this issue:

Supply chain resilience Manufacturing personalisation Motivation in the workplace

Human resources Outsourcing services Making the most of IT

IP Protection Customer-centricity Delivery ©2016 Schofield Publishing Ltd Please note: The opinions expressed by contributors and adver tisers within this publication do not necessarily coincide with those of the editor and publisher. Every reasonable effor t is made to ensure that the information published is accurate, but no legal responsibility for loss occasioned by the use of such information can be accepted by the publisher. All rights reserved. The contents of the magazine are strictly copyright, the proper ty of Schofield Publishing, and may not be copied, stored in a retrieval system, or reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. 1


10 Motivation for the future

The advantages of apprenticeships and how they can help to motivate both new employees and existing staff

12 Perfect people

When looking to expand, recruitment is a necessity – but finding the right people at the right time can be an HR challenge

14 The fourth phase

Outsourcing of engineering services is nothing new but the phenomenon has evolved – what is next for the sector?

16 Making the most of IT

How manufacturing businesses can tell if they have outgrown their IT infrastructure

6 Resilient to risk

18 Keeping a secret

Effective intellectual property in an increasingly collaborative world

4 News

Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena

20 Full connection

6 Resilient to risk

The best-prepared companies will strive to make, and keep, their supply chains collaborative and agile

In order for manufacturers to benefit from future technology they must harness the power of an innovative, simple to use and integrated IT system

8 Unlocking creativity

20 Full connection

Personalisation is a new trend manufacturers need to contend with and enterprise content management can help deliver it

12 Perfect people 18 Keeping a secret

22 Sixty minutes

The technology exists to make one hour delivery happen, which means it is only a matter of time before it exists

24 How to keep your customers 8 Unlocking creativity


How to be more customer-centric and the importance of putting the customer at the heart of what you do


Profiles 28 Mini Gears

32 Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd

167 rational einbauk端chen

164 Lawrence David 167 rational einbauk端chen 170 AAF International

34 EWS Ltd

172 Continental Corporation

36 Toolspec Manufacturing Company

174 Dinex AS 176 Zollern

39 Cooper Coated Coil

178 Alterever

42 Kentec Electronics

180 Pailton Engineering Ltd

47 Gooch & Housego

182 Bosch

50 Tetronics International

184 Luxfer Gas Cylinders

55 Aqualisa

186 Lambert Engineering

60 Elddis 64 James Dewhurst Ltd

118 UK Leather Federation

67 Husqvarna Group

121 Voith Industrial Services UK

74 Wax Lyrical

128 Reifen Hinghaus

78 SML 131 Ardagh Group 134 Nortek Global HVAC Maschinengesellschaft Belgium NV 82 Engro Polymer & 137 Rocialle Chemicals

189 BAE Systems 192 EWAG 194 Alsico NV

189 BAE Systems

86 MAJA-M旦belwerk

140 Hillarys

89 Mainetti (UK)

144 Clarehill Plastics

93 Ontex

148 Hydroline

96 Amaray

151 Joseph Clayton & Sons

99 Bema Kunstsoffen

154 Tech Tube Ltd

102 Rotpunkt K端chen

156 Filtermist International

107 Swift Group

158 Dura Beds

112 J. Rotherham

160 Palomat

115 Recor

162 Ekamant AB

144 Clarehill Plastics

74 Wax Lyrical

118 UK Leather Federation 3

Precision probes in action

Vision becomes reality December 2015 saw the completion of Factory 2050, also dubbed the reconfigurable factory. Around half a mile from the Advanced Manufacturing Park, Factory 2050 is the first project on the planned 50 acre University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Campus 2 at Sheffield Business Park, and will be the UK’s first fully reconfigurable assembly and component manufacturing facility for collaborative research, capable of rapidly switching production between different high-value components and one-off parts. When Bond Bryan Architects won this project in summer 2013 the brief and dream was to design a circular factory; a concept first created for the AMRC in 2005, but not achievable at that time due to budget and programme restraints. With its fully glazed elevations and circular plan the building features a core of open plan working, meeting rooms, lifts and stairs at its heart. Principal designer and Director at Bond Bryan, Darren Southgate commented: “The idea of linking the core visually, without walls and being part of the ‘workspace donut’ were always leading design principles. It is a human need to be associated or close to activities that link thinking and doing; the days of disappearing into cellular offices away from the production environment have been replaced by hands on doing and reporting; them and us is no longer. The need for quiet space hasn’t gone but it is shared through multifunctional collaborative spaces.”

Touch probes are exactly what the name says, probes. If the stylus touches the workpiece surface, a switch signal is generated. There are a wide variety of probing systems available; and at MACH 2016 on Stand 5750, Blum Novotest will differentiate what exactly makes Blum touch probes the benchmark of the industry. MACH is the largest manufacturing technologies event in the UK, attracting in the region of 600 exhibitors and more than 23,000 visitors. Taking place 11-15 April 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham, the biennial exhibition brings together the latest developments and best innovations. AT MACH, Blum will introduce its latest RG 2.0 software that now allows parameters such as waviness, skew or contact area ratio to be presented for the measured surface in addition to the calculated roughness values. This system can now be integrated with the DIGILOG software in machining centre control systems. This now enables customer-specific signal analyses to be performed for route-based measurement. It allows form and surface defects to be logged as well as lengths and angles of the measured surface.

Exciting event plans In a recent even hosted in London, the organisers of Safety & Health Expo revealed a host of new features and key topics that will be covered at the event in June this year. 2016 will see plenty of new initiatives including the expansion of the safety and health workwear and PPE offering with the inclusion of the Professional Clothing Show for the first time. Networking will play a more prominent role in 2016, and following the huge success of the Women in Health and Safety network that launched in 2015, Safety & Health Expo will be hosting a 1000 woman event drawing in groups from the health and safety network and Women in Facilities Management, as well as other prominent women’s networking groups. Additionally, in 2016 Safety & Health Expo will launch a dedicated zone for those looking for assistance with career development, the zone will host clinics, advice on apprenticeships and recruitments specialists will be on hand to guide any questions around how to make that next step on the career ladder.


Enhanced capability Morgan Advanced Materials now has the capability to carry out digital prototyping at its Technical Ceramics facilities, maximising its design capability and providing more rigorous evaluation during development projects, particularly for brazed assemblies. Morgan has acquired high-specification software that will enable it to perform stress and thermal analyses on existing and prototype designs for a variety of demanding applications. The introduction of digital modelling has had a tremendous impact on new product introductions and development, enabling Morgan’s Technical Ceramics business to refine designs of its brazed assemblies more easily. Specific benefits seen by the customer include more ‘right first time’ manufacture – getting products to the customer sooner, and lower associated design costs reducing cost to the customer at the start of the process. Oliver Ridd of Morgan Advanced Materials explained: “A significant portion of the products that we supply are used in critical applications and we need to develop robust, integrative designs to meet customers’ ever-demanding specifications. Digital prototyping represents an important step forward for us in our design process; we can now accurately model how a particular material will react under certain conditions and minimise residual stresses in our designs within the shortest possible timeframe. This capability gives us a competitive advantage and leaves us well placed to solve our customers’ biggest design challenges.”


2016: tough decisions ahead

UK manufacturers expect 2016 to be a year of tough decisions and more prominent risks, according to this year’s annual EEF/Aldermore Executive Survey. Faltering confidence is expected to continue into 2016 as manufacturers contend with the ongoing global economic hangover from 2015 and a landscape where opportunities are outweighed by risks. While almost a quarter of companies see more opportunity than risk in the year ahead, they are outstripped by the 44 per cent of manufacturers who see more risks. This pessimistic view is shared across sectors and is particularly strong amongst larger companies. Global economic volatility is a key driver, with manufacturers identifying significant movements in exchange rates (42 per cent), economic volatility in a major market (36 per cent) and uncertainty around the UK’s place in the EU (36 per cent) as the top risks they face this year. At the same time, over a third of manufacturers (36 per cent) see upward pressure on business costs as a possible risk to growth in 2016, with pressure expected to come from a range of sources. This adds up to another year of concern for manufacturers - four in ten (40 per cent) expect to see global economic conditions deteriorate further in 2016, while just 23 per cent expect conditions to improve. They are, however, more positive about conditions closer to home - a third say an improvement in industry (33 per cent) and UK economic conditions (32 per cent) is on the cards, outweighing those expecting conditions to take a turn for the worse. Despite this, expectations are still substantially lower than at the start of 2014. This has led to the UK losing some of its gloss, with the number of manufacturers viewing it as a competitive location for manufacturing falling from 70 per cent last year to 56 per cent this year. However, the survey does contain some good news. Despite the headwinds, over half of manufacturers (55 per cent) expect to increase productivity, while over four in ten expect to boost UK sales (43 per cent) and export sales (43 per cent). To support growth, their main focus will be on increasing investment in technology and innovation (41 per cent), selling into new export markets (39 per cent) and collaborating with customers and suppliers to ensure supply chain flexibility (37 per cent). But, while proactively planning to help shield themselves from the impact of economic factors and to deliver growth, it’s also clear that manufacturers are aware that tough conditions can mean tough decisions. As a result, organisational changes (35 per cent), workforce restructuring (34 per cent) and ‘across the board’ cost-cutting (31 per cent) all feature on manufacturers’ list of company priorities for the year ahead. The full report can be viewed at:

Best Factory Award win Oxfordshire-based Siemens Magnet Technology recently won the overall Factory of the Year 2015 prize at the Best Factory Awards in London. The company also scooped the People & Skills Development Award as well as Best Engineering Plant Award. Operations Manager, Frazer Mackay firmly believes that Lean working gave the company the edge over its competitors on the night! To win the Factory of the Year award, the company had to demonstrate improved performance across the board; reducing lead times, improving productivity and delivering outstanding product innovation. Siemens designed and manufactured the ultra-light magnet at the heart of a revolutionary MRI scanner and this was all made possible by a major redevelopment of the plant’s entire manufacturing area. To help with this, Mackay called upon the services of Gosport-based Lean business specialists, Fedden USP who, in partnership with MIT Skills, has been undertaking the LEAN Business Improvement Techniques (BITS) NVQ Level 2 and 3 programmes at the factory over the last four years. Over 200 (>95 per cent) of the employees on the shop floor volunteered to be trained in NVQ Level 2, Level 3 or a one-day lean appreciation course. This learning is backed up by the company’s structured approach called Lean Improvement Projects, which ensures that everyone’s training is applied on a routine basis. The results of Lean working in 2014 speak for themselves: 268 ideas from employees were implemented, yielding more than £1.3m in operational savings and more than 11,900 production hours saved. Mackay added: “Embedding and thinking lean in our daily working lives required a cultural shift and throughout our journey we have been fortunate to work in partnership with Neil Fedden and the team at Fedden USP and MIT Skills, who understand our specific demands and tailored the training accordingly. We already have a cohort of trainees lined up for the next NVQ2 and NVQ3 courses and through Fedden USP have now started to deliver training in the offices.”

Lean delegates at Siemens Magnet Technology with John Laister, Director of Manufacturing at Siemens Magnet Technology and Neil Fedden (second from the right of the picture.) 5

Resilient to


When disaster strikes, strength in supplier networks helps businesses take action. By Kurt Cavano

The financial turmoil in Greece will have caused businesses reliant on Greece’s exporting community to assess their level of exposure and, in some cases, look to alternative sources to counteract the risk of an impact on supply


nforeseen events can have a devastating impact on supply chains, sending companies into a spin as they work to keep production going and supplies moving in the face of difficult circumstances. Disruptive events come in many forms. The financial turmoil in Greece will have caused businesses reliant on Greece’s exporting community to assess their level of exposure and, in some cases, look to alternative sources to counteract the risk of an impact on supply. The devastating explosion in the Chinese port of Tianjin resulted in goods lost and frozen shipping. Faced with such disasters that throw supply chains into disarray, companies scramble to assess impact, replace supplies and re-route, often at considerable cost. Companies understand the risks around supply chain disruption and put time, effort and resource into plans to assure supply in the face of a crisis. Unfortunately, the exact nature of a disaster is impossible to predict and, in the event of one occurring managing the problem isn’t always as slick as businesses would like. It often comes down to shuffling papers, scouring Excel spreadsheets and calling trading partners one by one in an effort to determine the best course of action. Through this process, business leaders often discover that an accurate view of current inventory, production, and availability of alternative transportation providers and suppliers is hard to come by quickly. The cost of such a reactive approach to disaster can be greater than the potential lost revenue. The most effective mitigation against supply chain risk is to have a supply chain management system and processes that allow businesses to be agile, transparent and collaborative when working with trading partners and service providers. As well as understanding the processes in their own plants, manufacturers need to understand all the processes that their outsourced manufacturers and suppliers go through if they are to have a predictable outcome of supply. A starting point when considering how to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruption is to consider the following points: 1. Get networked – companies are interdependent on their partners, suppliers and customers. Those with the most connected and informed network will have the most effective contingency plan and lose


Supply chain

Kurt Cavano Kurt Cavano is founder and chief strategy officer at GT Nexus. GT Nexus, an Infor company, operates the world’s largest cloud-based business network and execution platform for global trade and supply chain management. Over 25,000 businesses across industry verticals, including adidas Group, Caterpillar, Columbia Sportswear, DHL, Levi Strauss & Co. and Sears share GT Nexus as their standard, multi-enterprise collaboration platform.

the least from disruption. Cloud technology can optimise the way this network functions. Often vast and international, supply chains where partners pool their data gain the benefit of all parties being updated on changes, progress and events in real-time. Through a cloud platform a company can handle supply chain disasters by executing its plan with the help of others on the network. 2. Collaborate for greater visibility – in the past, companies relied on in-house legacy software to store information about their supply chains. However, these systems were not designed to manage data outside the four walls of a single company. One of the most important factors today in dealing with supply chain risk is the ability to share information collaboratively with outside partners. Tapping into a common, unified source of information, a company can make quick decisions when the pressure is on – having information in the right format, at the right time is central to making the best decisions for the benefit of the business. 3. Keep communicating – supply chain risk mitigation starts well before disaster hits. It’s

true that each disaster is different and required actions and solutions are likely to be different each time too, but there’s still no excuse for not thinking ahead and preparing. Plans will have limited benefit if they’re contained intra-company. Prepared companies know this, and communicate with their supply chain partners on potential risks and contingency plans. A company looking to strengthen its planning process should begin by assessing its environment and addressing possible threats to supply chain excellence well before a disaster strikes. 4. Assess suppliers with contingency in mind – in the procurement phase companies have a chance to evaluate possible providers based on different scenarios and should assess pricing and routes in the context of a possible major disruption. While a bid typically asks for prices from carriers based on estimated demand and allocation, those numbers won’t be sufficient to create a contingency plan. Companies that run complex ‘what-if ’ scenarios can decide if a seemingly low-cost carrier is worth it under more precarious circumstances. 5. Continuous assessment to keep

improving – best practice dictates that partner performance levels should be continuously monitored and evaluated – this allows for a continually improved supply chain and a strong network of vetted partners to provide support when it’s needed the most. Supply chain disruptions are unavoidable – but the operational and financial havoc wreaked by them needn’t be. Companies that make technology work for them stand the best chance of being prepared to deal with supply chain risk. Globalisation and the concept of a lean supply chain exposes companies to more risk from major disasters than ever, so businesses are searching for the most effective way of planning for, and acting on, problems when they arise. The price they can pay for not doing so is a heavy one – their reputation and bottom line. Natural disasters, extreme weather, political conflict, sudden demand shocks and export/import restrictions will continue to test those in the supply chain business. The bestprepared companies will strive to make, and keep, their supply chain collaborative and agile, and therefore more resilient to risk. n 7



According to Tim Rushent the latest digital revolution is personal – and it’s coming to manufacturing

Of the internet retailers, Amazon in particular has mastered the new game, with four out of five UK consumers believing that no company offers the same levels of web-personalisation as the American books-to-beds retailer



he digital revolution that has swept retail over the last decade – making fortunes for the innovative and adaptable but consigning others to history – is coming to manufacturing, and it looks like being just as disruptive. Personalisation is the new trend, and it can offer a huge sales boost while simultaneously helping to make processes more efficient. To understand the challenge it is worth considering internet shopping, which has rapidly moved from being essentially a cheap catalogue system to one that harnesses vast quantities of data so it can rapidly adapt to customer needs and trends. In its latest phase this strategy has evolved further, with increasingly large amounts of information on each individual customer being built up and used to offer unprecedented levels of personalised service. Despite concerns over privacy, the system is popular with consumers: In a recent survey that underscores the potential impact of the strategy for manufacturers, 62 per cent of shoppers said they dig deeper into their pockets when the retail experience is personalised. And personalisation is not only relevant to consumer-facing industries – it also allows far more integrated and accountable products to be offered to business customers, too, as they in turn expect their specific demands to be met. Of the internet retailers, Amazon in particular has mastered the new game, with four out of five UK consumers believing that no company offers the same levels of web-personalisation as the American books-to-beds retailer. Amazon is also able to leverage its unprecedented knowledge of individual customers to work with third party suppliers, connecting restaurants and entertainment venues with people of the right demographic, in the right geographical area, and tailoring offers to their spending power and habits. Such an approach necessitates taking control of the data flowing back from consumers and managing it effectively. For manufacturers, it may be an even more complicated process than it is for internet retailers, as the data must be made available to managers, designers and sales staff throughout the

Manufacturing personalisation

If a firm hasn’t already, it should embrace full digitisation and introduce ECM: digitisation means the information can be harnessed, and ECM allows it to be used strategically

production system, and inputs from each must be passed on to others. However, this can be achieved by using an enterprise content management (ECM) system that will also help executives spot and tackle inefficiencies and bottlenecks. Already manufacturers in the low-volume highmargin bracket are embracing personalisation. Premium automotive is leading the way. Marques like BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are responding to demand by offering vehicles that integrate with their customers’ tablets and phones. Not only can every last detail of a new car be chosen by the buyer, but sales departments are working closely with technical departments to devise new features with which to enthuse customers. Thus, manufacturing operations see customer feedback integrated into the design process, so that a new product resembles as closely as possible the desires of the consumer. The automotive industry has therefore come full circle since Henry Ford’s pioneering mass production system of the early twentieth century, which was based on the premise of that every single car that rolled off

his assembly line was identical, and famously, the same colour. The dramatic changes that are putting premium carmakers through their paces will be felt across global manufacturing within the next two to four years. Where premium products have gone, higher-volume lower-margin products are set to follow. In particular, those offering consumer goods to the growing global market of middle class, tech-savvy buyers look likely to benefit from a more personalised approach. Not only do consumers expect it, but also personalisation can allow ambitious smaller firms to gain market share from bigger incumbents without the need for expensive and risky advertising campaigns. For example, mobile phone manufacturers could use personalisation to challenge Apple’s minimalist, Henry Ford-esque dominance at the top of the value chain. Apparel makers may abandon their traditional seasonal ranges and opt for a more responsive approach, tailoring new lines to the latest craze and making garments compatible with a variety of electronic devices. The process involved in adapting a manufacturing operation so that it is capable of personalisation is relatively risk free, as it is also beneficial to the wider operation and a likely part of eventual modernisation. The necessary customer data is almost certainly already available but lying idle. If a firm hasn’t already, it should embrace full digitisation and introduce ECM: digitisation means the information can be harnessed, and ECM allows it to be used strategically. In order to take a true end-to-end view of how it delivers its products, a company must develop a structure that allows its departments to be tightly joined together. Technology needs can no longer be dictated or even solely provided by internal IT departments. Instead, sophisticated systems will ensure seamless sharing of the vast volumes of data needed to stay up-to date with the demands of sales departments and ultimately consumers. The benefits of such an effective data platform can also be extended up and down the supply chain. A manufacturer can look at the weaknesses in its current processes and use the system to solve the problems that are creating bottlenecks and slowing the flow of information and goods. It may

be that design teams are wasting time looking for information, or that specific components are not reaching the relevant part of the production line fast enough after changes are made. Perhaps prototypes are not working as well as they should, or feedback on them is lacking. ECM systems can be targeted at the source of inefficiencies and allow solutions to be found by taking charge of the flow of information. At the same time, a purely digital document trail reduces the need for manual intervention and, therefore, the number of errors. And by bringing previously unmanageable data under a single system that is easy to access by all those who need to, it allows a better strategic overview of all processes, making the organisation nimble enough to adapt to the pace of client demand. The implementation of ECM can be swift and need not be disruptive: a system can – and should - be installed within days and fully rolled out to the workforce within weeks. And it does not force a new IT on anyone: it works with existing programmes and applications with which staff are already familiar. Indeed, it can bring works processes onto devices such as tablets and smartphones and ensure managers and other key staff can see and react to changes instantly, wherever they are. The key aspect of both personalisation and ECM is that they unlock the creativity inherent in a manufacturing firm. Because it links many existing processes and allows much more effective internal communication, staff will adapt a new system to their needs and discover new opportunities for the organisation as a whole. Meanwhile, the firm will also be able to adapt to the even greater creative forces of the wider market and ever more demanding clients and consumers. v

Tim Rushent Tim Rushent is director, industry and commerce, with Hyland, creator of OnBase. Hyland is a leading global developer of flexible and comprehensive enterprise content (ECM) products. OnBase helps organisations manage documents and data to streamline business operations. Integrating with everyday business applications, OnBase provides instant access to critical information, wherever, whenever. 9

Motivation for the


Rachael Fidler discusses the advantages Apprenticeships offer businesses and explains the framework they provide for the development of staff at all levels of an organisation


egardless of the size or your organisation, or the sector you operate in, continuous improvement in efficiency, productivity and employee engagement is critical to success. One of the most effective ways of attracting, harnessing and motivating talent to improve business performance is through initial training and continuous development of staff at every level of the organisation. The Apprenticeship Framework provides the perfect model to recruit and train new staff and offers a structured, accredited career pathway for the existing workforce. The business benefits of improving knowledge, skills, confidence of individuals through the Apprenticeship programme include:


Motivated workforce

•Cost effective recruitment •Development of a well-trained, well- motivated workforce

•Help with the costs of training •Increased productivity through better trained staff Improved business performance The opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to staff development Great way of giving responsibility to members of staff to mentor new trainees

• • •

Earlier this year, the Government gave their commitment to Apprenticeships by setting an ambitious target to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020. In the 2015 Summer Budget the Government set out plans to introduce a levy on large employers to create a fund supporting apprenticeships however, much of this detail has yet to be finalised and the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) in the autumn will determine the allocation of funds for the delivery of Further Education and skills in England. For some time now employers from every industry have been participating in groups known as ‘Trailblazers’ working alongside awarding bodies and training providers to review the Apprenticeship standards and assessment methods in their sector to ensure levels, content and outcomes are matched to the needs of employers. New funding approaches are currently being trialled for the updated Apprenticeship Frameworks giving employers greater control over spending on training delivery.

So what is an Apprenticeship? An apprenticeship is a real job – with training – where the Apprentice achieves a set of qualifications including a competency based qualification (formerly an NVQ), a technical certificate to prove their knowledge, and other skills including Maths, English and ICT. Apprenticeships are available at different levels: Intermediate Apprenticeship (Level 2) Advanced Apprenticeship (Level 3) Higher Apprenticeship (Levels 4 -7)

• • •

The majority of people embark on an Intermediate Apprenticeship before progressing to an Advanced Apprenticeships that are linked to the skills and knowledge required to progress to the next level of the organisation such as supervisor or manager. Higher Apprenticeships offer a great alternative to further and higher education to develop the skills needed in more senior roles. Statistics from the National Apprenticeship Service show that 80 per cent of employers say that their apprentices make their workplace more productive and 92 per cent of organisations believe apprenticeships lead to a more motivated

and satisfied workforce. No wonder that an increasing number of businesses are offering apprenticeships. Whilst an apprenticeship enables staff to develop and meet or exceed a set of clear standards, Apprenticeships are a long-term commitment which require finance and time. On average an apprenticeship programme takes between 12–18 months, enabling participants to develop their knowledge, competence, literacy, numeracy and ICT skills relevant to the needs of the sector and individual business. However, using the apprenticeship framework to design and deliver a matrix of training and development, which is delivered in the workplace will provide organisations with a practical solution to increase their employees’ skills, knowledge, commitment and motivation. Introducing this structure also leads to improved performance and assists succession planning ensuring operational effectiveness within budget restraints. In addition staff become more motivated as they receive nationally recognised qualifications providing them with improved career prospects and job satisfaction.

that meets expected outcomes

•Regular meetings with you and each learner

to review progress, provide training, support and feedback on achievements Training Consultants who set high professional standards, are committed to the promotion of learning and are competent and well qualified in their subject/vocational area Opportunities for learners and employers to give feedback on the training and services provided A safe, healthy, inclusive environment, which complies with Health & Safety regulations. n

• •

Establishing a successful Apprenticeship programme… As the employer you play a vital role in ensuring the Apprenticeship programme is successful by supporting learners throughout their training, providing required assessment opportunities and giving feedback to the training provider on the teaching, learning and assessment process to ensure the programme is reviewed regularly in relation to existing and emerging needs. The first step in introducing apprenticeships in your organisation is to make contact with your local training providers. Choose one that offers free organisational/training needs analysis to identify your training requirements. They will then work with you to determine the provision that will meet your requirements. Next, sector experienced staff will help recruit new apprentices and design flexible training which meet the needs of your business, new staff and the existing workforce. As part of this, qualified trainers will identify the support needs of individual learners and workplace mentors, providing resources and additional support to ensure the aims and objectives of each Apprenticeship are achieved. The Apprenticeship starts with a comprehensive induction programme to explain essential information to both you and your learners. From that point onwards the training organisation should deliver: High quality training which takes into account individual needs and abilities, specific job skills, occupational competencies and the demands of the working environment A well-managed and co-ordinated course

• •

Southampton company Vanguard Fixings Limited introduced Apprenticeships in 2011. Here Aoife O’Neill, Director explains the benefits Apprenticeships has had on the business. “Choosing the apprenticeship training programme has provided a wealth of benefits to the organisation. It has given us the opportunity to tap into the youthful enthusiasm and to train these new employees in our working techniques to perform in the work place; without previous habits intervening. Their fresh initiative and willingness to work and impress at such a young age has also inspired senior staff members at our company. We can definitely say that the apprenticeship scheme has added massively to our working team and we would recommend it to any employer.”

Rachael Fidler Rachael Fidler is Managing Director, HTP Training. HTP Training has become one of the leading work based training providers in the country. It specialises in working with business leaders from a wide range of sectors to develop their staff, achieve business goals and access Government funding. In addition to providing Traineeships and Apprenticeships it offers a full range of vocational training programmes and short, intensive courses to meet it clients’ needs. 11


people Recruiting at a time of market change. By Andrew Forrest

When faced with a market change that requires an expansion in headcount it is important for organisations to have in place recruiters who are well versed in employment practice to ensure fair processes are followed that are compliant with employment law


ometimes expansion in the manufacturing sector can take a business by surprise – a market changes and suddenly demand can shift. Therefore businesses in this sector have to ensure they are as flexible as possible and able to accommodate these changes, which may require the hiring of new staff at short notice. Good personnel or HR management in terms of recruitment has always been based upon getting the right person with the right skills into the right job at both the right time and at the right cost. Whilst it is often difficult to obtain the ‘right’ candidate when recruiting for one post, the difficulties are multiplied seven fold when the recruitment exercise requires numerous appointments. When faced with a market change that requires an expansion in headcount it is important for organisations to have in place recruiters who are well versed in employment practice to ensure fair processes are followed that are compliant with employment law. This is to avoid accusations of discrimination on the basis of ‘protected characteristics’ such as sex, race, age, disability etc., which can be costly in terms of reputation damage, time taken in dealing with such claims and subsequent Tribunal awards if a defence were to go wrong. A good recruiter should understand the task in hand, be able to draft accurate job descriptions and person specifications and have the connections and infrastructure in place to ensure that the right people can be sourced within the necessary timeframe.

Agency workers option In times of skill shortage or tight time constraints recruitment can prove an extremely challenging task and manufacturers may need to utilise the option of using Agency Workers as a quick fix until the ideal candidate(s) may be located. It may be however that a company is content to use the Agency Worker route as a means to an end with good workers progressing from being temporary to permanent


Human Resources employees over the passage of time. Indeed many organisations use time spent on temporary placement as an elongated form of probation.

Immigration considerations Geography once resulted in local workers obtaining local jobs. The global economy has resulted in the greater mobility of labour within both the UK and wider European community where nationals of the European Economic Area are at liberty to benefit from the ‘free market’. To attract workers manufacturers need to have cognizance of the ‘going rate’ in terms of pay for certain skills and the benefits such as relocation allowances. Should ‘acute’ skill shortages require nets to be cast further afield for the recruitment of nationals outside of the EEA then strict adherence must be given to Immigration legislation. The UK government is set on ensuring that no jobs that could be done by an unemployed British worker are given to a migrant worker in preference. For this reason, an employer may only take migrant workers to fill a position that cannot be filled by the local workforce, either because it is listed on what is known as the ‘Shortage Occupation List’ (the SOL) or because the employer has advertised the job for a certain length of time and has received no suitable responses (this process is known as the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)). The shortage occupation list can be downloaded from the UK Visas and Immigration website: https://www. Any person who does not come from an EEA country or from one for whom there are exemptions must have Home Office Approval. This approval is granted by the issuing of a visa under one of the tiers of the UK points-based system. Applying to employ someone under the tier system is a three-stage process in which the employer must: • Apply for a ‘sponsor licence’; • Submit the potential employee to a “points based assessment”; and • Gain approval from the Home Office and then issue the prospective employee with a sponsorship certificate to accompany their own application for a visa. The tier system classifies the types of work that are beneficial to the UK economy. Migrant workers who can fulfil the criteria for any of these tiers can apply to live and work in the UK. If they are successful, they will be given a visa to enable them to carry out the work specified for a limited time. Most migrant workers are employed in the UK under Tier 2 (General). The

time taken to comply with the legislation can result in delays to the recruitment process.

Social media The advent of social media has provided employers with a new platform to locate a potential workforce. Adverts in newspapers and magazines may still play their part in the recruitment process but it is the internet, Linked In, Facebook and Twitter which in recent years has attracted the attention of those more savvy with information technology. It is here that the employer must exercise caution in advertising roles. A job advert should attract worthy candidates whilst at the same time act as a deterrent to those who may not have the skill sets and attributes being sought. Whilst it is nice for many to wish to work for a company equally it can be time consuming to trawl through numerous unnecessary applications.

Selection The long and short listing process should be free of discriminatory practice with those selecting adhering to criteria, which can be objectively justified. This is particularly important in a largescale recruitment exercise where applicants may be rejected on the narrowest of margins. It is good practice therefore to have staff trained in their roles, to understand and to adhere to a company’s equality and ethics policies and to undertake a validation exercise to ensure that good practice is being adhered to. When operating to tight time scales it is essential that the recruiter adopts a right first time approach, this to ensure that the best candidates are selected in terms of skills, knowledge, ability and, fit. There are numerous methods of selection that can be undertaken ranging from psychometric testing to interviews. Interviews are by their very nature subjective and time should be spent pre and post interview in determining the questions and what scoring should be awarded for answers received. Applicants with disabilities are protected by the law and care should be taken to avoid discriminatory practice. Applicants should be offered employment based on their merits and if it is believed that a mental or physical impairment may impact upon a person’s ability to undertake the role and place the job seeker at a substantial disadvantage then offers made should be subject to medical examination by Occupational Health to see what reasonable adjustments can be made. Reasonable adjustments may also be required to assist a disabled applicant during the actual recruitment process, the adjustments are not solely linked to access to premises etc. Some application processes may involve assessment tests or interviews. These processes should not

unreasonably disadvantage disabled people. Care should also be taken in recruitment exercises that potential employees are in fact free to join the organisation. Some applicants may have post termination restrictions in their contract that prevent them from working for a competitor of the organisation they work(ed) for prior to termination. Such covenants can be legally enforceable and the recruitment of a person into a position in breach of such a restriction may result in a damages claim against the company or alternatively to avoid a breach, a delay before the person can be employed in the role. The advice in this situation would be to seek legal opinion before any job offer is made. Recruiters also need to be aware of notice clauses in existing contracts as prospective employees may be contractually bound to their outgoing employer for periods in excess of the time frames the recruiting organisation is working to.

Induction Whether recruiting from within the UK or overseas nationals the employer needs to give thought to induction and in particular health and safety. It is essential that workers understand the risk of workplace hazards and how to operate safe systems of work using the correct PPE. Signage is a recognised method of overcoming language barriers that may exist. Induction and probation also enables the employer to have a closer scrutiny of new employees and to take action to address matters if a wrong choice has been made. v

Andrew Forrest Andrew Forrest is Associate in the Employment, Pensions and Immigration team at Weightmans LLP, a top 40 law firm with over 1300 people across offices in Birmingham, Dartford, Glasgow, Knutsford, Leicester, Liverpool, Leeds, London and Manchester. Weightmans is dedicated to providing results for its clients and success for its people. 13

The fourth


Richard Welford takes a look at the evolution of Engineering Service Outsourcing

It is important to consider the market dynamics for most of this century; a period of unprecedented global population growth, rapidly maturing emerging markets, technology evolving faster and technology adoption rates accelerating, product development cycles being compressed, and an increasing trend towards personalisation and customisation



very year over $300 billion is spent on outsourced engineering services and that figure is estimated to be growing three to four times faster than the rate of total spend on engineering. Engineering Service Providers (ESPs) are becoming an integral part of manufacturers’ business plans. But, why is outsourcing growing faster than the in-house equivalent investments? To understand this phenomenon, it is important to reflect on the way in which the Engineering Service Outsourcing (ESO) market has evolved, and how ESPs have become more than just suppliers of additional capacity. The outsourcing of engineering services is nothing new. Some Western service providers are now familiar household names that have been in existence for a very long time. However, these service providers were typically specialist in nature, and the ESO market as we know it today, particularly the industry better described as Global ESO, has really only been in place for the past 30 years or so. Traditionally, ESO was used as a means to manage overspill, a tactical response to insufficient heads – otherwise known as Staff Augmentation. Often through local suppliers, and dominated by contract agencies, companies would look outside to locate specific skills, retaining named heads on a time and materials model to address short term resource gaps. The advent of IT offshoring raised awareness of the potential to further augment those gaps by using a global talent pool, providing access to scale with the additional benefit of low rates. The nature of the work outsourced was, however, basic in nature; documentation, 2D to 3D remastering, and simple finite element analysis. But, ESPs began progressively investing in their capabilities and, for those early adopters of global outsourcing, it became possible to move ESP suppliers progressively up the value chain, outsourcing increasing complex work. As competence, and confidence in the ESPs grew, the next phase of global outsourcing was born – as we moved towards the ‘noughties’, a movement from Staff Augmentation to Capacity Augmentation was occurring. Capacity

Outsourcing engineering services

Augmentation introduced the potential for outsourcing to move from headcount to outcome based models; still relatively straightforward engineering activity, but now including workpackages and services structured around the provision of repeatable engineering processes. However, the core of product development was still closely guarded and considered unsuitable for outsourcing. It is important to consider the market dynamics for most of this century; a period of unprecedented global population growth, rapidly maturing emerging markets, technology evolving faster and technology adoption rates accelerating, product development cycles being compressed, and an increasing trend towards personalisation and customisation. The world was wanting more than ever, faster than ever, and better than ever before. At the same time decades of neglect regarding the provision and development of critical STEM skills had created a skills crisis, especially in the West, that was beginning to starve product development companies of the very competences they needed to address the scale and pace of demand. Estimates for the UK alone currently put the gap between supply and demand at around one million additional level three and four engineers and technicians required by the end of this decade. Enter the third major phase of global ESO – Strategic Outsourcing. Product Development businesses, driven by increasing pressure for cost reduction and shorter development lifecycles, needed help with reduction of time to market, acceleration of the product development process, entry into new markets and control of operating expenses. It was necessary to challenge the traditional protection of product development,

and to overcome any fears of Intellectual Property (IP) leakage. Our own studies, supported by the data from many other reputable consulting sources, have demonstrated that between 70 to 80 per cent of all engineering activities are generic in nature. The balance (20 – 30 per cent) addresses domain specifics and, very importantly, the real IP that differentiates one customer’s product from another. We refer to these two distinct groups as Non-Core vs Core. Using diagnostic methodologies it is possible to make visible these two groups and therefore architect an outsourcing strategy that protects a customer’s sensitive IP. Furthermore, that strategy can also be architected such that it makes possible effective deliverables based contracts and shared services models. Inevitably this approach leads to Core work being managed in-house, and Non-Core work being outsourced. As such the ESP becomes more than simply a supplier – the ESP has now become a partner, and the success of both organisations are entwined. In many cases strategic outsourcing has evolved to such an extent that whole domains can be outsourced, or even complete product development; as demonstrated by Tata Technologies’ own automotive and industrial machinery vehicle programmes, the ESP can help accelerate product plan ambitions and capture market share. The ESP market has taken this increasing responsibility very seriously, building dedicated facilities, continuing the progressive development of competences, acquiring new competences to address their client’s changing demands, and increasing scale through organic and inorganic means. The onshore component of the model now provides crucial client intimacy and expertise to manage complex product development

programmes, with offshore providing access to a global talent pool at scale. Such is the evolution of the ESP that the enlightened customer now recognises that the benefits of a longer term, strategic engineering partnerships extend beyond simply performing what used to be performed in-house. Particularly in the case of those ESPs that address multiple industries, clients can enjoy a level of industry and cross industry best practice, cross industry fertilisation of solutions, world-class Product Development Life-Cycle (PDLC) practices and best-in-class quality systems, at a level that would be unrealistic to build or sustain in-house. The value of the ESP therefore has extended beyond the Capacity to Create, to include the Process to Create, and expertise in the advanced manufacturing systems that enable benefits across the Connected Enterprise. Both market conditions and the determined evolution of ESPs have therefore worked together to support the growth in the ESO market. The demands that have led to the rise of the Engineering Services Outsourcing sector are not subsiding and the pressure on manufacturers is increasing. What therefore is next for the sector? The answer to that question is already apparent. As engineering moves from traditional in-house and supply chain sources to the new ESP value chain, the fourth phase of ESO – the Strategic Innovation Partner – is placing an inevitable demand on ESPs to share the burden of innovation and IP creation. The ESPs that will continue to grow will be those that are able to create differentiated IP for themselves or drive product innovation on behalf of their customers. v

Richard Welford Richard Welford is Chief Strategy Officer at Tata Technologies. Tata Technologies is a global engineering services firm that provides product development, product lifecycle management, and enterprise resource planning products and services for companies across the manufacturing sector. The company was formed in India in 1989 as a Tata Motors Ltd. subsidiary and in 1994 was spun off as an independent business. Today, Tata Technologies is a key partner of a number of the world’s most successful and recognised engineering companies. 15

Making the most of


Tony Mannion looks at the pressures faced by manufacturing businesses and the tell tale signs that they’ve outgrown their infrastructures


aking the jump from SME to a larger enterprise is exciting, but not without its challenges. Having the right software and technology in place is essential to growing a business, yet many companies – particularly manufacturers – are being constrained by out-dated process and applications. So how can decision makers identify when their IT systems have reached the tipping point? Following the recent financial downturn and subsequent on-going recovery, it is now essential for manufacturers to ensure they maximise their assets and applications to achieve their business goals. As IT has become an increasingly vital service to manufacturers, so too has the requirement for systems not to fail and for performance to remain consistent. In order to stay ahead of the curve, UK manufacturers must utilise the latest innovations in technology. This becomes increasingly important when you consider a recent Government Department for Science report,


which highlighted the UK manufacturing industry as one of the sectors that will undergo drastic change in the coming years, as the impact of the Internet of Things becomes more widespread. The Internet of Things is just one of a host of new approaches that will allow manufacturers across the country to gather smarter, ‘real-time’ analytics meaning they can see how and why

their factories are performing. However, before manufacturers are in a position to adopt and adapt, they must take a close look at the quality of the IT systems they are currently running. There are many pressure points that manufacturers need to be aware of when it comes to the performance and strength of their IT systems. Ageing assets and legacy replacement are among the costliest hurdles, often requiring replacement to avoid unexpected and unnecessary downtime. Increased competition requires systems, which give manufacturers the edge and ability to operate faster and increase productivity. With cyber threats increasing across the globe, security and resilience is now, more than ever, a key aspect of IT systems. Identifying these potential issues before they turn into more serious problems is vitally important and there are a number of tell tale signs that can help manufacturers spot the first signs of an outgrown IT system. For instance, if the cost of maintenance and continued usage of the system become prohibitive, it is time to


Often the most costly indicator that a manufacturer has outgrown its IT systems is when it becomes over reliant on manual processes – processes that, in an ideal scenario, the system could take on itself

look at a replacement structure. Similarly, as businesses grow, so too does the amount of data that is generated. If systems are not set up to support this growth then manufacturers could be basing key decision making on false, incomplete or inaccurate data. Accurate data is essential to achieve operational intelligence and drive efficiency. IT and automation systems are a major investment for businesses, no matter what their size. Long-term protection of that investment should be a significant consideration when selecting a partner and a system. Flexibility and scalability on all levels is essential to realising the true value and longevity of a SCADA system. It is extremely important to be able to evolve and tailor solutions over time, expand them into previously unforeseen areas, and integrate them with other systems as technology evolves. The inability of systems to adapt is a further indication that it is time to reassess IT provisions. This can be identified by businesses spending vast amounts of time and money integrating data from different sources and equally large resources used on system maintenance. The most damaging result of inflexibility can be as the company is growing and expanding into new markets or launching new ranges, the infrastructure and system it is based on is limiting and therefore holding it back. Today’s manufacturers need to offer their customers flexibility. Whilst some may want a standard product, others will require variations bespoke to certain markets. Older systems often prevent manufacturers responding flexibly to these requests, leading to lost revenue opportunities. As a company grows, so does its geographical

spread. Opening international offices or production sites will only add to the pressure placed on existing systems. These offices, or sites, need to be able to communicate seamlessly. They will all be producing their own data, but to ensure the overall business is operating efficiently, engineers and operatives need access to all the information being produced. If the correct system is in place then data silos are created where potentially valuable data that could drive business decisions is simply wasted. Often the most costly indicator that a manufacturer has outgrown its IT systems is when it becomes over reliant on manual processes – processes that, in an ideal scenario, the system could take on itself. IT is supposed to drive efficiency by making automation processes easy to implement and increase output standardisation. However, if the system is not performing, existing workloads will be added to through the necessity to manually check systems and correct any issues. This said, few companies are able to afford a complete overhaul of their IT systems and infrastructure, so the key to delivering much needed improvement is by managing the existing legacy systems. This can be achieved by carefully protecting and preserving IT investments to ensure that they remain operational and perform to a high standard for as long as possible. Legacy systems can also be migrated onto new manageable, scalable technology. Legacy IT system migration is the process of transferring data or programs from one computer system, software application or website to another. This may involve physical system migration, when old hardware is no longer capable of meeting the needs of the system or if it has been damaged. It

may also take the form of software or data based migration, where files, data, users and many other settings are transferred between systems. Ensuring that the right knowledge and experience exists within organisations can guarantee that IT systems are maximised to work efficiently, delivering the support and services required. However, this does not have to mean employing an entire new workforce of IT specialists. In truth, the skills gap within the IT sector means that more companies are turning to managed services to support their IT systems. This means that a third party can be used to manage and monitor IT systems, allowing manufacturers to benefit from their expertise and knowledge, whilst providing the peace-of-mind that systems are operating as expected and risk and downtime are reduced. Ensuring that factories are secure from cyber threats, operating efficiently and producing to a high quality should be high on any manufacturers list of priorities. What links these separate issues is that they can all be improved by ensuring that IT systems are fit for purpose. Importantly, it is now time for manufacturers to review their plant floor infrastructure and what options are available to them. It comes down to a simple choice – preserve and protect or modernise. n

Tony Mannion Tony Mannion is Business Unit Leader Industrial IT from SolutionsPT. SolutionsPT provides industrial IT solutions for manufacturing companies and infrastructure projects. Based in Greater Manchester, the company has more than 70 employees and 25 plus years’ experience. 17

Keeping a

secret Mark Edge takes a look at effective IP protection in an increasingly collaborative world


ntellectual property is one of the most valuable commodities any company can own. In a sign of just how significant IP is to the European economy as a whole, a recent report estimated 39 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the European Union is generated by industries focused on intellectual property1. The manufacturing industry is of course no exception to this. Manufacturing companies need to protect trade secrets that do not always benefit from legal protection in the same way as intellectual property. As a result, the vast majority of these valuable assets are usually kept under lock and key within the confines of most manufacturing organisations. Rightly so, as any leaks can be highly damaging. Key business plans and development work could be compromised and future plans, roadmaps and acquisitions could be sabotaged if rivals hear about them in advance. But in the manufacturing industry, these assets cannot be kept locked away forever. Manufacturing involves intensive communications with a wide variety of existing and potential partners. In doing so, it exposes this information to theft and perhaps unsurprisingly there’s no shortage of people out there trying to take what isn’t theirs. According to a survey by the European Commission, one in five companies has been a victim of attempted trade secret theft at least once in the previous ten years2.

Securing communications channels But how does this sensitive information end up in the wrong hands? One of the easiest ways is through intercepted or misplaced communications. Furthermore, in the infinitely connected modern business environment, once out, sensitive information can be nigh on impossible to get back. But when communication plays such a pivotal role in so many aspects of business, potential vulnerabilities are not always easy to identify and mitigate. For instance, manufacturing sales teams rely on daily communications with a wide variety of external stakeholders in order to ‘Out-License’ their services successfully, and are often required to share sensitive details to secure deals. Equally, external communication/collaboration is


Protecting IP

an important part of the manufacturing process, but this also needs monitoring to closely safeguard processes and patent-related knowledge. In addition, co-operation with external companies in the manufacturing process can also prove risky, as it regularly requires the divulging of a wide variety of confidential business information and production processes. The list does not end there either. There are plenty of other instances where third parties might be given access to a manufacturing company’s internal information. Certification bodies and other businesses within the supply chain could have access to internal processes, assessment reports and safety information, while service reports and information about claims or damage need to be handled in a discreet manner too.

Collaboration must be secure with all parties involved Legal protections for intellectual property must be underpinned with technical measures in order to effectively protect the information flow that is vital to many businesses. But how can effective collaboration be achieved without compromising IP security? One way is to adopt a secure collaboration platform that is both intuitive to use and that supports every day operations, so it is perceived as a help rather than a hindrance. These platforms also feature user interfaces that can be tailored to the needs of the organisation and its collaborators, and feature remote access to accommodate the increasingly mobile working habits of employees at all levels. Below are some of the key features manufacturing organisations should look for in a secure collaboration platform:

Completely secure data storage and transmission: Secure data transmission and storage is paramount, and all sensitive IP should be securely protected by cryptographic means. Furthermore, adopting strong authentication measures also goes a long way to ensuring only authorised users have access to documents and importantly, that their access is removed once they no longer require it. Encryption should also be used as standard to prevent unauthorised individuals from snooping on communications and illegally obtaining or manipulating information. Confidential information should also be protected from access by technical staff, such as internal system administrators. Tailored user rights per individual user: It should also be possible to customise what actions any user can do with a specific document through the collaboration platform. For instance, the document could be in read-only mode with no permission to save, print or forward it. Activities taking place on the platform should be logged in a tamperproof audit trail, enabling traceable, transparent insight into how documents are used and edited. As a result, the organisation can monitor how intensively particular documents have been used/accessed. Fully customisable data protection rules: Data protection rules should be integrated into the system so data is only available for a specific purpose, to certain people and for a defined period of time. Security features should be up-todate and based on the latest technologies with the system complying with current and recognised standards of data protection and security. In today’s manufacturing industry, many organisations need to collaborate with a wide range of third parties to conduct their business, but they also need to protect their intellectual property and trade secrets to preserve their

competitive edge. Thankfully, there is a wide range of tools available that allow for effective collaboration, but also ensure security and accountability for the organisation’s most sensitive IP. n

Mark Edge Mark Edge is UK Country Manager at Brainloop. Founded in 2000, Brainloop is a market-leading provider of highly intuitive collaboration solutions for managing confidential information and sharing files internally and externally. Customers solve a variety of business problems with Brainloop including board communications, M&A, real estate portfolio management, out-licensing, out-sourced manufacturing and supply chain management, secure collaboration and enterprise file share and sync.

1 “Intellectual property rights intensive Industries: Contribution to economic performance and employment in Europe” (September 2013), joint study by the European Patent Office and the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), market/intellectual-property/docs/joint-report-epo-ohim-finalversion_en.pdf 2 Study on Trade Secrets and Confidential Business Information in the Internal Market, Final Study, April 2013, trade-secrets/130711_final-study_en.pdf 19


connection Andres Richter discusses how to unshackle your business potential through the consolidation of systems

Until we can realise the full potential of smart manufacturing in the UK, there are two major trends which are dominating the way companies do business: an expanding global ecosystem of suppliers and the constant evolution of customer demands



he manufacturing industry or ‘Industry 4.0’ is without doubt more agile today than it has been in recent years. According to Professor Detlef Zühlke, a leading researcher in the factories of the future, we are on the brink of “a fourth industrial revolution.” This fourth revolution is about making factories more intelligent. One of the biggest advancements has been in the sophistication of machines on the production floor, which can deliver real-time data to the back-end and monitoring systems. The rise of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) brings with it a new connectivity to sensors at all stages of the production process. The ‘Smart Manufacturing’ trend is being led by global corporations: IBM announced earlier this year it will spend $3 billion over four years to create an IoT unit and develop software to help customers do the same. With this platform, manufacturers can take advantage of machine-to-machine connectivity, with the intelligence to make adjustments without human assistance. However, until we can realise the full potential of smart manufacturing in the UK, there are two major trends which are dominating the way companies do business: an expanding global ecosystem of suppliers and the constant evolution of customer demands. While outsourcing reduces capacity limitations and allows tight-turnaround demands to be met, the expansion of the manufacturing ecosystem also brings new challenges. There is a new and pressing need to manage and monitor third party activity. As the level of complexity in the logistics domain increases and vendors around the world require synchronisation, companies must be able to optimise what they do, and where. As customer demands become more complex, products are expected to be personalised but ready and shipped within a short timeframe. Time to market must be shorter and rapid response times are a must. When people buy online they expect fast delivery. We’re seeing far less of the ‘closed’ mass produced items of days gone by. Instead, products are offered in various configurations, which are often


From a management perspective, this new, modern way of working makes searching for information a thing of the past. Relevant data alerts can be pushed to the right person as soon as it happens and take the appropriate action, whether it is replacing a component, stopping production or looking for an alternative

defined per order as customers expect product on demand. SMEs hoping to remain competitive must look to new technologies to work with a fully integrated system across all facets of the business to avoid being held back by outdated legacy systems. In this fast paced environment, UK manufacturers must make sure they have the right technological foundations in place to remain agile, productive and competitive. So why are some companies holding back from taking advantage of new technologies? The short answer is, many of the more old school, smaller companies would rather stick to what they know, and are unaware of the simplicity of what is available to them on the market. Tracking activities with an application such as Microsoft Excel can be preferable, as it is perceived as a flexible, standalone solution which people are less afraid to use. On the other hand, enterprise research planning (ERP) technology has a reputation as being tricky to implement and of requiring a lot of resources to get off the ground. Companies

which hold this out-dated view are missing out on the true benefits of new solutions. For example, with solutions available today it’s possible to access real-time production information via a mobile app from the production floor for optimum flexibility. The only way businesses can manage the complexity of supply chain and achieve synchronisation from an R&D phase to delivery is by having 360 degree visibility in real-time of what is happening in each work cell. This visibility not only reduces costs and increases efficiency into workforce and production lines in all sites, it also enables manufacturers to respond quickly to order demands through having an integrated view of the factory. Data can be captured at each stage of the process to analyse productivity, efficiency and profitability of each product line and service, meaning inefficiencies can be spotted and acted upon at the source. By using one system, which is integrated both ways with other systems, changes such as engineering adjustments are immediately visible to the production floor, and have firstly been informed by production floor analytic. This also improves planning capabilities. From a management perspective, this new, modern way of working makes searching for information a thing of the past. Relevant data alerts can be pushed to the right person as soon as it happens and take the appropriate action, whether it is replacing a component, stopping production or looking for an alternative. Additionally, with production machines automatically connected via standard APIs to the backend, much of the hurdle has to do with the fear that implementation will go beyond budget and timeline. In order to mitigate the risk of a lengthy deployment, companies looking to migrate their current systems to a more streamlined and nuanced system must firstly ensure they choose a partner which has an intrinsic understanding of the manufacturing space, preferably in their domain. Secondly, opting for a cloud-based solution will eliminate the need for having a dedicated IT team to maintain the system. An easy to use system will reduce the workforce ‘fear of change,’ and supporting them with training as well as encouraging mobile

solutions will be big steps to getting them on side. Overcoming these barriers is key to enjoying the benefits of a new, streamlined business, and is crucial to achieving a full and accurate picture of organisation across departments, product lines and regions. With a customer-centric approach, predictive analytics tools can better plan the production, as well as demands and expected problems from a machine level to any potential workforce capacity issue. Manufacturing systems are on an innovative trajectory to a fully mobile and connected operation, where all machines will be able to automatically connect to systems and trigger business processes such as ordering materials or opening a service ticket. In order for manufacturers to benefit from a future promising wearable glasses to guide the work of employees on the production floor, they must harness the power of an innovative, simple to use and integrated system to increase productivity and growth across each aspect of the business. v

Andres Richter Andres Richter is CEO of Priority Software. Priority Software is an international pioneer in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, including cloud and mobile technology. Priority’s vision is to empower businesses of all sizes with a comprehensive, flexible, and simple business management solution that increases profitability and efficiency. For more information about Priority Software, visit: 21


minutes Demand for same day and even one-hour delivery is rising. Tim Fawkes explains how manufacturers could make it happen


nline retailer Amazon has thrown down the logistics gauntlet to a whole range of industries with its new one hour delivery service for Prime customers. Announced earlier this year, the service is being phased in across parts of London and is expected to include all of the capital and some UK cities by the end of this year. Whilst it remains to be seen how sustainable the service will be, there is a strong commercial reason behind its introduction. By offering the quickest delivery service around, Amazon hopes to sign up more Prime users (who currently pay an annual subscription of £79). This will enable the company to increase its market share and maintain its assault on high street retail.

Raising the bar in transport management Whatever your feelings about Amazon as an organisation, there’s no denying the increasing demand amongst consumers for ‘immediate service’ - which the company has recognised and acted upon. Amazon’s actions also have significant implications for the manufacturing industry as a whole, raising the bar even higher in transport services – and customer expectation. So, is it possible for manufacturers to meet the one-hour delivery challenge in the near future? Many manufacturing supply chains are complex with supplies coming from different cities, countries or even continents, often involving tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers. Manufacturing may involve a multi stage, timeconsuming process and when complete, finished products may need to be shipped to warehouses, customers and end users across a range of geographically diverse locations. The whole chain involves a complicated set of processes involving planning, purchasing and distribution – all of which can be difficult to predict with accuracy. What’s certain is that demand for same day (and quicker) delivery service is on the rise. Whilst a one hour delivery service may be untenable for certain products and processes for various reasons (product



range, shelf life etc) there is increasing pressure on the manufacturers to provide a more dynamic service, with a wider variety of options and quicker turnaround of orders.

improved system based forecasting can then be used Whilst a one hour delivery service to provide suppliers and may be untenable for certain the transport management products and processes for various system with enough reasons (product range, shelf life information to plan in advance etc) there is increasing pressure of requirement. on the manufacturers to provide Furthermore, with weba more dynamic service, with a based visuals for suppliers, wider variety of options and quicker carriers and manufacturers turnaround of orders available via web portals, Meeting the there is no longer a need for demands of 2015 complex systems installations and beyond and hardware on all parties’ systems. These web Despite encouraging figures in the UK over portals can be used to communicate demand, the past two to three years, it’s important to provide live tracking visibility, provide confirmation remember that the manufacturing industry as of delivery and POD, manage carrier payments a whole is still recovering from seven years of and provide data to feed into forecasting tools to market stagnation following the last recession predict future demand. when investment levels were been low and the From robots to self-driving cars, many things focus was largely on staying in business. This means which seemed unlikely a decade ago are now that some of the legacy logistics systems put in increasingly viable. And so it is with the one-hour place by manufacturers in the 1990s and 2000s delivery. It’s true that manufacturers and their are now fundamentally out of date and unable to suppliers will need to find a way of measuring deliver the flexibility required in 2015 and beyond. and managing processes to meet demands for The bottom line is, no matter how great your increasing speed. However, the technology exists product is, if your logistics processes are sluggish to make it happen - which means that it is only a and in need of modernisation, companies will find matter of time before one-hour delivery becomes it difficult to meet demand - as well as retaining a reality. n and winning business. Often logistics is the main service element experienced by the end client. Ultimately, manufacturers need to introduce more dynamic systems to facilitate demand planning, supply management, distribution and sustainability. Tim Fawkes is Managing Director of 3T Logistics

Tim Fawkes

How technology can help The main reason that Amazon and other organisations have been able to reduce delivery time so drastically is due to the fantastic advances in technology that we have experienced over the past decade. The newest mobile technology offers increased visibility and control of the transport element, enabling companies to better forecast and dynamically change their transport plan to meet the demands of a changing manufacturing plan. A dynamic multi-carrier transport solution is better equipped to cope with different volume demands and changes in requirements. Integrated transport management systems (TMS) that are independent of carriers can also ensure that the manufacturer has better controls in place to manage the transport aspects of all carriers. Smart phone tracking apps are some of the newest, most affordable and accessible systems on the market. They can track the location of all consignments through transport management systems, generating instant real time information for supplier, carrier and customer. The resulting

and has over 20 years’ experience in the logistics industry. 3T Logistics combines systems solutions and transport expertise with the express purpose of reducing clients’ transport costs – whilst improving service. Formed in 2000 from a background in 3rd party and 4th party logistics, 3T offers a range of products and services to suit all clients’ needs: from those seeking lesser levels of support, through to organisations looking to completely outsource their transport management department. 23

How to keep



Partho Bhattacharya discusses what manufacturing organisations can do to become more customer-centric

Customers want 24/7 access to support and information. While this sentiment isn’t new, it has become increasingly expected (and demanded) with the introduction of new channels for interaction including online and social media


cross all areas of business and industry sectors, consumers are becoming more demanding and expecting of more personalised products and services to meet their specific needs. Some manufacturing organisations have made significant strides towards transforming their business to meet the challenges on customer centricity in a digital world, and have put customers at the heart through digital services. However, according to research by SAP, as many as 80 per cent admit that as an organisation they could be more customer centric and they are still grappling with increasing customer complexity that the always on, connected age brings. A clear sign they could – and need to – be more customer-centric with their approach and embrace the technology, which enables them to do this. In order to truly succeed and grow, embracing customer demands, and putting them at the heart of everything you do is key. And this needs to flow through the entire supply chain.

Understand your customer For me, it’s all about getting into the mind of the customer to really understand them. It’s important that manufacturers immerse themselves in their customers’ business - spend time researching the brand, understanding their market and what it is they really want. Not only does this help build strong relationships and trust at the outset, but it also means a tailored consultancy service can be provided to drive growth and heighten the customer experience. For manufacturers, many inherently suffer from having legacy systems and change can be difficult to implement quickly. It’s hard to react to what customers want right now, let alone what they may need in the future. Start by getting into the mind of the customers. Understand how the today’s customer needs are changing, and will continue to do so.


Customer centricity

Support services don’t have the most highly valued status within an organisation but through openness and transparency, trust can be quickly built among customers

Support services don’t have the most highly valued status within an organisation but through openness and transparency, trust can be quickly built among customers. By simplifying approaches and consolidating information, customers will likely develop trust quicker. While for manufacturers it can be seen as daunting – especially with complex supply chains and legacy systems – they need to look to those who are already successfully taking the right steps, and learn from it. There is so much choice available now, so it’s the differentiating service points that will really help to stand out. Those that choose not to put the customer at the heart of everything they do will inevitably fall down, and behind competition: take small steps now to protect your organisation in the future. n

Partho Bhattacharya

Be available Customers want 24/7 access to support and information. While this sentiment isn’t new, it has become increasingly expected (and demanded) with the introduction of new channels for interaction including online and social media. As a provider of support services to SAP customers, Invenio knows how important it is to remedy issues with business critical applications in the quickest possible time. Our customers expect a personalised, responsive and highly technical support. They want problems to be solved with the first call, not passed down the line multiple times to different customer service operatives. As organisations get bigger it gets harder to maintain a personalised level of customer service and support. Scale is a considerable challenge. Management has a role to play here in instilling a corporate culture that puts the customer first. This sets the benchmark by which everybody else needs to adhere. However, technology can clearly also support.

Making services available on channels such as social media and live chat, across multiple devices including mobile and web browser, automatically provides customers with the ‘always on’ service they want. If they can simply tweet a request and receive a timely response, the customer will be happy. When done well, manufacturers can replicate human, personalised interactions, through automated processes at much lower cost, without reduction in customer satisfaction.

Partho Bhattacharya is MD & President of Invenio Business Solutions, an award-winning business system provider, head quartered in Reading, UK. The company supports 45 customers in the government, media and manufacturing segments, in areas that include industry-specific enterprise resource planning (ERP), tax and revenue management, business intelligence, big data, mobility, CRM and integration solutions.

Be transparent How can vendors and consultancies in the tech sector help to make this shift to greater customer centricity? It’s certainly true that organisations want to consolidate the number of IT vendors and consultancies they use, particularly when supply chains can be complex. They want fewer, better, relationships. So companies that can provide value-added consultancy services and move away from commoditised, ‘race to the bottom’ solutions will prosper. 25

P.J. Hare Ltd is a leading manufacturer of hydraulic and hydropneumatic presses in the 1 Ton to 250 Tons force range. Based in the UK, it is a significant supplier to the automotive industry, supplying presses for everything from pushing clinch nuts and clinch studs into body panels to assembling bushes and bearings into suspension arms and wheel hubs respectively. Its strength is the ability to design and manufacture complete tooling solutions with the press that can guarantee 100 per cent pass rates. This is achieved by intelligent tooling incorporating features and sensors to ensure part presence and correct part loading, transducers to ensure forces and positions are correct and bespoke software to bring all the control together. It has even incorporated multicamera vision systems for full product validation. However, you would be wrong to think that P.J. Hare is just about the automotive sector. It supplies presses and tooling solutions into the aerospace, defence and general engineering sectors, and even the food industry. Applications include pressing, stamping, drawing and compression moulding, all of which need controlled delivery of force and bespoke intelligent tooling. Compression moulding is a particularly interesting area requiring accurate temperature control of the platens in order to cure composite resins or form thermosetting plastics. P.J. Hare has already supplied a number of presses into this area and sees it as a key growth potential.


All of P.J. Hare’s presses are backed by a knowledgeable service team who ensure that the press is setup and commissioned optimally from day one and they can support throughout the life of the press with regular servicing and maintenance. Where applications fall outside the size of a P.J. Hare press it can still help. Through a partnership arrangement with Rocher presses, P.J. Hare can offer presses up to 5000 Tons force.



Focus on:



Reifen Hinghaus

Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd

Ardagh Group


Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV

Toolspec Manufacturing Company


Cooper Coated Coil

Clarehill Plastics

Kentec Electronics


Gooch & Housego

Joseph Clayton & Sons

Tetronics International

Tech Tube Ltd


Filtermist International


Dura Beds

James Dewhurst Ltd


Husqvarna Group

Ekamant AB

Wax Lyrical

Lawrence David

SML Maschinengesellschaft

rational einbauküchen

Engro Polymer & Chemicals

AAF International


Continental Corporation

Mainetti (UK)

Dinex AS





Bema Kunstsoffen

Pailton Engineering Ltd

Rotpunkt Küchen


Swift Group

Luxfer Gas Cylinders

J. Rotherham

Lambert Engineering


BAE Systems

UK Leather Federation


Voith Industrial Services UK

Alisco NV

Mini Gears

A range of gear cut components for power transmission industries

Big developments Following 50 years in operation, Mini Gears has developed a strong reputation as a leading specialist subcontract-engineering firm that delivers high quality products at competitive rates


elebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016, Stockport based family-owned subcontract engineering company Mini Gears began when Reg Darwent, an engineer and specialist in gear cutting, realised there was a growing market for small gears as demand grew for smaller gearboxes. In response to this, Reg, a partner in a company supplying spare parts for textile machinery at the time, moved the manufacture of small gears into its own business segment and started operating as a separate manufacturer. Proving highly successful, the company soon required its own premises and name; in response to the current trends of the Mini Cooper car and the Mini Skirt, Reg called the company Mini Gears. Five decades on and the small company is not so mini, with gear cutting capacity increasing from being mini to a size of 600 mm dia. In addition, the remainder of the company was taken over by the Darwent family in 1993 when turnover was just over £1 million. Since then Mini Gears has enjoyed more than a decade of incredible growth, with the company approaching £10 million turnover in 2015. In line with this growth, the company has moved premises twice and is now based in its 35,000 square foot Stockport facility. “For us as a business, 2015 has been the best financial result for Mini Gears in our entire history, with a turnover of £9.7 million hit. This record

Left: Mini Gear’s 35,000 sq.ft. machining facility



turnover is due to our wide market spread as we manufacture and supply to diverse industries across the globe such as power transmission, oil, gas and petrochemical, stairlifts and medical, autosport, aircraft seating and nuclear. The industry we are currently getting a lot of demand from has been power transmission, however all markets have been reasonably buoyant apart from oil and gas, which has reduced quite rapidly since the second quarter of 2015,� says Keith Martin, Joint Managing Director at Mini Gears. Within the power transmission market Mini Gears has helped many customers achieve their optimum target design, while also helping to reduce manufacturing costs. Items created within Mini Gears’ factory include precision machined parts, spurs gears, helical gears, ground gears, steering racks, worm wheels, worm shafts, layshafts, pinions and timing pulleys. Meanwhile, aware that a focus on safety and comfort is imperative when manufacturing components for stairlifts and medical lifting equipment, Mini Gears is proud to be supporting

Above: Over 100 machines at the company’s 35,000 sq.ft. manufacturing facility

Northern Broaching Service

Northern Broaching Service Ltd is a one stop shop for all your broaching and gear cutting/machining needs with the largest stock of broaching tools in the UK ranging from k/ways to straight sided and involute splines. Along with its machining capacity, this allows Northern Broaching Services Ltd and Mini Gears to have a mutually beneficial relationship that over the years has helped both companies in the design and manufacture of precision components ranging from one off to larger quantities. It also helps Northern Broaching Services Ltd and Mini Gears to meet customers required delivery dates. Because all the machining is under one roof it saves on both time and delivery cost thus helping our customers reduce manufacturing costs. 29

Racks, gears and machined components for the stairlift & medical lifting equipment industries

Right: Large CNC Turning machine with huge torque and turning diameter up to 420mm


mobility through its manufacturing expertise. Taking the opportunity to improve the ride quality of a stairlift a number of years ago, the company used its skills and invested in the right machinery to start building gear racks for the stairlift industry in 1995. Committed to improving the performance of its customers’ products, Mini Gears has provided its input into rack and pinion designs that are used in lifting mechanisms; so far its most beneficial innovation is a specialist tooth profile that ensures the quiet and smooth running of the stairlift. Components supplied to the stairlift and medical market include racks up to three metres long, pinions, spur gears, helical gears, machined parts and sprockets. “As a subcontracting engineering company we don’t have any of our own product range to market or sell or come up with innovative ideas for, however, we are well renowned in the industry for our input into designs and manufacture. We help our customers meet optimum target designs and very competitive manufacturing costs and are always looking at established running products as well to see if there are any cost saving design changes that we could propose for consideration.

Mini Gears

Ground gears and shafts for high performance requirements

High precision machined components for oil, gas & petrochemical industries

We are pro-active in suggesting new methods or, if we see potential, new manufacturing techniques to save some costs; we will always propose these and put these forward to our customers,” highlights Keith. As a trusted manufacturer of machined parts, gears and racks, the company has developed strong relationships with customers in areas such as the UK, Europe, the US and even Australia. Key to the company’s reputation for superior service is its close working relationship with clients, its collaborative approach to projects and its modern facilities. “We are based in two locations, one is our main manufacturing location in Stockport, which is where we put strong emphasis on high-end CNC precision machining. It is here that we have a very capable front-end engineering team so when projects come in we can plan and do all offline programming to ensure there are few issues when parts are put forward. We also have a purchasing office in Asia where we produce higher volume, more commercial grade items; the two locations complement each other and enable us to supply a range of products to our clients,” says Keith.

To stay ahead of the competition, Mini Gears continually invests in its machining facilities, with approximately £500,000 spent on equipment for its UK based manufacturing site this year. The investment included a large turning machine, a machining centre and the refurbishment of one of its CNC gear hobbers, which alone cost almost £100,000. Moving forward, the future looks positive for Mini Gears as it uses its diverse capabilities to focus on growing industries such as aerospace and medical. In line with these plans, the company’s short-term focus is on achieving the aerospace AS 9100 revision C approval to enable it to further develop in this market.

Mini Gears Products/Services: Manufacturer of machined parts, gears and racks

Painted aluminium machined ‘kits’ for 1st class aircraft seating 31

Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd

Ahead of the


By focusing on the needs of its customers and developing a collaborative approach to business, Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is setting a solid foundation for continued success


ormed a mere two-and-a-half years ago in March 2013, Birmingham headquartered group Arc Specialist Engineering Limited is a group of four small to medium sized niche engineering manufacturing businesses within the metal processing sector. Born from the collapse of Metalrax Group, Arc Specialist Engineering enjoyed steady trading in its early days through its subsidiaries Cooper Coated Coil (CCC) in Wolverhampton, Western Body Hardware in Redditch, Luton based Toolspec and US-based business Post Glover Lifelink Inc. However, keen to continue profitability and to target a specific customer base, Arc Specialist Engineering made the strategic decision to sell two of its companies and to acquire two new companies that were more relevant to its future ambitions, as Andy Richardson, CEO at Arc Specialist Engineering Ltd begins: “Arc Specialist Engineering is an ambitious business that is owned by a private family office. Our purpose is to grow and develop the businesses that we have under our umbrella while also acquiring complementary organisations as opportunities arise. Since our inception we have sold two of our original businesses; one of which sold


electronic safety equipment for medical institutions, which didn’t fit in with metal processing. The other was more of an assembly company that assembled locks, hinges and latches, which left us with Cooper Coated Coil Ltd and Toolspec Manufacturing Co Ltd. Meanwhile, during this time we acquired Tube Bend Form International and EWS Manufacturing, the latter of which we acquired in September 2015. Following these developments we are now a more structured group that is focused on metal processing. This falls into two categories, coil processing and metal tube processing. The coil business is based on the operations of Cooper Coated Coil and EWS, while the metal tube processing parts of the business are Toolspec and Tube Bend Form International.” With four niche businesses under its belt, Arc Specialist Engineering’s goal is to continue growing, both organically and through further acquisition of organisations that complement the group’s operations. This was indeed the case with the 100 per cent acquisition of Tube Bend Form International’s shares, which was brought to complement Toolspec with access to new products, processes and customers that would ultimately result in stronger revenue growth and an expansion of its customer base.

Moreover, the group’s strategy is to focus on niche markets as opposed to competing in very high volume commodity products, as Andy states: “We look for specialist companies that will give us the capability to have a dominant position in our sector. Additionally, as a UK manufacturer facing overseas competition, we look for manufacturers of products that won’t travel well as items that are easy to dispatch overseas are hard to compete against areas such as China. Cooper Coated Coil is a strong example of the niche focus, as there are lots of coil coating businesses that are much bigger than CCC; our competitors may coat 100,000 plus tonnes of metal per year, while we will coat just under 20,000 tonnes per year. Because we manufacture relatively small amounts of coil we are good at changeovers and can therefore access a market that the larger competitors wouldn’t bother with; such as the pre-coated non-stick bakeware market. We have a dominant position in this market.” Another example of this is the company’s acquisition of EWS, a cold roll forming business, from international door and window components supplier Tyman, for approximately £7.25 million in September 2015. Coinciding with Tyman’s strategy

to focus on supplying components to the door and window industry on a global scale, Andy notes that the arrival of EWS within Arc Specialist Engineering will enable the group to strategically access the relatively niche PVCu window and door reinforcement market: “EWS is a rollforming company, however Hadley Group is the biggest rollforming company in this country and we don’t try to compete on many of the volumes it produces. Hadley will concentrate on giving customers good service in the very high volume markets; whereas we can give outstanding service and value to markets such as PVCu window and door reinforcement where customers require lower run quantities, more frequent deliveries and more product variety than other applications that Hadley focuses on. This is our strategy really, to differentiate our services, find niche markets and deliver truly good value to our customers.” Keen to provide a superior customer service to clients, Andy is committed to creating a creating a management process and system that enables the managing directors of each business to be close to customers and to employees within the business. “Key to providing good value is not only to provide customers with the product itself, but also to deliver knowledge, advice and an excellent service, which will lead to strong long-term relationships. I believe the people in charge of a business should be as close as possible to clients and to those that deliver the service and products to the clients. Because of this, we delegate authority down heavily, we don’t have matrix type structures or corporate policies; the managing director instead sets his own agenda and journey while using our system as a template. This provides our subsidiaries with topclass management that punches above its weight in terms of their size; it is unusual, but is also an integral part of what makes us successful. It would be easy to centralise many of our actions, but taking these responsibilities away from the people serving our customers removes accountability,

while also removing authority, passion and the ability to do the right thing for the customer.” This way of operating also enables Arc Specialist Engineering to be agile when its comes to making acquisitions, confident that the managing directors of its subsidiaries are delivering optimum service to customers and maintaining strong relationships with employees. With a solid foundation for future growth in place, the future looks positive for Arc Specialist Engineering as it continues to develop a more traditional way of working with customers through the delivery of a transparent, open and mutually beneficial service. “We would like to be seen as partners to our customers; I want our customers to make more money so we can make money, it’s a pretty simple way of forming longterm collaborative relationships. CCC has been doing this for years and it is a business that knows its customers so well, it really is phenomenal; we now want to create this same way of working with EWS. Our financial goal is to get to £100 million in sales over the next three to four years, and at least £10 million in profit will be done through organic growth and acquisitions. The other goal is to ensure people enjoy what they do, which may sound trite, but we want our employees to get more out of working for us than just a paycheck,” concludes Andy.

Arc Specialist Engineering Limited Services: Group of niche metal processing companies 33


Part of:

Shaping the


As the newest member of Arc Specialist Engineering Group, EWS enters a new period of focused investment as it looks forward to a future of growth and success


ith a long engineering history behind it, EWS had been a subsidiary of window and hardware producer ERA, itself a part of the Tyman plc group since 2007. Focusing on providing high quality cold roll formed steel reinforcement for the PVCu market, fenestration accounts for 90 per cent of the company’s total sales.Turning out over 20 million metres of products every year and with a turnover of £19 million, EWS supplies to customer across the world as far as Australia. With a strong reputation in the market, EWS’ strengths are founded in its customer service, which is supported by long-standing system house relationships and a commitment to quality. “We hardly have any rejects come back,” explains Operations Director, Nick Stevens. “We are known for performance, for value and for delivering products that do what we promise.” As recently as September 2015, the Arc Specialist Engineering Group acquired EWS from ERA. “In order for us to grow under ERA’s ownership it would have meant it moving away from its own core focus,” explains Nick. “Arc means a fresh start for us. With the new group there is now an appetite for, a focus on and a sense of belonging towards


growing the business and we are looking forward to improving things.” Under Arc’s keen desire to invest and promote continuous improvement across its group, EWS is beginning to reshape towards consolidating its existing business, whilst gaining further market share and expanding into different markets to take advantage of new opportunities. “We’re looking to build further on our strong customer service,” Nick says. “So we hope to reduce our lead times, to provide more value for our customers’ businesses as well as our own and to build on our strong reputation of quality and performance.” Developments towards this future have already begun for EWS with a recent £100,000 investment into a new automatic saw, which enabled the company to offer an in-house cut-to-length service to its customers. “The system houses take six metre lengths but the smaller fabricators want to take smaller lengths, so we can now produce the products on-line and then cut back after,” outlines Nick.This investment accompanies an internal design engineering competence, allowing EWS to work closely with its customer to develop the best solutions, an in-house tool room, to manufacture its own necessary roll tools, and a preproduction trial area, where it can demonstrate and prove rolls to

market as well as making efforts to build on this and gain market share. We will be recruiting extra sales people to get out there and start making some noise in the market to achieve this. “In the longer term, it is difficult to say specifically, but it will involve looking at new sectors away from fenestration where we feel we have something to offer. We’ve recently done some work with under-floor electrical cable trunking, and also in the automotive and shop-fitting sectors. So we are starting to explore our opportunities, but the future routes will be determined by where the biggest volumes are and where we can make an impact.

It is important that none of this detracts from our existing relationships within the fenestration market and this will always be our main product focus.”

EWS Ltd Products/Services: Cold rolled steel manufacturer primarily supplying the UK fenestration markets

the customers before heading to final production. Future investments will continue to focus on driving this value to the end customer. “Over the coming months we will be looking at implementing some factory software to drive the OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness) of the machines that we’ve got and ensuring that we’re getting the highest utilisation out of them to help reduce lead times and costs,” Nick continues. “This will include data capture, bar-coding, on-line planning and so on, all of which will help the end user because when a customer wants something, we will have a much more efficient process to quickly deliver it.” Quality-wise, EWS is ISO9000 accredited and supports this with stringent quality checks across its processes, including total inspection of the flat steel coil materials and periodical care point inspections along the production line.This is followed by a full documentation and review process to ensure that quality is maintained throughout. “We also record and measure all the scrap that we make with the view to continuously driving this down and reducing costs,” adds Nick. With these programmes in place for improving manufacturing processes and building on its already strong reputation for customer service, EWS is well placed to fulfil its future ambitions of driving growth and profitability through the business, whilst expanding its market footprint. “Fenestration products are, and will continue to be, our core focus,” concludes Nick. “So over the next 12 months we will be working hard to brace this business against competition and maintain existing relationships in the 35

Toolspec Manufacturing Company

Part of:

The right tools

A story of growth for Arc Group’s Toolspec is being written as continued investment fuels its progress towards a successful future


riginally founded back in 1961 as a tool making company, Toolspec has developed over the years in line with changing customer requirements. Now, as part of the Arc Specialist Engineering group, the company is a manufacturer of tubular and section manipulations to be used in complex components and welded assemblies. Employing 60 people, in 2014 Toolspec turned over £6 million, demonstrating marked growth over its recession low of £3.5 million in 2010 and does so by flexibly producing components and assemblies in volumes from ten to 1500 per week.


Testament to Toolspec’s high quality, specialist expertise is its customer base, which includes blue chip names such as Jaguar Land Rover, Opel, JCB, Case New Holland and CAT, across the automotive, off-highway/construction and agricultural sectors. “We are competitive and competent,” begins CEO, Mark Blythe. “At our core is the ability to manipulate and fabricate tubular structures, but it is our ability to apply this to highly complex assemblies that enables us to provide to sectors such as the automotive industry.” Illustrating this, the company holds a showcase of quality standards including TS16949 and JLRQ accreditation. With 55 people making the components

supported by five experienced toolmakers, the company has the capability to provide bespoke products ranging from under chassis, NVH (Noise Vehicle Harmonics Brace) and door, to brake system, fluid moving, ring rolled and hollow section manipulated applications. Both robotic and manual welding solutions, pressing and fabrication facilities, CAD and CAM systems, and on-site prototype development services support this. With sales targeted to grow to new levels within the coming years, Toolspec has recently implemented, and is currently undergoing, a period of focused investment – part of which has been funded by AMSCI (Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative). Sponsored by JCB for the funding, the business received around 10 per cent of its total capital investment of £840,000 from AMSCI, which has significantly helped the company expand its business, reduce waste and lead times, and has already successfully landed the company further important deals. “The most significant investment of this period has been into two state-of-the-art bending

machines and a machining centre,” explains Mark. “The bending machines are the biggest revelation. They speed up the whole process and cut out most of the waste through measurable accuracy and quality. This allows us to make things better and faster and means we are better positioned to hunt down bigger contracts. It takes us closer to achieving our ‘one-stop-shop’ goal, making ever more complex components.” Another key addition to the company’s facilities in this programme was a new CADCAM system. “We had always CAD-designed the tooling, but then had to reverse engineer that onto a drawing,” Mark continues. “Now we can do everything much more efficiently with our new machining centre and have been able to significantly reduce lead times and costs for our

At our core is the ability to manipulate and fabricate tubular structures, but it is our ability to apply this to highly complex assemblies that enables us to provide to sectors such as the automotive industry 37

Toolspec Manufacturing Company

customers.” Future investments are targeted to include additional sub-400 tonne pressing facilities, additional break pressing facilities and a five-axis 3D laser cutting machine. Investment programmes of this type are critical in making Toolspec a much more flexible and reactive company in a market that is constantly evolving, but Mark comments on the need to continue the company’s growth trajectory in order to alleviate the pressures felt by ongoing and fluctuating market stresses. “Whilst the automotive and agricultural markets are performing well at present, we are seeing

a unstable marketplace in the construction sector and therefore a downturn in off-highway products. The challenge at the moment is seeing these markets reducing in volumes as this means that we need to be more diverse and proactive in looking for more customers and product ranges. We always want to win more work as when one market catches a cold we can become hit quite quickly,” he says. “By spreading out further over a larger commodity sector, we will become less reliant on one particular market sector, or a few leading customers, to maintain our success. Therefore, buoyed by the financial stability, passion for investment and innovation, and continued acquisitive growth afforded to us by being part of the Arc Group, we hope to see the business double over the next three years.”

Toolspec Manufacturing Company Ltd Products: Part of the ARC Group, specialises in the manufacture of tubular and hollow section structures for the automotive, construction and agricultural industries


Part of:

Cooper Coated Coil Laufenberg


coil A member of Arc Specialist Engineering since 2013, niche specialist designer, producer and worldwide distributor of pre-coated metals Cooper Coated Coil is renowned for its high quality niche coating capabilities in the housewares and other niche manufacturing markets


nown as Custom Coil Coaters until the founder of the business sold the company, Cooper Coated Coil (CCC) has built a reputation across the globe as market leaders within the non-stick coatings industry since its inception almost 50 years ago. Now known by its acronym CCC, its customers produce over 45 million pieces of bakeware from metal coils coated at its site in Wolverhampton each year. Based at its site since 2009 after major investment in a new process line, the company has been operating as a one-stop-shop for the past six years, with all manufacturing capabilities and support functions operating under one roof. “CCC has been around since 1966 and is a specialist coil coater, which means we apply paint to steel and aluminium coils in a continuous process. The coil coating industry is global and normally operated by the major steel and aluminium manufacturers in the world, however we are niche specialists in the design, production and distribution of pre-painted metal

for the domestic bakeware, domestic appliances, houseware, and certain other niche industrial manufacturing sectors. What we essentially do is buy steel or aluminium coils and paint them; our real forte is non-stick coating, so we put coatings like Teflon and other liquid organic coatings onto a moving metal surface,” begins Kevin Tranter, Managing Director of Cooper Coated Coil. With a globally established reputation as a specialist in the application of non-stick coatings for these niche markets, the company’s customers include major retailers such as John Lewis and William Sonoma as well as bluechip grocers such as ASDA, Tesco, J. Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s. “William Sonoma is the most prestigious kitchenware store in the world and is based in the US, however our products are also delivered across Europe and into the Far East. We export into China; it is here that our material is used in the manufacture of domestic steam irons for the likes of Morphy Richards in the UK or Hamilton Beach for the US market,” highlights Kevin.

Despite facing competition from Chinese spray coating companies, CCC is confident in its ability to deliver efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly coating solutions to 39


The Swiss company ILAG develops and produces high-quality coatings as non-stick, easy-clean and low-friction coating systems for the world market. ILAG coatings are used as consumer products in the cookware and bakeware industry as well as in industrial technical applications in the automotive, renewable energies and composites industries, and as mould release coatings. This range of coatings comprises both advanced fluoropolymers and ceramic coating systems. ILAG applies strict standards in its manufacturing operations, thereby sustainably protecting the environment, natural resources and its employees. The outstanding properties of ILAG coatings, tailor-made for its application, deliver impressive results. Along with its own broad portfolio of products, the company also develops special solutions based on individual customer requests and requirements.


customers. Key to providing these benefits is the company’s modern and well-equipped facility, which features a one-metre wide coil coating line that is capable of handling coil weights of up to 12 tonnes; two rotary coil slitting lines and three cut to length lines, as Kevin explains: “For the operation of the two rotary coil slitting lines, we put a wide coil on and slit it down to a number of strands because we usually coat the order in a bulk wide coil. This means we can produce large amounts of coil and then break that master coil down so our customers receive their coil in the size they require in the quickest time possible. “To further enhance our flexibility and capability to deliver in short lead times, we have two slitting and three cut to length lines; this means we can supply coil or sheets to our customers depending on their level of automation on presses. Because of our efficiency, we aim to deliver the product to the customer in 14 to 21 days from the date of order.”

Cooper Coated Coil The equipment used by the company at its site is relatively young, with its main coating line acquired approximately seven years ago as part of a £5 million investment in the site. On top of this, the company invested in a state-of-the-art environmental control system three years ago as a way to treat the leftover solvent from the solvent based coatings. “Another way we deliver environmentally friendly solutions is through painting the steel as opposed to spraying it on a spray coating line, as some of our competitors do. With our process we get around 95 per cent of the product onto the steel, while our Chinese competitors lose approximately 40 per cent to the local atmosphere through spraying,” states Kevin. Benefiting from being part of the autonomous and non-corporate Arc Specialist Engineering group, CCC is able to operate in an independent manner, making it easier for the company to respond to market trends and customer requests. This manner of working is clearly proving fruitful for CCC, with the company reaching annual sales of £24 million currently. Although an impressive number for a 70 strong niche organisation, Kevin’s strategic

vision for the company is to reach £30 million and beyond over the next three to five years. Key to this vision is an increase on consumer facing work at locations such as the BBC Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham, which the company exhibited at in November 2015. “Our consumer facing company brand is called Glidex, which enables us to talk to and educate consumers on the quality difference between our products and those made in the Far East. A lot of well known brands import products in the bakeware arena from China and evidence from our laboratory show these products have a lower quality standard, while ours also have a longer lifetime. We want to reach out to consumers and show them the benefits of our products,” concludes Kevin.

Cooper Coated Coil Products/Services: Functional coatings for the baking products market 41

Kentec Electronics

Vital production

Continuous investment is the defining factor to Kentec’s ambitious growth plans as it looks to continue providing the global market with quality and robust life-safety systems Above: PCB Finishing – Flow Soldering Left: Control Panel Sub-Assembly Next page, left: PCB Final Assembly – Cell manufacturing employing Kanban and consignment stock Right: Control Panel Final Assembly – All panels supplied by Kentec are manufactured and assembled in house


elebrating its 30th year in business this year, Kentec Electronics has established itself as a leading player supplying open protocol fire panels to the global market. With demand for life safety control systems ever on the rise, Kentec is seeing growth in all of its markets around the world. By implementing a constant programme of investment, the company ensures it is able to exploit this demand and as such has experienced record growth over the past year. This year, the company expects to turn over close to £14.5 million, with a sales split of 45/55 to domestic and export markets, respectively. “The company is best known in the global


market for quality, simple to use products delivered with a fast turnaround,” begins General Manager, Jonathan Gilbert, highlighting the foundations of the company’s exemplary reputation. It is a reputation that sees its system installed as the predominant platform on the London Underground, in royal residences and in every application from marine to student accommodation sites.

At the heart of this reputation is research and development, which, like everything else in the company, is managed and operated in-house. “The founders of the company came from the fire industry originally, and this ethos has continued so that much of our management also comes from this sector,” explains Jonathan. “This means we have a good background in and understanding of the market and its

Ai Engineering

At Ai International we have a comprehensive range of anti-static materials to cover a variety of applications within the electronics and electrical industries. The range includes carrier materials used in production, PSBs, terminal boards, machine covers, cleanroom wall cladding and ESD cabinet materials. Additionally, we offer a full range of engineering materials including fire retardant, low smoke and non-toxic plastics used in aerospace and rail applications, as well as food approved materials used widely within manufacturing. To complement this offering we are able to provide material selection support and the machining of finished parts to provided specifications.


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Kentec Electronics Left: Taktis group: A new concept in life safety system management Below left: Sigma XT Extinguishant Control Panel Below right: Syncro Two or Four Analogue Addressable Fire Control Panels

Azcon CSL

Azcon CSL Ltd is a franchised electronic component distributor and supply-chain management services provider based in Essex. Combined with its manufacturing division, K2A Electronic Manufacturing Services, it is in the unique position to offer a wide range of quality products and services to its clients. Its business philosophy and objectives are clearly set to offer such products and services to the most discerning clients, building true business partnerships en route. Congratulations to Kentec for turning 30! Azcon CSL is delighted to have been a valued supplier to Kentec for many years and looks forward to supporting the business for many more.


Essentra plc is a FTSE 250 company and a leading global provider of essential components and solutions. Through its strategic business units, Essentra focuses on the light manufacture and distribution of high volume, essential components which serve customers in a wide variety of end-markets and geographies. With over 50 years expertise in electrical components Essentra has become a major supplier of plastic components to the electrical and electronics industries. As an innovative designer and manufacturer, Essentra specialises in fasteners, circuit board hardware, wire routing products, cable ties, clips, clamps, fibre optics and telecommunication accessories, providing a global presence with local support.

requirements. We keep close contact with all our customers and listen to their feedback in order to develop and deliver the best products.” As such, in 2016, the company will be launching

Quality is paramount within the fire industry, and with a current output of 40,000 panels a year set to grow, it is key to the company’s performance to deliver this consistently. “We of course have a lot going on in terms of quality and safety checks at every stage of the process,” continues Jonathan. “We also do a lot of our own pre-release valuation and validation tests to ensure everything works and is implemented properly. This is in addition to meeting the wider market standards in the fire industry, which we always strive to exceed.” In order to have complete control of the manufacturing process, Kentec is responsible for every stage from sheet metal work through to the end product and continually invests to make sure it is able to do this as efficiently as possible. “We have ambitious growth plans and over the last few months the factory has been shipping 40 per cent more than it was this time last year,” explains Jonathan. “This year alone we have invested in an additional surface mounted machine, a selective soldering system, which automates part of the tricky soldering processes freeing up personnel to be redeployed elsewhere and a second flatbed printer. We are also upgrading the original printer so we have two of these latest models. In addition to this

the Taktis panel, an innovative panel that has taken all the recent comments into account regarding existing products and future needs. With the gradual emergence of internet connectivity and intelligent buildings, the Taktis focuses particularly on integration and can be re-configured to realise many other control and indication applications, whilst retaining the quality and ease of use that so defines the company’s offering. “This is typical of our approach to development. We don’t ever want to put to market something that isn’t needed – we need to develop things that we know are needed and will be of benefit to the market,” Jonathan adds. 45

Kentec Electronics Top left: AOI – Automatic optical inspection for surface mount Cemtre: ATE – Sophisticated computerised automatic test equipment Bottom: PCB Finishing – Flow Soldering

we have done lots of in-house studies looking at how to achieve greater efficiencies in factory layout and other aspects of the lines. “We have also invested in a new computerised system called KIPPS (Kentec Intuitive Production Planning System), which has been tailored specifically to our needs and is continually being developed accordingly. Implemented early this year we are already seeing huge differences in flow rate, factory planning, and quality, including a new bar-coding system to track the parts and assembly at each stage.” Jonathan highlights that one of his goals for Kentec is to increase exports to 75 per cent of the company’s total sales, in line with further growth in the UK as well, and investment into capacity increases are vital to achieving this. “It is a challenge to increase the volume of manufacturing without affecting quality and delivery, so investing in more people and machinery, and getting more out of the facility is really important,” he says. “It is about being

able to fulfil our growth plans, not just by getting more people to buy, but by actually being able to manufacture for and supply the demand that is continually increasing.” And this very much defines Kentec’s vision. The next year will be focused on introducing Taktis to the market as well as driving further investments into the facilities in its never-ending quest for continues improvement. “In its simplest form, our long-term vision is to ensure that we continue manufacturing more products to grow our business and that we are recognised as a key global supplier of fire panels,” Jonathan concludes.

Kentec Electronics Ltd Services Specialist manufacturers of life safety fire control systems

Packaging Solutions designed to suit you! Maidstone Packaging, is a leading supplier of packaging, including made-to-measure cartons, Stock Cartons, Bubble Wrap, Pallet Wrap and Packaging Sundries such as Business Card Boxes and Rubber Bands. No matter your packaging needs we can advise you and help you find the right type of packaging for you. All our packaging materials are delivered promptly to your door, for your convenience. Maidstone Packaging Supplies Ltd Unit 7C Lodge Road, Staplehurst, TN12 0QY T: 01622 631 223 M: 07768 004 219 F: 01622 631 816 E:


Gooch & Housego Laufenberg



A world leader in its field, Gooch & Housego (G&H) researches, designs, engineers and

manufactures advanced photonic systems, components and instrumentation for applications in the Aerospace & Defence, Industrial, Life Sciences and Scientific Research sectors


ts expertise extends from research through the development of prototypes to volume manufacturing and enables innovation and effective manufacturing in the aerospace & defence, industrial, life sciences and scientific research (Big Science) sectors. Researching and manufacturing in eight sites across the US and UK, G&H is an expert across a uniquely broad range of photonic technologies – crystal growth, optical materials processing, acousto-optics and electro-optics, fibre optics,

DFB laser modules, precision optics (thin-film coating, birefringent optics, non-linear, planar and aspheric), RF driver electronics in addition to light measurement and calibration solutions. When combined with the company’s optical, mechanical, electronic and software design capabilities, G&H is able to provide complete optical system design, engineering and manufacturing services, if applicable on an ITAR / non-ITAR basis, with COTS or bespoke products. To give more of a specific example, in the Industrial area, Gooch & Housego serves a number of markets, including: • Industrial Lasers for materials processing applications • LED and Display testing for commercial and industrial applications in the lighting, automotive and consumer electronics sectors as well as for aerospace & defence • Metrology for laser-based, high-precision, non-contact measurement systems • Semiconductor for lithography and test and measurement applications

• Sensing for applications including strain, temperature and pressure sensing • Telecommunications specifically for high reliability and high performance applications

The broad range of expertise found at the organisation has been accrued over almost seven decades in business. When it was founded in 1948 its core skills were centred on manufacturing scientific optical components and crystalline materials, and these skills are still very much at the 47

cornerstone of the current operations at Ilminster with global sales of acousto-optics, crystal optics and precision optics. From these origins as a craft-based optical engineering company rich in practical optical manufacturing skills, G&H has undergone a transformation over the last 20 years into a high-technology photonics business through an acquisition policy of the best-in-breed companies in individual technology areas. The company now has manufacturing sites in the US in California, Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio in addition to its three UK facilities located in Ilminster, Glenrothes and Torquay. In 1997 Gooch & Housego was admitted to the alternative investment market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange. Today the company also includes sales offices in France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore with additional representation by a global network of distributors. The transformation mentioned previously involved a series of strategic acquisitions, beginning in 1995 with Optronic Laboratories. The two latest were added in 2013, with the purchase of both a Scottish and a Greek company. Spanoptic Ltd’s manufacturing capabilities in the area of aspheres and infrared optics enabled G&H to offer a more complete range of precision optical products. The


company was founded in 1976, employed 60 people in a 1000 ft² / 90m² facility in Glenrothes, Scotland – just north of the Firth of Forth and 50 miles from Edinburgh. Meanwhile Constelex Technology Enablers Ltd, an Athens, Greece, based designer and manufacturer of advanced photonic systems was purchased to boost G&H’s Systems Technology Group (STG) and its remit of developing a higheradded-value capability at the sub-systems and systems level. The Constelex acquisition brought added expertise in the area of satellite and space photonics.

The Systems Technology Group

The Systems Technology Group (STG) was established in 2013 to function as a separate business unit to design, develop, and prototype systems-level products. Its multi-disciplinary team, with expertise in mechanical, electronic, and software design and modelling, is integrating these technologies with G&H’s expertise in photonics. The STG accelerates G&H’s move up the value chain by providing a strong pipeline of component and sub-systems. The STG relies on government funding for some of its work, although not all the grants it receives

Gooch & Housego are from the Government. These funded programmes are strategically selected and managed to create lasting value, and they need to lead to application targeted technology development and viable products. The STG is currently focused on OCT, fibre optics in the general sense, which includes lasers, sensing and also satellite communications. The defence and avionics markets are two of G&H’s largest business sectors and have been important drivers for its investment in operational quality and programme management. As the defence sector focuses on value and sustaining its wide array of platforms, G&H sees strong opportunities for photonics as a superior replacement for many existing technologies. In addition, the STG is actively developing erbium-doped fibre amplifier (EDFA) systems for next generation satellite deployment to enable broadband satellite connectivity. Building on its successful use in science missions, photonics is in the process of being qualified for widespread applications for both satellite-to-satellite communication and on-board satellite data processing and routing. G&H’s strategy is to position itself as a lead supplier of space photonics solutions by continuing to work with major government agencies and contractors on groundbreaking scientific demonstrations. Ultimately, the organisation believes that the high-reliability design and production of components and systems for satellites under the stringent requirements of space flight environment has general applicability to a wide range of other defence and commercial avionic markets. It also believes that life sciences applications, with their worldwide markets and strong benefits to society, offer the largest potential for G&H’s expansion. G&H is the established leader in fibre optical subsystems for optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT has now become a standard ophthalmic diagnostic tool and is being deployed into multiple other applications such as cardio and cancer imaging. In order to pursue its ambitious plans for the future, G&H is investing in targeted bio-medical applications, developing new products and capabilities.

Gooch & Housego Products: Photonics systems

OHARA – Your Supplier of Optical Materials For more than 80 years OHARA has been recognized as a worldwide leading provider of optical and technical materials. OHARA’s materials have been designed into many challenging optical and optoelectronic key technologies.

Optical Glass: With over 140 glass types, OHARA offers a broad portfolio of leading edge materials which are used in binoculars, camera lenses, microscopes, measurement devices, and all other classical optical applications. Special glasses like high UV transmitting Y-types are used in microlithography or astronomical applications. Over 20 different L-types are adapted to the requirements of low process temperature in precision moulding. OHARA’s optical glasses are available in strip form, and also as near lens shape mouldings for economical use in the polishing processes at our customer’s production site. Glass Ceramic: OHARA’s low-thermal-expansion glass ceramic CLEARCERAM-z® offers superior properties including chemical resistance, dimensional stability, and machinability. Our material is specified when the highest performance is needed. For example, in reference elements for semiconductor production devices, as bodies for modern

laser gyroscopes, or as mirror substrates for astronomical applications. OHARA supplies discs, and machined blanks, with diameters up to 2000 mm. Fused Silica: OHARA produces high quality fused silica utilizing the VAD production method. Our SK-1300 Fused Silica series offers excellent homogeneity and internal quality. Our materials are widely used in visible, infrared, and laser applications. For fiber production, OHARA supplies various types of fused silica in the form of tubes and rods.

Polished Wafers and Substrates: All OHARA materials are available in extremely thin double side polished substrates. Typical dimension ranges and surface quality: -diameter: 4 ~ 12 inch -thickness: 100 µm ±10 µm -Ra >0.1 nm ( available in square or round shapes - if requested, with SEMI orientation flat or notch and laser labelling of your specified serial number in barcode or clear writing formats )

Please contact us with your requests: OHARA GmbH Im Langgewann 4, 65719 Hofheim a. Ts. Germany Phone +49 6192 9650 50 • 49

Tetronics International

A matter of great


Tetronics International, a global leader in the supply of Direct Current plasma arc systems for a wide range of resource recovery and hazardous waste treatment applications, is currently using its expertise in a number of groundbreaking projects.


roud to be the most experienced plasma company in the world, Tetronics International has developed a strong reputation over the last five decades for producing high quality clean plasma technology for maximum resource recovery, as well as the highest levels of hazardous material destruction. From its Swindon headquarters, the company boasts one of the most comprehensive trials facilities in Europe due to its unique range of highly flexible pilot scale furnaces for conducting plasma trials across a broad range of material processes. This location is also home to its manufacturing plant, where technology is developed in advance of its supply to customers.


“Tetronics International was founded in 1964 to develop and use plasma arc technology, which we now use to treat a wide variety of harmful waste streams as well as to recover valuable resources from spent materials. These applications include turning hazardous wastes such as Air Pollution Control residues and asbestos into building products as well as the treatment of toxic Spent Potliner generated during the manufacturing of aluminium. Resource recovery from spent materials include precious metals from electronic waste and catalytic converters found in cars, along with the recovery of base metals from electric arc furnace dusts,” explains Graeme Rumbol, CEO of Tetronics International. He continues: “We often describe plasma arc as a ‘synthetic lightning’. It is used to transform spent materials into substances that are benign to the environment while also producing valuable by-products for use elsewhere in industry. We supply this technology to numerous companies all across the world, which use it for a range of different applications.” Indeed, as its name suggests, the ISO 9001,

and ISO 14001 certified company boasts a global customer base, with more than 90 plasma systems installed and commissioned across four continents around the globe. “Many of these facilities have been operating for years in some of the most challenging industrial environments across a wide and varied range of applications,” notes Graeme. Following installation, Tetronics International continues to work with its customers to develop or upgrade the treatment facilities and provide specialist advice as well as spares and service. The most recent example of the company’s technological capabilities can be seen at the Duesmann & Hensel Recycling plant in Frankfurt, Germany, with its plasma arc technology going live in August 2015. A global player in the precious metals recycling field, Duesmann & Hensel Recycling is responsible for approximately ten per cent of the global recycled automotive catalytic converter market. In line with the German firm’s operations, Tetronics International’s plasma arc technology is being used to process and recover valuable precious metals from catalytic converters;

BJD Crushers

UK crushing equipment manufacturer, BJD Crushers Ltd, has supplied its Flextooth and Hammermill crushers for operation in Tetronics’ plasma arc precious metal recovery installations around the world. The equipment is used for primary reduction of feedstock and to reduce the cast sheet of recovered precious metal following separation in the plasma system, making it ready for sampling and further processing. 51


Tetronics International

BDI Cooling

BDI Cooling, part of Bijur Delimon International, is a leading provider of UK manufactured fluid and temperature control solutions, delivering precision equipment worldwide to a diverse range of industries. BDI Cooling is proud to design and manufacture specific solutions to Tetronics International that match their project requirements.

Right: Furuya plant overflow Below left: Trials facility in Swindon, UK Below right: DHR furnace


Rospen Industries has been supplying the furnace feed formulation and decanting stations to Tetronics International for over ten years. During this period, using Rospen Industries experience in accurate powder dosing and handling systems aligned with the close support of the Tetronics staff, it has been able to continually improve the final product ensuring a homogenous mix is consistently provided on demand to the Tetronics plasma furnace.

these are then reused in car exhaust systems in modern cars as a way to reduce pollutants. “Germany has an excellent reputation for recycling scrapped cars and we’re delighted we’re able to further support them with their efforts,” states Graeme. Precious metals found in converters include platinum group metals (PGMs), which are essential for a range of manufacturing processes. Tetronics International’s process concentrates these valuable PGMs for resale by a factor of x25; it also makes them available via wet chemistry so they can re-enter the supply chain, thus enabling them to be used in the production of new products. Meanwhile, in the same process, hazardous elements contained in less valuable material are transformed, with the waste turned into an approved, inert reusable building product called Plasmarok®. This strong, environmentally stable product has gone through comprehensive testing to ensure it meets BS EN 13242:2002 standards and is suitable for use in road paving, pipe bedding and other markets. Discussing the markets that Tetronics International operates in, Graeme notes: “Precious metal recovery is certainly an area where we continue to see success. At the moment, our

installed technology has the capacity to process 13.7k tonnes of converter core material (roughly equivalent to 13.7m catalytic converters); however that number is set to rise to 17.5k tonnes in the next few months. In addition to the plant in Frankfurt, we also recently supplied our technology to Duncan Recycling and Refining in Oklahoma, the US. The plant there will be doing much the same as Duesmann & Hensel Recycling and has the capacity to process around two million catalytic converters every year.” Alongside these two projects, Tetronics International has been working on two further groundbreaking projects, one of which involves the development of a new, transportable system that will destroy chemical weapons in the heart of conflict zones for quicker disposal. Commissioned £500,000 by the UK government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Tetronics International aims to develop its plasma arc technology into a fully transportable system that can crack or reform the chemical composition of hazardous chemicals such as mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin. The other groundbreaking project that the company is leading aims to unlock value in discarded electronic products through the 53

Tetronics International

Tetronics CEO: Graeme Rumbol

Caldo Engineering

Caldo Engineering has been supplying compact and cost-effective pollution control systems to Tetronics International for more than ten years. Based on ceramic filtration, Caldo’s hot gas treatment systems take the off-gas generated by Tetronics’ plasma furnaces and process it through oxidiser and filter vessels so it can be released to atmosphere in compliance with the EC2000/76 directive. Caldo engineers work closely with their Tetronics counterparts to ensure optimum performance for their customers.


utilisation of plasma, as Graeme highlights: “A report from the United Nations University found that £34 billion worth of recyclable materials found in electronic waste is being discarded all around the world – this includes £7 billion worth of gold. It’s shocking this happens when technology exists to process this waste. For example, our plasma arc technology can recover >98 per cent of the precious metals found in electronic waste. “We led a consortium of firms which received a £600k grant from Innovate UK to develop and demonstrate the UK’s first integrated plasma facility for the sustainable processing of electronic waste to pure precious metal. The first eight months have gone well and it’s expected to be up and running by mid-2016. Using plasma, we can – and indeed should – expect to see the environmentally friendly recovery of electronic waste becoming more and more prevalent around the world.” As the volume of hazardous waste continues to increase due to growing populations, evolving legislation and increased consumerism, Tetronics International sees opportunities for growth in

the market and anticipates further demand for its innovative solutions. “There are several factors that are creating ideal market conditions for our plasma solutions. For example, the adoption of a complete material cradle to grave lifecycle and the changing view of waste as a valuable resource, as well as the diversification of resources looking to be recovered as demand for secondary material sources increases. “Moving forward, we will be continuing to grow our operations in areas such as China and North America, as well as aiming for further export success and growth in the UK. In line with this progression, we will of course be developing further applications of our plasma technology,” he concludes.

Tetronics International Products: Direct current plasma arc systems


F Showered with


As Britain’s most successful independent shower manufacturer, Aqualisa provides innovative showering solutions incorporating mixer, electric and digital (which it calls smart) technologies

ounded in 1977 and based in Westerham, Kent, Aqualisa leads the market in digital shower technology, which is also referred to as smart showering. The company embodies a strong spirit of innovation and was established with the manufacture of its patented thermostatic, bi metallic Thermocoil valve. This safe, reliable and easy to use and install solution was designed to alleviate the nuances of the British plumbing system and would go on to revolutionise British shower design and manufacture. Today the Thermocoil design remains a strong product and continues to sell well in the market. During 2001, Aqualisa launched another groundbreaking technology solution when it designed and patented the world’s first smart digital shower. Using a pioneering technology that sees the shower controlled by a remotely sited processor, smart showers have since become an established showering technology in their own right. Aqualisa smart showers are distinct from conventional thermostatic showers, allowing for simple installation, compatibility with all types of domestic plumbing systems, innovative functionality and water-saving features. The company is today headed by CEO David Hollander who, prior to working with Aqualisa, was Managing Director for the UK and Ireland at Dyson for seven years. Additionally, David has held a number of sales and commercial directorships, including roles at Total Home 55

Aqualisa Ombg

Ombg is a company that has operated for more than 30 years, specialised in the production of thermostatic mixing valves with its own production of thermostatic cartridges and known for the ability to create ‘tailored’ items following the specific requirements of its various customers all over the world. Among those customers, one of the most important on the UK market, is Aqualisa, whose brand is known and esteemed for its seriousness and professionalism. Ombg shares with Aqualisa the same passion for innovation and design, the same aim to satisfy customers and focus on quality and the equal pride to be a specialised and skilled company. Ombg products meet the quality and the high performance standards as expected and tested by BuildCert and NSF-WRc. The Ombg conception of the thermostatic mixer is not only technical and functional but a product with elegance, a clean and simple design that remains enjoyable over the time.

European Springs & Pressings

European Springs & Pressings are a leading manufacturer of springs, pressings and wire forms to clients worldwide. Working with Aqualisa on projects from the design stage, their ability to offer FE analysis, supported by rapid prototype development, enables Aqualisa to bring cutting edge multifunctional concepts into reality. By tailoring tooling solutions to demand, European Springs & Pressings provide cost effective production from hundreds through thousands to millions of components. Working with European Springs & Pressings gives Aqualisa both the technical and competitive edge that today’s demanding market requires for success.

Entertainment and the Walt Disney Company. Joining Aqualisa during January 2014, David brought with him a wealth of industry experience and a spirit of innovation, which has allowed the company to develop a strong growth strategy despite the lingering effects of the global recession. “My experience at Dyson allowed me to develop a blueprint for leading a growth strategy based on innovative products. Although the business operates within a different market, with different products, I am refining that strategy at Aqualisa,” David reflects. 57

“Before joining Aqualisa, I had no experience in the bathroom market, but I have found that my experience in a number of industries has helped me to take a fresh look at how we do things and so far it seems to be having the necessary impact,” he adds. “Aqualisa has a fantastic brand and great products, which have helped sustain the business during the recession, despite a period of decline. On my appointment my role was to turn the business around by focusing on its key strengths. This meant ignoring all opportunities that were not in the shower systems market and that were not located within the UK and Ireland. This strategy worked and we have now enjoyed two years of growth and expect this to continue.” During September 2015 it was announced that the private equity firm, LDC had backed the management buyout of Aqualisa from RBS and Sankaty Advisors. The investment of LDC was agreed following 18 months of increased revenue and profit at Aqualisa under David’s leadership, as well as the continued investment into new product launches. Commenting of the partnership with LDC, David says: “This is a vote of confidence in Aqualisa’s future from both LDC and management. It’s the best possible news for customers, colleagues and suppliers. Sankaty and RBS have been very supportive, both financially and with operational expertise over the past three years, consistently showing exceptional understanding of our industry and business goals. Partnering with LDC will allow us to pursue our rapid

Mariner Rubinetterie Srl

At Mariner we value and analyse the needs of each of our clients and we strive to improve our product offering to provide the highest level of service. The trading of our products is simple: we discuss and define product requirements to develop a clear offer to every detail, and the experience of our producers propose recommendations and solutions. Standing tall, looking ahead: means listening, knowing how to perceive and be able to interpret. This we hope to be a reference point for Mariner, the engine that drives spurs and achieves new goals. We believe that a long-term, profitable and successful relationship is based on trust, empathy and mutual understanding. We face the opportunities with customers, potential customers, suppliers and anyone else who shares our philosophy of quality. We are proud of our relationship with Aqualisa in supplying them with first class products and look forward to the future working together.



growth agenda, our obsession with showers and fast-track our ambitions.” Aqualisa manufactures products like its Thermcoil at its Westerham plant, where it also maintains a small molding facility to ensure the quality and availability of key parts for most of the company’s other valves and showerheads. Aqualisa also imports from trusted suppliers around the world, however unlike many other shower companies it does not buy finished goods, but instead assembles products on site. This practice adds further value to the Aqualisa product portfolio by enabling late stage customisation. In recent months, the strong growth of the business has made it necessary for Aqualisa to invest £500,000 in reorganising its plant facilities. “Our growth has meant that we have needed to take extra space in Westerham, which has given us the opportunity to reorientate the site to maximise efficiency,” David explains. “We have just signed a new ten-year lease, which is a great commitment to the company’s operations within the UK. Now that we have a growing business and a more efficient site we can look to expand our service.” Throughout its history Aqualisa has developed products with a variety of features for different market levels and price points. The company’s innovative products are based on original technology, including its latest smart shower, Infinia, for example. Infinia represents a design led product with a low profile control plate of just 2.5mm, which sits almost flush to the wall. It was developed in response to consumer demand for spa-style showers. Through the continued introduction of revolutionary shower products, Aqualisa is keen to continue on its growth path and establish itself as a household name throughout the UK. “We challenged our designers here in the UK to give clients that require an electric shower a choice. Historically the electric shower has been a white box on the wall and owners are spending more and more time and money on personalising their homes to make them as attractive as possible. Two of our design teams competed with external suppliers and developed winning solutions,” David concludes. “From idea to execution all the work was done here in the UK. I believe that every home in the UK should have a smart shower from Aqualisa. It may take more than five years to achieve that goal, but we are well on the path.”


From idea to execution all the work was done here in the UK. I believe that every home in the UK should have a smart shower from Aqualisa. It may take more than five years to achieve that goal, but we are well on the path

Aqualisa Services: Independent shower manufacturer 59




True innovation has put Elddis at the forefront of the caravan industry and continued development looks set to secure its success for the foreseeable future


s a leader in the UK caravan industry Elddis has been no stranger to success over a history that extends back to 1964. However, over the last five years cutting edge innovation and continuous development has defined a new era of success, one that has transformed the company’s offering to the market and puts it at the forefront of the industry. Elddis’ range currently consists of a number of tourer models under the Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer brands, plus the Elddis collection of motorhomes. The offering covers a broad spectrum of budgets, berths, layouts and finishes, between them boasting a number of top sellers and award winners, but it is the business’s innovative SoLiD Construction system that has been the real driving force behind recent sales growth. Operating out of a 27-acre production facility in County Durham and manufacturing all timber components from furniture to external panels, Elddis’ coachbuilding expertise is second-to-none.


In 2010, after an almost-chance encounter with supply partner and adhesive specialist Henkel, the company began testing adhesive fixing for certain components in an attempt to improve aesthetic appeal. Unexpected and positive results followed, as too did a process of testing adhesive in place of mechanical fixings on a number of other components. “At this point our partners at Henkel started discussing the idea of substituting many of our mechanical fixings with adhesive solutions,” explains Associate Director and Head of Manufacturing at Elddis, Gary Jones. “However, wanting a bit more of a ‘WOW-factor’ that would have a big impact on the market, I was a bit unsure until Henkel suggested that we could bond the whole thing. Thus, SoLiD Construction was born.” Standing for Stronger, Lighter, Drier, SoLiD is the biggest single change to the Elddis business for a number of years and represents true innovation within the industry. “Essentially what we have done is replaced close to 100 per cent of all viable mechanical fixings such as screws

Dometic Group

As a major supplier to original equipment manufacturers and to the motorhome and caravan industry, Dometic Group is very proud to have been working with Elddis supplying Heki rooflights, blinds and refrigeration for over 20 years. With constant innovation, a passion for quality and a desire to make life simple whilst on the move, the collaboration ensures that Elddis customers benefit from Dometic’s expertise and reliability whenever they are away from home.

and bolts and replaced them with an adhesive bonding technique,” continues Gary. “This is a system not too dissimilar to the tried, tested and trusted bonding methods used in Formula One, super yachts and aeroplane fixings, so it has a reputation for being highly effective.” By spreading structural stresses evenly across all joints, the integrity and rigidity of Elddis vehicles has been vastly improved, hundreds of mechanical fixings have been removed resulting in unprecedented lightness, and an impervious barrier has been formed against water ingress. “In April 2011 we completed our first prototype in co-operation with Henkel technicians and began thorough testing. Despite initial scepticism by some in the company, the caravan remained structurally sound throughout the testing and many of our operatives became convinced that it was a viable alternative,” Gary says. This heralded a complete and uncompromising change within the business, which has been supported by consistent and relentless testing and development. So far, £1.3 million has been invested into full training – including that of the Retailer Network 61


- and in facility upgrades to aid the transition. In 2012 SoLiD Construction was launched on all caravans and motorhomes and, to date, the company remains the first and only manufacturer to structurally bond every one of its vehicles. “Development continues and Henkel won’t allow us to introduce any new components into the range without their sign off, so everything is fully tested before it reaches the market,” points out Gary, who has always been keen to allay any fears consumers may have about the lack of mechanical fixings. “In April of this year we took ‘Neptune Nine’ (our ninth prototype model) out to the Markbronn testing facility in Germany for further testing of new parts.” Over the course of three days ‘Neptune Nine’ underwent a full lifecycle test on a number of aggressive surfaces and a highly demanding rolling road facility, ultimately passing with flying colours. After 250 laps of the circuit and a 10,000km rolling road test, the vehicle was pushed to its limit, covering over 250,000km of real world, UK road conditions remaining structurally safe and sound, with no new part failures. However, despite such success, Elddis continues to forge


ahead and continues to use the data collected from the testing to drive more and more improvements into the construction system, creating an ever-impressive, ever-innovative range of products. Supporting this development, Elddis has also worked closely with its retail and service centres around the country to undergo the single largest training programme ever seen in the caravan industry. “Over the course of our testing and development, one key element that we had to design into the new structure was reparability, and therefore insurability, as accidents do inevitably happen once vehicles are out on the road,” says Gary. “In order to support this we have now trained, and continue to train, nearly 300 people from the retail network, to fully understand the bonding methods, the materials being used and how to take apart and repair the vehicles. They are then certified and approved by us to carry out the work that they will inevitably come into contact with on a daily basis. It is vital that we can provide this to our end-customers.” Now with four years of retail sales behind the company, SoLiD Construction is living up to its name, becoming the benchmark for build quality. “Whether buying for the first time or upgrading from another product, customers are asking for SoLiD by name. Buying a caravan or motorhome is a considered purchase and our customers are clearly doing their research and asking all the right questions,” says Gary, who attends all of the company’s shows and events with the SoLiD Construction team. With a sold out order book for another year on the 2016 models, the business is in a healthy position and Gary notes that the only challenge facing the company in this respect is how to increase capacity and build more to cope with rising demand. “They’re good problems to have though!” he concludes.

Elddis Products: Leading manufacturer of touring caravans and motorhomes 63

James Dewhurst

The looms at James Dewhurst hard at work



Innovative weaving business James Dewhurst has grown into one of the largest global manufacturers of flexible reinforcement materials


aving quickly earned a reputation as an innovator in adapting looms and processes for the production of fabrics in the first few years after opening for business in 1933, Lancashire based James Dewhurst Ltd had more than 140 looms in operation by the start of the World War II. With technical textiles entering the market in the 1950s, the company faced new challenges as the plastic and rubber industry began looking for open mesh scrims made from high tenacity yarns. In response to this, James Dewhurst spent the last three years of his working life finding a solution to this challenge; a level of patience and commitment that was rewarded with the launch of a new class of technical textile, scrims, which was patented as ‘Jamette’ scrim fabric. ‘Jamette’ became the forerunner of James Dewhurst’s high performance woven and laid scrims, now known as Dewlock and Dewtex. “In the early 1980s James Dewhurst developed its own proprietary laid scrim technology, which is


Laminated Scrims

now known as Dewtex. Instead of using traditional textile looms in a woven process, more open scrims were produced by arranging the yarns in two directions, the warp direction and the weft direction. These were then laid down in this pattern and glued together before being rolled up so the mechanical integrity of the scrim was not damaged,” explains Jean-Claude Abed, Group Sales

Director at James Dewhurst Ltd. “We are the only company to maintain this proprietary technology and are the only company to produce these laid scrims from our own unique process. All of our competitors use the more traditional rotary type process.” This unique process could produce scrims at more than three times the speed of conventional turbine looms and twice the width. However, following 20 years of continual development of James Dewhurst’s Dewtex technology, the company’s latest machines can now produce fabrics of more than five metres in width with weft insertion rates of over 3300 picks per minute. Further innovations followed, with James Dewhurst launching its first off-line coating and laminating unit in 1999, which led to the firm providing its customers with a range of highly competitive coating substrates by combining nonwoven materials with scrims. Now marketed as Combitex and used in roofing, flooring, composites and other applications, the creation of this technology led to an entire factory being

opened to support demand from the global market for the perfect coating substrate for their applications. The establishment of this new factory came in advance of the company’s expansion into Georgia, the US, in 2004 as a result of increased demand for Dewtex in locations such as Asia and North America. “In 2004 a decision was made by the family to expand into the US, with a factory established the same year. From 2004 until 2010 this factory was predominantly used for additional capacity for the European markets while the company worked on developing a market in the US.” As a result of these innovative developments, James Dewhurst boasted three key product divisions by 2007, the traditional industrial textile solutions, laminated scrims and reinforced scrims. With the company well-established, the family decided to sell the business to a private equity firm in 2008, the same year that James Dewhurst’s factory in the US increased in capacity in line with the introduction of the Triatex line making triaxial scrims that are suited for ducting applications. “We developed the Triaxial scrim in the US, it is still a laid scrim but instead of the 90 degree box look it has a more triangular look to it as it has a third element that means there are three different

directions of the yarn,” explains Jean-Claude. With $1 million recently spent on a second Triaxial scrim line in Georgia, Triatex now plays an integral role in the success of James Dewhurst, alongside its two other reinforcement scrims: Dewtex, the company’s market-leading laid scrim brand, which offers low profile and low scrim performance; and Dewlock, its woven scrim that offers superior geometry and tearing resistance. Leading in the development of flexible reinforcement solutions through open scrims or meshes, James Dewhurst’s three scrims are used in markets such as construction, flooring, filtration, packaging, automotive, and insulation. “We do a lot of business in construction markets, filtration and roofing,” confirms JeanClaude. “We are also developing a presence in the geo-textile market and are progressing into the hygienic wipes market globally; you may have seen in restrooms that there are paper towels to wipe your hands on and if you look closely you will see

An old look from the early days of James Dewhurst


Monosuisse, as one of the world`s leading producers of monofilaments has been a reliable partner for James Dewhurst Ltd for more than one decade. Our common philosophy about high quality, engineered products and ongoing developments, is the key for the success of both companies in the market. Monosuisse has four production facilities worldwide and offers an extensive range of monofilaments with special polymers for various applications. High tenacity multifilaments for technical applications are a new addition to our range of products. 65

James Dewhurst





these have a netting in them that allows people to pull on the paper towels within a rotary piece of equipment without tearing. This is a big market in Europe and the US, it is growing in Asia too. We also sell woven material to the automotive industry for the engineered parts of car seats, however this is a difficult market to get into as it is high spec and the cars have life cycles, but once you have a contract in place you are connected to the lifecycle of that car, lightweight conveyor belts for a wide range of applications, woven substrates for coating and specific woven fabrics for ardous uses such as flak jackets for the military. “In addition, we make glass woven materials that go into fibre reinforced composites such as windmill blades and other components to help create high-strength structural pieces. Ultimately the main performance attribute of our technology is strength and stability, we support other products through these capabilities.” Having sold more than one billion square metres of flexible reinforcement materials in 47 countries over the last two years alone, the company has enjoyed steady success despite the economic downturn; a feat that Jean-Claude puts down to a renewed focus on customer service. “We have not only maintained our market share, but grown it through a more customer-centric approach. By not only ensuring the material

reaches our customers promptly, but also developing close relationships with customers through open discussions and flexibility, we can deliver solutions that are more targeted for our customers’ requirements,” he highlights. With strengthened relationships in place, James Dewhurst is keen to continue its tradition for innovation by focusing on opportunities in the geo-textile/construction market through the development of higher Decitex yarns. “Now that we have overcome the technical challenges of producing the heavier yarn scrims demanded by this industry, we have begun aggressively pursuing geo-textile/construction business, including road paving, soil stabilisation and water retention applications. Having already gone through significant changes over the last two years, we are ready to expand and we are excited about the opportunities in the future,” concludes Jean-Claude.

James Dewhurst Ltd Products: Reinforcement scrims, laminated scrims and woven textiles

Husqvarna Laufenberg

Leading the


Innovation, sustainability and customer focus all sit at the heart of Husqvarna’s long history for success, and maintaining these commitments is key to it continuing well into the future


tretching back 325 years Husqvarna Group’s history is rich in innovation. Providing quality products and solutions to make garden, park and forest care as well as construction easier for professionals and consumers around the world, the group has a product and brand portfolio that includes names such as Flymo, McCulloch, Gardena and Husqvarna. With this portfolio behind it Husqvarna Group’s presence in many of its markets is unrivalled, taking a leading position in the global outdoor power products and European watering products markets, as well as sharing the top flight of the market for cutting equipment and diamond tools. In 2014, supported by over 14,000 employees in 40 countries, the business turned over SEK 33 billion with sales coming from over 100 different countries. With lawnmowers forming a core product offering for the company, Husqvarna Group has been leading the way for the last two decades with its innovative robotic lawnmowers. Its first

model was launched in 1995 and over the years since, technical development teams have been working tirelessly to continuously update and develop both the hardware and software. “The market for robotic mowers is strong in Europe at present and there is growing awareness regarding their advantages in the UK,” explains Caraline Robinson, Manufacturing Director for Husqvarna UK. “Twenty years of development is only one of the reasons why we now have by far the largest market share.” Today’s robotic lawnmower range consists of six models, each offering a range of specifications from a working area capacity of 600 square metres to 6000 square metres, and onecharge mowing time of 70 to 260 minutes. The robotic mower use an array of state-of-theart technology to regularly cut lawns with the capability to handle complex garden shapes and terrains in all weather conditions. With two decades of development engineered into its unique cutting system, which uses razor-like blades made from carbon steel, high reliability 67

Over the coming years we expect to invest further into new technology, with a particular focus on automation development, to achieve efficiency improvements, and visual management to support decisions in production


and low noise operation make Husqvarna’s product range a true leader in its field. With the twenty-first century currently going through the advent of the ‘The Internet of Things’, the innovative app allows robotic mower users to communicate with and GPS track their product from wherever they are in the world. However, it is not just its leading product development that has benefited from Husqvarna Group’s long history of innovation, but also its manufacturing capabilities. “The main strengths of the manufacturing organisation are both the skills and experience of its workforce and our focus on continuous improvement,” says Caraline. “This is supported by the Husqvarna Operating Systems (HOS), which is driven from the top and provides the tools and techniques to support waste elimination, standardised working, problem solving, value stream mapping and so on.” Key to this continuous improvement is continuous investment into facilities and capabilities. “We invest in new assembly facilities on an annual basis, with similar spend on new moulding equipment,” Caraline continues. “We have recently invested in our first ‘twinshot’ moulding machine due to increasing demand from our industrial designers for plastic components that have a more quality look and feel. Over the coming years we expect to invest further into new technology, with a particular focus on automation development, to achieve efficiency improvements, and visual management to support decisions in production.”

What results from such strengths is a manufacturing excellence that allows Husqvarna Group to continue producing highly innovative products and maintain its position in the market. However, it is also critical to the company’s ability to cope with seasonal conditions within the garden market. Caraline notes that there can be a variation in volume of finished goods production ranging from 2000 to 20,000 units a week depending on seasonal demand, and highlights Husqvarna Group’s unique flexibility to cope with such variation. “We recruit over 600 temporary employees annually in the UK, who we train to efficiently manufacture our products to the required high quality standards. Our permanent staff in production also work annualised hours, so they are working more hours per week during our busy time and less in the low season,” she outlines, going on to explain that strong supplier relationships are also crucial to this variable capacity. “This is one of the key factors of Husqvarna’s success,” she says. “Due to some components having long lead times, supplier communication and planning is vital in guaranteeing component supply for our highly seasonal business. In order to cover the quieter periods we have diversified into becoming a second tier supplier to the automotive industry, helping to guarantee work in our moulding area for 12 months.” Sustainability is also a core element of Husqvarna Group’s ongoing success and strong brand reputation in the global market. “In the UK we support this and last year we achieved ISO 50001 energy management accreditation,” she explains. “In accordance with this our energy team continually generate potential energy reduction ideas through energy audits. We also purchase all of our electricity from a provider who supplies 100 per cent green energy generated from wind.” As an international company Husqvarna Group was ranked in the Global Top 100 of most sustainable companies in 2014 and is a member of both the FTSE4Good Index and the STOXX Global ESG Leaders indexes. Being recognised amongst the leaders of global sustainability practices perfectly exemplifies the group’s commitment to delivering environmentally sound and safety conscious processes and products throughout the world. In terms of product initiatives, Husqvarna has developed a unique range of handheld battery tools, which includes trimmers and chainsaws, and combines zero


direct emissions with low vibration levels. Within Gardena’s watering range, new hoses are now free from phthalates and watering computers now make efficient watering easier. The group’s flat saws also became the first in the world to comply with both European and US legislation regarding emission regulations during 2014. In regards to safety, a new injury rate KPI for safety was implemented in order to establish a baseline for less severe/less frequent injuries to increase focus on corrective actions. Regarding the future Husqvarna Group has a clear plan in place in the form of ‘Strategy 2020’. The ultimate goal for this five-year strategy is to achieve total industry leadership with an even stronger end-customer and market focus as a profitable organisation. In the UK, Caraline outlines that achieving this strategic goal will be implemented through continuous expansion and supporting product development. “Over the next 12 months we will focus on further investments that support the growth in volume of robotic mowers, along with more efficiency improvements in both moulding and assembly. For instance, there will be 62 moulding machines on site by the end of the year, ranging in size from 50 tonnes to 1100 tonnes.” Husqvarna Group defines market leadership as being able to drive industry evolution in terms of innovation, end-customer focus and operational excellence. Product-wise it is clear that innovation has always been, and will continue to be, a core

competitiveness and its reputation for successful innovation in order to achieve its leadership ambitions over the next five years. In the shorter term, the group will be focusing on completing its Accelerated Improvement Programme, which was launched in 2013 with the aim to increase operating margins by ten per cent by 2016. By improving the mix of products and brands sold and reducing the cost of products sold, in 2014 Husqvarna Group successfully increased this margin by 1.9 per cent to 7.2 per cent overall. Focusing on operational excellence and the core brands, developing the dealer and retail business model and improving business in emerging markets will all be key to achieving ten per cent improvement over the coming year. A long history precedes today’s Husqvarna Group, but a clear direction defines its future. By remaining true to its core values of innovation, sustainability and customer focus, the group is on course to achieve its ambitions to lead the global industry in the near future.

Husqvarna of the business. To ensure this continues, the company is undergoing an extensive market research campaign to fully understand the diverse needs and demands of its market segments. By understanding this Husqvarna Group hopes to be able to hone its resource efficiency, its brand

Products: World’s largest producer of outdoor power products 69

Negri Bossi

Negri Bossi, a leading supplier of injection moulding machines, has had a major involvement with Husqvarna’s equipment investment programme. Having previously supplied a number of smaller machines, 2014 saw the installation of a new and much larger Vector series 1100 tonne machine. The ease of use, accuracy and superior energy efficiency demonstrated by the equipment, coupled with excellent technical support, has resulted in a strong partnership being developed. Three additional machines have consequently been ordered in 2015, 250 and 500 tonne Canbio series machines and a further 1100 tonne Vector series model.


CW Bearing is a leading manufacturer of high precision ball bearings with production facilities in China and Germany. CW delivers standard and customized solutions to all industrial sectors including the automotive industry. Deep business relationships as well as quality and innovation are the strengths of CW Bearing. Globally well known companies with major brands like Husqvarna have trusted in CW Bearing products for decades. This is also the reason why CW Bearing got the Best Supplier Award from Husqvarna in 2014. CW Bearing GmbH Am Neumarkt 34/36, 22041 Hamburg Tel: +49 (0) 40 67 10 80-10 Fax: +49 (0) 40 67 10 80-20 Email: 71

72 73

Wax Lyrical

An enthusiastic


Home fragrancing company Wax Lyrical is continuing to enjoy the sweet smell of success thanks to a focus on lean manufacturing and ongoing investment in both machinery and employees


riginally established by the Williams family in 1980 when they saw potential in the home fragrancing market while working as hotelier and restaurateurs, Wax Lyrical has changed hands and faced financial difficulties over the years before it was acquired and rebranded by Mike Armstead in 2006. Renamed Wax Lyrical in 2010, the company has become a true success story for British manufacturing following a strategic decision to manufacture 95 per cent of its products in-house. Indeed, it is in the scenic Lake District that Wax Lyrical’s team of 130 skilled and dedicated employees strive to produce and market more than 15 million high quality products to its global customer base through independent control over issues such as flexibility and quality. “We supply to 42 countries and 35 per cent of our sales come from exports,” confirms Joanne Barber, Managing Director at Wax Lyrical. Perfecting its innovative and unique products


in Ulverston, Cumbria, the company collaborates with the best fragrance houses in Europe to ensure customers receive true to life fragrances that come from the purest and finest ingredients. Offering customers a range of candles, reed diffusers, room mists, scented sachets and refresher oils from its own Wax Lyrical collections, the company’s products all emphasise its commitment to the best ingredients and materials, stunning designs and bold fragrances. Furthermore, the company has partnered with five prestigious brands, the Royal Horticultural Society, Jelly Belly, Fired Earth, Julie Dodsworth and Churchill China (UK) Limited Hidden World; by manufacturing these products under license, the company has further strengthened its appeal to a broad range of consumer groups. Although Wax Lyrical has significantly improved its services and the level of quality of its products since 2006, the company refuses to become complacent and has instead continued to invest in both machinery and its employees since last

appearing in Manufacturing Today Europe in March 2015. “Historically our manufacturing was in different locations, however in June 2015 we completed the relocation of our manufacturing operations into one hall. Following this development, we began to look into lean manufacturing training, which covers lean manufacturing simulation and the TIM WOOD (transport, inventory, movement, waiting and delays, over production, over processing and defects) seven wastes in manufacturing; we have also focused on some 5S (sort, straighten, shine, standardise and sustain) exercises. These exercises have really helped to improve the mindset of our employees with regards to manufacturing,” explains Joanne. On top of this, the company has also enjoyed a positive seven months of passing accreditations and assessments. As the first home fragrance factory to be awarded the British Retail Consortium (BRC) quality approval in 2009, Wax Lyrical has continued to earn this approval every year, with 2015 being no different. “We are proud to be awarded the BRC quality approval

for the seventh year running; additionally, we have been successfully accredited for the SEMTA 4 Pillar audit, which covers labour, health and safety, environment and business practices and were awarded a bronze accreditation for being Investors in People,” enthuses Joanne. Indeed, alongside these improvements in production, the company is also proud to offer opportunities for development to its employees; a strength that was recently highlighted by the BBC during the pre-election in early 2015. “As part of the pre-election BBC Breakfast was visiting UK manufacturing companies and we were delighted to welcome them on site. The production people interviewed some of our employees, most notably an employee who has been with us for 30 years and was being trained on a new piece of kit at the time. They also interviewed a member of staff who came into the company on a temp contract five years ago before moving into production and progressing into a laboratory where he is now doing further training,” says Joanne. “Furthermore, following our relocation and 75


Wax Lyrical

Continental Bottle Company Ltd

Continental Bottle Company’s (CBC) vision is to provide their customers with the highest level of customer service and be recognised in the home fragrance, perfume, and cosmetics market as the first choice for the supply of candle glass, glass bottles and quality closures. CBC strives to create new products and ranges to enhance the ever changing requirements of the industry. Its mission is to be the first choice for glassware, delivering products of outstanding quality and great service through its commitment, hard work and dedication to meet their customers’ requirements. CBC serves both large and small companies nationally and internationally, and the company attributes its success to the fact that it offers a wide range of exceedingly flexible services. Its full decoration service includes screen-printing, frosting, spraying, hot foil stamping, sublimation and metallisation. This can be supplied on bottles or glasses for wax fill. Future investment in new innovative projects and designs ensures that CBC remains at the forefront of the industry. CBC has a wealth of experience and design know-how contributing to quality and excellence in all parts of the design process. CBC is here as your first choice on custom projects to complement your packaging requirements.

lean manufacturing training we have been looking into cross-skilling and up-skilling our labour force, a strategic decision that has been made easier by the fact everyone is now in one area. We definitely believe in investing in our people and growing our own, which in turn helps Wax Lyrical to produce high quality products. About 40 per cent of our staff have been with us for more than ten years, so this is clearly an ethos that truly works for both us and our employees,” she adds. Alongside investing in its people, Wax Lyrical has further strengthened its focus on efficiency with investments in machinery that enhances how the company wicks as well as the cooling process. “We have changed some of our automatic wicking operations, which has enabled us to improve production rates and the quality of the product. This is the same with the cooling process; these investments have not only enhanced quality but also increased capacity during production. We are very much focused on driving efficiencies in manufacturing to ensure we remain competitive and this trend is certain to continue during the first quarter of 2016. For example, during this time period we have set out automation plans for tealight packing and have some new labelers that will be brought into production; these will allow us to label more efficiently and give us versatility on shapes and sizes that will enable us to put more labels into a product,” explains Joanne. With preparations set for the first quarter of 2016, Wax Lyrical’s attentions are now turning to the festive season, with a number of products developed and launched this year. “We have launched our first candle advent calendar as well as gift sets for the 12 days of Christmas,” highlights Joanne. “These have been well-received by the market and were developed from the principles we have learnt from lean manufacturing,

such as how we approach packing gift sets in our factory and so on, so it was a very exciting launch that has been received positively.” As the home fragrance market continues to grow, Wax Lyrical has enhanced its production capabilities and developed its product range to ensure it is ready for the influx of demand. “Having completed this part of our investment programme, we are continuing with our strategic vision of being a one-stop-shop for home fragrance. We expect a five per cent increase in growth in comparison to last year due to market developments, however, as a UK manufacturer we are able to respond quickly to these changes and work quickly in servicing our customers needs,” concludes Joanne.

Wax Lyrical Products/Services: Luxury scented candles, reed diffusers and private label collections 77



Specialising in high performance extrusion equipment for the packing industry, SML is leading the market with unprecedented levels of innovation and technical development


hilst the SML name may only be celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, the company’s expertise spans back almost half a century. SML emerged from the internal works of Austrian viscose fibre producer, Lenzing AG, as a plastics machinery division initially intended solely for the company’s in-house packaging needs. However, with raising demand coming from the outside markets for their equipment, it became apparent the company had stumbled upon a new market and subsequently sold the division on to maintain focus on its own operations. “Twenty years ago, when SML became an independent company, it had already grown to 110 staff generating over 30 million euros,” explains Managing Director, Karl Stöger. “Over that time we have seen growth of two and a half times to 270 people turning over about 80 million euros, following growth on average of about five per cent a year.” Serving a range of markets from food and pharmaceutical to general consumer and industrial, SML’s ability to deliver high quality, cutting edge extrusion plastic film and sheet making machines has seen it rise to a leading position in many of its target industries. “We are very innovation led, with our technology often beating everything else in the market in terms of output, productivity, energy efficiency, and film and


SML Maschinengesellsellschaft SML’s stretch film line ‘MasterCast’ is the world’s biggest

winding quality,” highlights Karl. “Because of the competitive nature of these markets we have to be trend setters in bring new products to market and driving innovation through the industry. In this respect we have been the first to launch particular solutions many times over our history.” This is all made possible by a technically superior R&D department, which SML nurtures with leading engineers and technical experts from a broad scope of disciplines and backgrounds. “Being based in Austria it is not cost effective for us to operate a lean, high-volume manufacturing process,” outlines Karl. “Therefore, we can only survive by having better technology and a focus on continuous improvement. However, with our strong technical departments we have the capacity to listen to new ideas and demands from the market and quickly turn them into reality.” To demonstrate this market leading ability to develop cutting-edge innovations for its customer base, SML recently held an in-house exhibition to showcase every range of products in its portfolio. Karl points out that at this year’s event the company had two main highlights on opposite ends of its product scale to demonstrate its diverse range of offerings and technical capabilities. “On one hand we had our smallest, entry-level stretch film machine, the MiniCast which is important for providing smaller companies in developing economies around the world with SML quality,” he says. “And on the other hand we had the MasterCast machine, the biggest, most powerful and most innovative machine on the market, capable of producing in a reliable process stretch film at a web width of six metres wide.” Before this innovation the largest available stretch film lines had reached a possible limit of four to five metres, and it was widely considered that anything beyond this size was impossible. “Everybody thought we were crazy,” continues Karl. “However we have had it running through a number of tests, even down-gauging the production to 12 microns on a high output test and we have seen it performing extremely well. We have already shipped a machine out to a customer in Poland and feedback from them and visitors to the show has been very positive. This has been achieved by the technical expertise in our R&D division and is testament to their worldclass capabilities.” Aside from major, arguably industry changing, innovations such as the MasterCast, SML has a constant focus on making small innovations across its product range. This is done in pursuit of improved stability, film quality, sustainability and energy efficiency – all of which are vital to its customer’s remaining competitive in their respective industries. 79

Starlinger & Co. Ges.m.b.H. Starlinger is a cutting-edge technology supplier for woven plastic packaging production and plastics recycling. Starlinger recycling lines are used for reprocessing all types of plastic waste, ranging from industrial production scrap – e.g. from film, sheet, fiber and filament as well as injection molding lines – to post-consumer waste such as beverage bottles and plastic packaging from municipal collection, or agricultural films and geotextiles. Starlinger was founded 1835, has production sites in Austria and China and has been supplying leading technology for more than 45 years to customers in over 130 countries worldwide. SML is an associated company of the Starlinger Group.


In terms of market strategy, SML employs a smart approach to ensuring it can remain competitive throughout difficult economic periods. “We have to be a global company because individual markets can be unpredictable and fluctuate,” expresses Karl. “For instance Asia is currently showing signs of a downturn, but a strengthening market in the US is offsetting this

at present.” SML is able to achieve this with sales offices in Europe, the US, Asia and Russia, as well as a number of agents in all key markets across the world. It employs a similar strategy in its product range, ensuring it has a diverse offering that can balance out any demand fluctuations. The organisation also encourages working in partnership with valued suppliers, such as Doteco.

SML Maschinengesellsellschaft

SML Maschinengesellschaft Products/Services: Manufactures extrusion equipment for packaging applications

“Our close relationship with Doteco is key to ensuring we can achieve fully integrated machines that provide high performance and consistent quality control to our customers,” confirmed Karl. Looking ahead, SML is set to continue its steady growth in order to keep up with growing operational costs. To cope with increases in demand it will be building an additional plant to expand capacity. “We will continue growing by bringing new products to market as well as improving existing ones,” concludes Karl. “Through

a process of continuous innovation improving our products in ways that make them most cost effective and energy efficient for our customers, we cultivate a need in the market to continue investment in order to maintain competitiveness. We then of course have to support this with a high degree of customer service, so continuing to improve customer satisfaction with our service structure will also be key as we look to the future. If we can help our customers grow, and they are happy with us, then we will grow too.”


“Our close relationship with Doteco is key to ensuring we can achieve fully integrated machines that provide high performance to our end customers in terms of reproducibility and quality control. By working seamlessly together, our automation systems allow the customer to fully understand and operate the machine more effectively in order to produce consistent quality in the end product. Strong communication channels and common goals have led to a very successful working relationship between SML and Doteco.” Karl Stöger – Managing Director, SML 81

Engro Polymer & Chemicals



Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited (EPCL) focuses on the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of chlor-vinyl allied products and PVC under the brand name ‘SABZ’


perating as the only fully integrated chlor-vinyl chemical complex in Pakistan, Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited (EPCL) was established in 1997 under the name Engro Asahi Polymer and Chemical Ltd as part of a joint venture between Engro Chemical, with 50 per cent shares, Asahi Glass Company, with 30 per cent shares, and Mitsubishi Corporation, with 20 per cent, with the goal of setting up a 100,000 tonne capacity PVC plant at Port Qasim. Two years on, the plant went into commercial operation and remained under the same ownership until 2006 when Asahi Glass divested from the business and Engro Chemical acquired its 30 per cent shares, making it the majority shareholder of the joint venture. Following this acquisition, the company’s name was changed to Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited and an


expansion to enhance PVC capacity to 150 KT began; EDC-Vcal and Chlor-alkali plants were also established in 2007 and caustic soda and sodium hydrochloride added to its product range in 2009. Today the present shareholding structure of Engro is Engro Corporation with 56 per cent, International Finance Corp, with 15 per cent, Mitsubishi Corporation with ten per cent, and the general public with 19 per cent. Driven by the highest standards of integrity, transparency and commitment to protecting the shareholders’ value, EPCL adheres to the industry’s most stringent practices, while the board of directors and senior management place a great deal of emphasis on internal controls as a way to reach each and every employee operating within the company. Although EPCL employees are wholly

expected to follow the company’s regimen of core values, the working environment for staff members is one of motivation, development and reward as a way to achieve success. Indeed, the company believes investing in personnel is key to EPCL’s future and thus provides its 470 plus employees with opportunities to learn and develop themselves professionally. On top of this, open and transparent dialogue is welcomed and equal opportunities are provided to all. Not only does EPCL invest in its employees, but also in its value chain to ensure ongoing growth and sustainability in all segments of the business, whether that may be product quality, ontime deliveries or technical support to customers. The core product within the company’s portfolio is PVC suspension resin, which is produced in a wide range of K-values such as AU 58, AU 60, AU 72, AU 62R and AU 67S.

It is used in the manufacture of a number of PVC based products and the different grades of resin offer a diverse range of properties that can be used in all processing methods. Produced by the polymerization of ethylene and chlorine, which is obtained from the electrolysis of common salt, PVC is one of the oldest and most versatile of polymers; it also offers benefits including corrosion, weathering, impact and scratch resistance as well as electrical insulation. Moreover, it is cheaper than other plastics, making it one of the most widely used plastic materials across the globe. The company is also involved in the production of ethylene di chloride (EDC) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) at its plant in Port Quasim, Karachi. As a chlorinated hydrocarbon, EDC is used to produce VCM, which is the major originator for PVC production; around 95 per 83


Engro Polymer & Chemicals

cent of EDC is converted to VCM for PVC production, while the rest is used as a solvent, a fumigant and also in the chemical synthesis of a range of products. Approximately 55 per cent of the resin is used in the domestic market, with the majority being used in the manufacture of PVC pipes; however, other sectors include artificial leather, shoes, garden hoses, windows and doors. In fact, PVC domestic sales have been steadily increasing at the rate of five per cent per annum. In addition to PVC the company also produces caustic soda for the domestic market, with EPCL hiring a dedicated distribution fleet with epoxy linked tanks that ensure the delivery of the highest quality product. Largely used in the textile industry for processing, caustic soda is also used in the soap industry as a raw material and other industries for water treatment. During the manufacturing of caustic soda, the company gains sodium hypochlorite as a by-product, which is used as a bleaching agent, disinfectant and for water treatment. Due to the limited production of this product, sales are focused on the south region of Pakistan only.

Aiming to be the long-term partner of its customers, EPCL is committed to providing the best possible value in terms of product quality, reliability of supply and also customer service. In fact, the company prefers to create partnerships with customers to ensure it fully caters to the increasing demand of local industries through innovations and product developments that it knows the market requires. Moreover, the company has warehouses strategically located in different cities throughout Pakistan to ensure customers can receive products in a relatively short amount of time. By continuing to invest in its value chain and the development of new solutions required by its customers, EPCL is certain to attain further growth and sustainability.

Engro Polymer & Chemicals Products: Chlor-vinyl allied products and PVC

BASF BASF’s Catalysts division is the world’s leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products. BASF offers a broad portfolio of catalyst technologies combined with expertise critical to the success of custom catalyst development and commercialisation. From idea creation through to supply chain and manufacturing, BASF provides the entire value chain. 85


Fully furnished


With innovation, quality and environmental consideration all undergoing constant development, MAJA-Möbelwerk is able to successfully serve the ever-changing demands of its customer base


elebrating its 50th anniversary last year, MAJA-Möbelwerk has always seen its ability to react to ever-changing market demands and consumer trends as the key to its success. With a focus on bringing quick and cost-effective furniture solutions to the market, MAJA has continued to drive innovation into its product development and has consistently pursued a strategy of expansion to cope with rising demand. Central to MAJA being able to continue operating successfully in the market is its ability to remain customer focused and market aware. Whilst always ensuring to incorporate flexible and systematic functionality into all of its products, at the same time unique and contemporary design is vital in order to keep up with changing market trends. Years of experience has taught the company that manufacturing processes are also key to securing this product flexibility, and as such MAJA employs state-of-the-art technologies within its manufacturing facilities to achieve that


consistent, reliable quality and functional standard that its reputation has been founded on. In addition to this, the business maintains close relationships with its customers and partnerships to ensure it can keep one step ahead of the market, also relying on large stock levels and an efficient logistics network to respond quickly and flexibly to customer requirements. Perfectly demonstrating its ability to offer innovative, stylish products to the market is the well-received Soundconcept. The Soundconcept is a low board TV stand with an acoustic front, uniquely designed to amplify quality sound from an integrated surround sound system. Available in 140cm and 180cm variants plus a range of colours and finishes to choose from, the system has been highly reviewed by industry magazines. MAJA received the highest possible rating from HEIMKINO, HiFi-Test and Video magazines, all of them commenting on the excellent sound quality, appealing design and terrific value of the Soundconcept.

Other innovations within the company’s portfolio include the office module solutions, OFFICE-Program SYSTEM and OFFICEProgram SET+. Combining functionality with contemporary design, the two offerings range from single desk solutions all the way up to complete office solutions. With a modular system designed into the product programmes, sets can be added to and rearranged according to need, whilst remaining smart and coherent. Quality sits at the heart of MAJA’s products but the company sees this being achieved through a number of channels. As an employer the company was awarded the certificate for supporting young people, by the Federal Employment Agency in 2001, for its outstanding commitment to vocational training. By nurturing and training its staff MAJA is able to drive passion and enthusiasm into its production and design and therefore ensures that the highest quality standards are met. Supporting this, the company holds DIN EN ISO 9001 and DIN EN ISO 14001

quality management accreditations, runs regular internal and external audits and is committed to continuous improvement. With innovative products bringing the company continued success, MAJA has been investing heavily to cope with greater volumes. In 2013, after 18 months of work the company opened the expansion of its Wittichenau plant. Designed to develop its lightweight furniture offering, the 60 million euro investment brings the total size of the factory to 80,000 square metres and will create over 100 new jobs for the longterm future of MAJA at the site. Expanding its capacity for lightweight furniture production is a key part of MAJA’s strategy as the company sees this technology playing a major role in the future of furniture. With the advantages of increased transport ease and a more resourceconserving production process, MAJA has made significant progress into developing lightweight boards. This has become particularly important for a market where convenient self-pickup and self-assembly products are becoming more and more appealing to consumers. Complementing its flexible design and production capabilities, MAJA also offers its customers a bespoke product development service, able to produce small runs of exclusive pieces. Working closely with its clients, experienced designers and engineers are able to manufacture specialist products according to the customer’s needs and budget. As MAJA looks ahead, continued growth and 87


innovation will be central to its future ambitions. It is clear that developing its product portfolio on a constant basis in order to keep up with consumer trends goes hand in hand with having passionate, nurtured and well-trained employees that feel valued and are therefore able to contribute effectively. In addition to this, the company also demonstrates a keen commitment to environmental responsibility, which it applies to both the materials it uses and the manufacturing processes it operates. As part of this programme, improvements in energy consumption, emissions, wastewater and general waste are all pursued in order to create a more robust and efficient manufacturing company in today’s market.

MAJA-MĂśbelwerk GmbH Products: Manufacturers of office and home furniture 88

Mainetti (UK) Ltd Laufenberg



Having diversified its capabilities through acquisition and innovation, world-class manufacturer of wooden and plastic hangers Mainetti leads the way in the production of accessories, garment covers, gift packaging bags and presentation boxes


front line component supplier to the garment trade Mainetti has developed long-standing links with most of the world’s leading retailers as well as a diverse client base since its establishment in 1961. Today serving supermarkets and discount stores to high-end fashion brands and

everything in between, the company has grown to become the leading service provider to the industry when it comes to garment hangers. With approximately five billion hangers being sold globally on an annual basis, Mainetti focused on selling items from its expanding portfolio to existing customers, as Jim Hutchinson, Managing

Director at Mainetti (UK) Ltd, explains: “One thing I was told as I was first starting in this business was to listen to your customers as they will tell you what they want. When you start to speak to people opportunities are presented for you to find solutions too. For example it became apparent that for every garment carried on a hanger each 89

Guthrie Group

Guthrie Group Ltd is one of the largest independent distributors of Health & Safety and facilities supplies in Scotland, with a core offering of workwear, personal protective equipment, cleaning products, catering supplies and packaging. With over 30 years’ experience, Guthries’ business is driven by a customer centric approach inspired by key objectives of saving customers’ time, money and offering complete peace of mind. Working collaboratively with customers at all times, Guthries’ dedicated staff understand the importance of compliance with Health & Safety regulations and provide bespoke purchasing solutions meeting the individual needs of every customer.


garment required a polyethylene cover to keep it clean as they are moved through the logistics network. When we investigated the polyethylene shroud business we found retailers were dealing with 50 different suppliers in 50 different countries with 50 different cultures and 50 interpretations of specifications. “Once we realised this opportunity, we acquired a Sri Lankan business that made polythene bags and over three years we set up a global group that supplies plastic shrouds and display bags, with production sites based in the UK, Italy, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and China. We also looked at specifications and rationalised ranges of shrouds for retailers into much more manageable numbers.” In addition to enhancing this service for customers, Mainetti also provided further benefits to customers with the development of Smart Film, an innovative, thinner material than typical plastic shrouds that works through automatic bagging machines and is more cost efficient due to its weight in comparison to other shrouds. While this innovative development was taking place, Mainetti’s colleagues in Italy were

Mainetti (UK) Ltd

also focusing on a strategy to supply ‘total look accessories’ to its customers within the high-end boutique market. “They hit upon the idea of pulling together a parcel for the retailer that included the hanger, a branded paper carrier bag and suit carriers/dress carriers for consumers to use once they had brought an item as a way for them to carry the branding from the store to their home. This business also grew and caught the interest of retailers across the globe and today we now supply paper carrier bags and suit covers to many UK retailers,” highlights Jim. Further enhancing its capabilities in November 2012 with the acquisition of a business based in Northern Italy that manufactured these bags, the company then diversified operations more through the addition of a consumable packaging department that focuses on the supply of carton tapes, bubble wrap, padded envelopes and shrinkwrap. Alongside diversifying its packaging business, Mainetti made the strategic decision to develop opportunities within its plastic operations through the utilisation of its injection moulding capability. With a business development manager 91

Mainetti (UK) Ltd

appointed, the company became involved with Wine Innovations, a manufacturer of pre-filled plastic glasses of wine with a foil top that are available at outdoor events and train stations.


“We have made these glasses for Wine Innovation for approximately three years, which has led to the development of a range of plastic glassware products under the trade name “Glastic”, a PET based material that is dishwasher proof and doesn’t shrink or deform under high temperatures,” highlights Jim. “So what we now have is a range of glassware that looks like glass and feels like glass but is plastic; these items range from a pint, champagne flute, wine glass or shot glass and they can be decorated either by a raised print and foil or by laser printing.” Mainetti has also developed a range of buckets for the cut flower industry. “The cut flower industry has used the same buckets for many years and simply lived with many of the issues that these old products brought. The biggest issues were the weight of the buckets and the tendency for them to stick together due to a vacuum forming between the buckets in a stack which caused big downtime on the production lines. Using our in house design team and looking at the supply chain issues we developed a light weight product that stopped a vacuum from forming and speeded the process up.”

One of the key strengths for Mainetti is that it can react to market trends and ideas quickly, thus ensuring a concept can be trialled, prototyped and brought to the market in a relatively short amount of time. This will hold the firm in good stead as it continues to collaborate with customers on ways to find packaging solutions across a range of industries and markets. “One big focus for us over the coming years will be to develop our packaging business for online retailers; we will also be further developing our paper bag and suit carrier business while also seeking new opportunities to broaden our customer base. It is key to our ongoing success that we develop relationships that allow customers to understand and trust our capabilities so new opportunities can be presented,” concludes Jim.

Mainetti (UK) Ltd Products/Services: Front line component supplier to the garment trade

Ontex Laufenberg

An example of


As a leading manufacturer within a demanding consumer market, Ontex’s commitment to innovation and sustainability makes it a hugely competitive global organisation


ounded in 1979 and launching its first range of underpads for care institutions in Belgium a year later, Ontex has grown to become one of the world’s largest disposable hygiene product producers. Today the company operates across 15 production facilities, sells into over 100 countries and employs close to 5000 people who collectively generate around 1.5 billion euros. The company’s main product ranges cover baby care, feminine care and adult care solutions and it manufactures these under a number of leading retail partner brands, as well as its own. These are distributed through a number of channels including retail, care institutions and pharmacies around the world. Ontex’s vision is to be a leading global personal hygiene partner, providing solutions for all generations and caring for its global community. Growth for the business has come from its ability to perform competitively in the market place and this has derived from its spirit of flexibility and speed in delivering high-performance solutions to

its partners and customers. Whilst producing bestvalue products sits at the heart of Ontex, doing so whilst maintaining high quality standards alongside high-technology, innovation and unrivalled service is key to the organisation’s success. Alongside this, by maintaining a committed responsibility to both its people and the environment, the business has made positive steps towards securing its future success. As with many successful global manufacturers, innovation always has been, and remains, an essential part of Ontex’s development. With three global R&D centres located in Belgium and Germany, the company has successfully established its position at the forefront of its industry. Comfort, fit and performance are three of the major focal points when it comes to innovation and the business’s approach to driving new product ideas is facilitated by open and cross-department discussions. It also partners with leading research institutes and universities to encourage open innovation and stay at the front of the industry. Also providing a vehicle for this innovation is 93

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the company’s unique and intimate understanding of its clients and consumers. Working closely with its key partners – suppliers and clients – and analysing market trends by listening to consumers, Ontex is able to bring demands together with its creative and technologically competent know-how to translate them into small products with massive benefits. As such over the years, Ontex has been responsible for some of the biggest achievements within the personal hygiene industry. These include adult elasticised pull-ups, compact plastic tampon applicators, high performing adult diapers, and discrete pantyliners. In 2013 it also developed and launched the Smartfit diaper to the market. With a technology that reduces the core thickness of the material with no performance compromise, the diapers are now 20 per cent thinner yet remain ultra-absorbent, ultra-flexible and provide maximum protection. Through the use of its own facilities and with help from independent organisations, all Ontex products go through a rigorous testing and qualifying procedure before being launched to market. Strong internal relationships between its R&D and group marketing departments also ensure that all quality and performance factors are in line with consumer expectation, which is key to building brand loyalty within the industry. Not only is Ontex’s commitment to serving consumers with high quality, high value products exemplary, but so is its approach to sustainability. Efficient logistics, energy efficiency, production impact reduction, health and safety and employee well-being all feature in the company’s focus. Regarding material sourcing, over 90 per cent of the manufacturer’s fluff-pulp is eco-labelled and 100 per cent of that comes from US and Scandinavian sources. Supporting this the company has set up a central warehouse logistics strategy for raw materials in Europe, which has resulted in a reduction of 800,000 road kilometres and 600 tonnes of CO2 every year. This was implemented in 2012 and contributed towards a total reduction of 2000 tonnes of CO2 every year. Certified with ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems and ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems, sustainability permeates itself throughout the entire manufacturing process at Ontex. This manifests itself in the reduction of waste and increased recycling – it has an average European plant recycling rate of

over 85 per cent – improved energy monitoring, increased transport efficiency and reduced noise and CO2 emissions. In June 2015, the company was presented with the Lean and Green award for its commitment to reducing the emissions of its logistical activities by 20 per cent in Europe from 2013 to 2017. Alongside the aforementioned centralised warehouse strategy, this target is being archived by increasing intermodal transport (ships and trains), using bigger trucks that can accommodate more pallets, and having all trucks comply with new Euro 6 standards. However this focus also seeps down into product development and the company makes sure to implement this commitment into its entire value chain, creating products that represent the true responsibility held at the firm. For example, in 2013 Ontex’s diaper brand, MOLTEX, received the Green Band seal of approval and in 2014 came second in the product category of the annual sustainability ECOCARE Awards. These were for the firm’s eco-diaper range, which has developed significantly since its launch in 1991. The MOLTEX Nature no.1, the latest iteration of the brand, which

launched in 2013, uses 40-50 per cent renewable materials, cellulose from certified sustainable forestry and is 100 per cent chlorine, latex and fragrance free. Ontex is exemplary as a global leader in its commitment not only to the care and support of its consumers but also in the way it manages its operations in a responsible manner. Whilst on the surface it is its persistent drive towards innovation that has granted its success within a fast-moving and heavily regulated consumer industry, driving this forward is a unique effort to improve its operational efficiencies in line with environmental responsibility and staff welfare. It is clear that maintaining these focal points will be core to the company’s vision as it looks forward and in this respect the future for Ontex looks bright.

Ontex Products: World-leading manufacturer of disposable personal hygiene solutions 95





Customer-focused innovation and manufacturing excellence has defined Amaray’s success up until today and are more important than ever as it faces external pressures in the media industry


he media industry’s landscape has undergone a monumental transformation over the past few years as more and more consumers turn away from physical copies towards digital content. As successful as this has been for both the consumer and the media providers, the drop in physical sales has had an impact on the once-highly demanded packaging manufacturers. “A decade ago, media packaging was the main source of revenue for dozens of companies around the world,” begins Neil Pentecost, Marketing Manager at leading plastic packaging manufacturer Amaray. “However, with this growing trend of people acquiring content digitally, the industry is now experiencing some erosion.” However, following its vision to ‘make good things, better’, Amaray has used its historical experience and world-leading position in the market to refocus its strategy and remain profitable despite these external pressures.The company was founded in 1880 as a manufacturer of lead-based plumbing products but quickly moved into polypropylene injection moulding when plastics emerged in the


1960s. Over the following decades, innovative plastic production for DIY and pharmaceutical markets became the core focus for Amaray and in the 1980s it started its journey towards becoming the world leading producer of media packaging solutions, which later included the creation of the universal standard DVD and Blu-Ray cases.

“As such, Amaray is now one of the few global injection moulders that have been able to sustain profitability in this market,” says Neil. “Whilst continuing to focus on this massive market, the company is also wisely investing into new products and market diversification.” This ability to adapt and transform to changing market conditions has been core to Amaray’s success and much of this comes down to its unrivalled focus on innovation registering over 320 patents. Driven by customer experience they set out to achieve extreme customer satisfaction. “With our vision to ‘make good things, better’ we have maintained our competitive advantage through an extensive product range, customer orientation, ingenuity and innovation.” In the face of challenges within the media industry, Amaray’s strategy to diversify into new markets began with the introduction of a Develop and Diversify Team focused on bringing new and innovative products to consumers. “Having identified functionality as a major concern within packaging, the team is developing new closures with addictive

opening and closing characteristics designed to engage use and ease the process for consumers,” highlights Neil. “These closures will lend themselves to multi-use products used by consumers every day within personal care and home care markets. Other opportunities sought will likely involve plastic technologies, which Amaray have pioneered in the media market such as living plastic hinges and snap fit closures.”

One such product that really demonstrates this current drive is the recently launched SqueezeOpen system. “This epitomises the company’s proactive and determined approach to make good things better from a consumer and branding perspective,” Neil explains. “It is a unique, user-friendly closure system created to enhance consumer lifestyle. With a modern look and tactile feel, it is designed specifically to improve convenience, pack performance and ease

of use. Its easy opening and closing action improves consumer experience, desiring only a gentle squeeze to open and an effortless pop to press it closed.This is a versatile system, making it suitable for multiple applications, including products within personal care, food, confectionary, and vitamin and supplement packaging.” Running in tandem to innovative product development is Amaray’s superior manufacturing capabilities, where lean manufacturing and integration of automation is key to it being able to mass-produce on such a large scale. Manifesting itself in the company’s drive for continuous improvement in its manufacturing processes is a focus on driving value and cost effectiveness to its customers. “Our commitment to lean manufacturing stems from the aggressive market demands experienced by the home entertainment and media packaging world,” says Neil. “This has led to continuous improvement initiatives seeing opportunities for operational efficiency gains and waste reduction. Combining our promise to make good things better with a manufacturing foundation built on high efficiency and performance, we are well positioned as a solutions provider to aid long-term cost improvement 97


initiatives and sustainable growth. “In line with current market trends, the manufacturing process of injection moulding lends itself to rigid plastic product, granting Amaray the opportunity to share its collective manufacturing knowledge and capabilities within a variety of markets and products, increasing Amaray’s market appeal. We aim to deliver exceptional service in packaging design, product development, injection moulding, decoration and assembly, offering customers a seamless manufacturing solution. With continuous improvement being a part of the


company’s DNA, we have become highly effective in generating tool transfer opportunities for major brands in multiple consumer markets through reverse engineering initiatives on current designs and the optimisation of efficiencies.” With a wealthy and proven reputation for innovation within the plastic injection moulding industry, Amaray is in a strong position to overcome the challenges of an evolving media market. Success has been earned up until now through an innovative approach fully supported by high volume, highly efficient manufacturing. However, diversification is now key and as the company transfers these skills over to new markets it has already started to demonstrate a very positive future for Amaray.

Amaray Products:

Specialist manufacturer of plastic packaging within consumer markets

Bema Kunststoffen Laufenberg

Injecting new life

Bema Kunststoffen is a modern processor of thermoplastics, working from facilities in The Netherlands and Bosnia-Herzegovina


stablished in 1968, Bema Kunststoffen BV has developed over the years to become a stable and reliable partner for those requiring the injection moulding and vacuum forming of plastic products. Expanding into a second factory in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004, the Zierikzee, The Netherlands, based company offers design and moulding services thanks to its long-term expertise as a flexible, quality conscious and innovative processor of thermoplastics. Able to take care of the entire process, from the initial idea right through to the industrialisation of its customer’s product, Bema is open to close collaborations with customers thanks to its design department, modern facilities and dedicated team of employees. To ensure the utmost quality, it works with the latest 3D CAD/CAM software and has moulding presses with clamp forces ranging from 20 to 500 tonnes. Alongside these services, Bema has several supporting facilities such as lithography, ultrasonic welding, bonding and assembly.

“Since our foundation we have remained an independent company that focuses on the development and injection moulding of plastic products. Our main strengths are innovation, flexibility and a close proximity to the market; we are also proud of the partnerships we have formed with our customers,” begins Bart Gravendeel, Managing Director of Bema Kunststoffen BV. “We serve three market segments,” he continues. “These are the paint market, packaging and technical moulding; out of these three the paint market is a core business area for us. Within this segment we focus on two niches, packaging for pigment paste (tinter, colorant) and packaging for waterborne car refinishes, and serve both market leaders and smaller companies; these include Akzo Nobel and Valspar. The market is challenging but interesting, especially if you come up with innovative products that the market needs.” One such product within the company’s portfolio is the LDV-n can, which is used to 99

package up to one litre of pigment paste and has been designed for the refilling of colour mixing machines. With a moving bottom, just like a silicone cartridge, the paint can allows the user to completely empty it of paint; it also has an aluminium seal on the lid that can be removed manually, by placing the closed packaging onto a docking station or by using a can adaptor. This new packaging concept makes refilling the colour mixing machine far more simple, which thus results in a significant reduction in the risk or spills and increased efficiency. Moreover, for easy of pushing the bottom through the can, Bema has designed and injection moulded the Paintpusher, an accessory that is used for pushing both the pigment paste packaging and the car refinishes packaging. It empties a can in one shot, much like refilling, and makes doing large and small quantities much easier; this product is suitable for both 0.5 litre and one litre packaging. Proud of the company’s focus on innovation, Bart highlights: “Our approach to innovation is both internally and externally driven. This means that sometimes we come up with our own ideas and ask our customers about their opinion; it also means that the market sometimes challenges us to find a solution to meet its demands. In this respect, we have developed packaging that attributes to our customer’s CSR objectives by reducing waste to an absolute minimum and, in the meantime, making the operator’s job easier.” Producing both in The Netherlands and Bosnia, the company has 24 mould presses and 18 people within its Dutch facility, while its Bosnia factory has 15 mould presses and 35 people. However, as market demand has increased over recent years, Bema made the strategic decision to invest and expand, as Bart highlights:“We have recently invested in four new mould presses, Aruburg, and the peripheral automation will be implemented in the next three months. Because of our growth we have also invested in a new warehouse close to our Dutch plant, we have also doubled our surface space in Bosnia since its establishment in 2010. We are also starting up a production under license in Mexico.” Other investments include 3D measuring equipment, a DeMeet 400 that offers possibilities for both tactile and visual measuring. The DeMeet 400 also allows the company’s quality department to perform measurements that were previously impossible and will thus be used for measuring reports of new products; it will also provide quality control during production and the highly accurate measuring of mould parts. Committed to its mission of keeping promises and, where possible, exceeding expectations, Bema maintains a focus on quality in all areas of operation thanks to its quality department’s


Bema Kunststoffen

dedication to getting each product exactly in accordance to customer specifications. “We achieved ISO 9001 in 1996, MBO in 1999 and ISO 26000 in 2014. Today, both of our factories are certified ISO 9001,� says Bart. This is a key strength for the company as it has developed a strong customer base within the food, medical, defence and automotive markets, all of which require consistent quality and efficiency to the most stringent of standards. As it continues to serve a diverse market, that includes stock-exchange listed multinationals, SMEs and those in the public sector, Bema remains committed to reducing the timeto-market as much as possible, while also controlling costs and offering a high degree of expert craftsmanship. To do this, it will further invest in new equipment, with the implementation of its four new fully automated production lines taking place over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, looking further ahead, Bema will seek further growth in the paint market through a new production facility abroad or a complementary joint venture.

Bema Kunststoffen BV Products: Leading injection moulders and vacuum formers of plastic products 101

Rotpunkt Küchen

Cooking up


With a 25 per cent rise in sales since it was previously featured in Manufacturing Today Europe in March 2015, Rotpunkt Küchen aims to maintain this successful trend through innovation and further investment


stablished in 1930 by Heinrich Rabe and Wilhelm Meyer in BündeAhle, Rotpunkt Küchen began manufacturing cigar boxes as a way to build upon the history that Bünde holds as the cigar-making centre of Germany. Keen to diversify, the company later expanded into the manufacture of wooden toys and sewing boxes before cementing its position in kitchen manufacturing after the Second World War. Since making the strategic decision to focus on the kitchen industry, the family-run company has not looked back and has instead continuously invested in the latest manufacturing technology at its main factory/headquarters as well as its subsidiary plants in Löhne and Preußisch Oldendorf. Today the company boasts four kitchen programmes within its portfolio: vintage wooden kitchens, the oak line edition, lacquer and laminated fronts. The former programme includes timeless and sophisticated classic wooden


kitchens with veneered fronts as well as colour lacquered veeneered fronts in different wood finishes such as maple, oak and cherry. Colours within the company’s range include basalt, which is similar to cement, Bordeaux, carbon, magnolia, old wild oak, pastel grey and stone. Aware that handleless kitchens are a popular choice for customers, Rotpunkt offers straight grip profiles in stainless steel or any of the carcase colours; these include carbon, brown wild oak, grey real oak, snow, sand and titan. Meanwhile, for those looking for a unique visual experience, the company offers its oak line edition, which allows customers to enjoy the quality of a used material to create a vintage, rustic and delicate kitchen style. Front colours for this range include carbon, Kashmir, pastel grey, retrored, black and snow. Carcase colours include icy white, basalt, grigio, titan and white. “We have seen a lot of growth in metallic fronts in the kitchen industry and are responding to this demand by including these colours in our exhibitions and showing them in information material. Another popular colour is basalt, which is similar to concrete. We are working with different materials in kitchens also with new drawer systems; for example, we have created a drawer

system for cleaning items in the kitchen that is easily accessible,� highlights Andreas Wagner, Managing Partner of Rotpunkt. Not only a provider of set ranges, the company is proud to deliver bespoke kitchens that meet the needs of its customers and has developed a strong reputation in the market on an international scale thanks to its professional designs, high quality products and close contact with clients. On top of this, by paying attention to market demand and ensuring smooth operations


Pfleiderer is the number one partner for trade, industry, DIY, specifiers and architects with an industry-leading range of products and services. Its wide range of products includes raw particleboard and fibreboard in different qualities and sizes, decorative panels, laminates, compact HPL, HPL elements and worktops. It also offers special product ranges for doors, fire protection, lightweight construction, shipbuilding and green building applications. Together with its customers Pfleiderer develops tailor-made solutions for any type of project. 103


Rotpunkt Küchen


IMA develops, produces and sells machines and systems for processing wood materials worldwide, especially edgebanding machines and transport and handling systems. For over 60 years it has been the technology leader in planning, developing and realising complex production lines and systems in the high-end segment. These include solutions for stationary as well as through-feed technology. The most important manufacturers of kitchen, office and knockdown furniture as well as doors and components – including Rotpunkt Küchen – rank among its long-term customers. Rotpunkt uses a Novimat Compact model for edge-banding in through-feed operations, three Combima models for edge processing with laser technology as well as a Performance. one system with laser and glue edging including a unit for high-gloss polishing for batch size 1 production.

throughout Rotpunkt, the company has enjoyed a 25 per cent rise in sales since March 2015, as Andreas highlights: “Our main customers are in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands; we also have a strong market share in Scandinavia. Over the last nine months we have had a very successful period and strong turnover from the UK, the second biggest market in our portofolio. The reason we have a lot of new customers from the UK is because we attended the KBB and other exhibitions, which have given us the opportunity to show customers in the UK the quality of product and services we can provide. We also network with UK based contractors at these events and have made arrangements that

we anticipate will increase turnover by a further 20 per cent in 2016.” He continues: “By being close to the market and having the right sales people with the right contacts and the right products at the right time, we are able to deliver great quality products at a competitive price. Everything fits together perfectly, particularly in the UK where our products are very popular and we have sales people who can discuss the benefits of our kitchens to those in this area.” In line with a rise in international demand, the dynamic company has enhanced its website, not only by making it more user friendly but by making it more accessible for potential customers 105

Rotpunkt Küchen

from Denmark, England, France and the Netherlands. “We have modernised our website, which now looks more impressive for customers; it is now also more popular with customers with different languages,” confirms Andreas. Alongside enhancing its connection with customers via the web, Andreas notes that

Rotpunkt has also improved facilities and services through investments: “The first step of our investment plan was the construction of a small production hall, which is roughly 500 square metres. We are now investing in a 6000 square metre hall, however this is taking longer than anticipated as we are awaiting planning permission.. It is hoped, weather permitting, that construction will begin in March 2016. “To coincide with the factories we plan to build we have a sawing system and storage system for shelves that will go with the new 6000 square metre hall. We have also invested in cutting machines, CNC machines and drilling machines, the latter of which we got for the production of kitchen doors. In total the new 6000 square metre hall, the sawing system and storage system is an investment of approximately 1.5 million euros.” As demand for innovative, stylish and high quality kitchens continues to increase, Rotpunkt aims to retain its crown as one of the German leaders in kitchen manufacture within the UK market by focusing on finding solutions to current and upcoming trends, as Andreas concludes: “Accessible drawers are definitely a trend that we see is gaining traction, so we are working out new ideas to show existing and potential clients at the KBB in March and the inhouse-exhibition in September. For example, during the first week of December 2015 we went to Italy to talk with suppliers about what could be produced for the next season so we will be able to offer innovative ideas to customers, particularly those in the UK.”

Rotpunkt Küchen Services: Kitchen design 106

Swift Group Laufenberg

Investing in the


Innovation, value for money and customer engagement all define Swift’s current success and with momentum growing the future looks bright for the UK’s leading caravan manufacturer


Behind this success we have a very sound business and a management team with over a hundred years worth of combined experience and a fantastic team of people that are aligned to the company vision of delivering the very best market-leading products

Nick Page

ow employing over 1000 staff and turning over more than £200 million annually, Swift Group has grown to become the UK’s largest leisure vehicle manufacturer since it was first established back in 1964. With a range of products designed to suit all budgets and requirements, Swift is the leader in the tourer caravan and motorhome markets with shares of 40 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively. Possessing a 20 per cent share it is also amongst the leading producers of holiday homes. When Manufacturing Today Europe featured Swift back in May 2015, Group Commercial Director, Nick Page, spoke of the company’s approach to innovation and the unprecedented growth it was experiencing, achieving record sales and having already sold out of its 2016 season motorhome production capacity. Today, the success story continues with improved sales 107


Swift Group Swift Kon-Tiki

Swift Escape

AL-KO AL-KO have built a strong working relationship with Swift Group over many years. The two companies work closely together on many levels to provide high quality, engineered, tested and type approved chassis and running gear onto which Swift build their caravan and motorhome bodies. Alongside the supply of the chassis, AL-KO also supply a range of premium complementary accessories to Swift Group that add further value to the finished vehicles. The range includes safety, stability and security devices designed to enhance the customers’ experience of driving or towing a Swift vehicle

performance and a number of awards under its belt. “All our products have been greatly in demand over the last few years,” Nick begins. “Last season we sold out a little too early and this season is looking similar.” Whist the domestic UK market remains a key stage for Swift, over the past few years its export activities have seen considerable growth, notably increasing 34 per cent over the past two years. Putting this into context, in 2015 the company placed 95th in the Sunday Times Top Track 200 for Britain’s Private Companies with the Fastest Growth in International Sales. Markets for the group now extend across the globe from Europe and Iceland to Sri Lanka, South Korea and Australasia. “Behind this success we have a very sound business and a management team with over a hundred years worth of combined experience and a fantastic team of people that are aligned to the company vision of delivering the very best market-leading products,” Nick explains. “In terms of our products we deliver an outstanding array of features including SMART HT – the world’s most advanced caravan construction system – innovative styles and designs, and great value products, all supplemented by an ability to react quickly to market demands.” The latest addition to Swift’s innovative range of product features is Swift Command, which features across the top end of both its caravan and motorhome ranges giving customers the ability to monitor and control certain features like lighting and heating remotely via the internet or through an app. Such commitment to delivering high quality product offerings to the market has resulted in a number of prestigious awards over the years. Most recently Swift was awarded the Best Family Caravan under £15,500 at the National Caravan Awards 2016 for the Sprite Freedom 6TD package it offers. Providing exceptional affordable value for families, the caravan utilises the innovative SMART Plus construction process that is normally reserved for the more expensive models. “We were also recently awarded the Luxury Tourer of the Year 2016 for the Elegance/ Continental range from Caravan Times,” highlights Nick. “Importantly this was voted for by actual customers, rather than journalists, and is testament to the high quality product offering and superb user experience our customers have had with this exceptional range of caravans.” Also helping to solidify its position as a leading player in this consumer market is an exemplary approach to marketing. “We have run a number of different initiatives that have worked for us 109

Swift Elegance

over the last 12 months such as ‘First Time Buyer’ and ‘Swift Experience’,” Nick continues. “These are designed with the aim of attracting new customers to the industry, to visit shows and to hopefully help them on their way to leisure vehicle ownership. The ‘Swift Experience’ follows several existing Swift owners via social media and PR activity showcasing how appealing ownership is and the myriad of opportunities it opens up. We believe that this has definitely encouraged new customers into the industry.” To cope with such popular success and the ensuing growth, Swift undergoes a continuous programme of investment to improve manufacturing capabilities and increase production capacity. Back in May 2015 Nick mentioned the £1.5 million investment into a state-of-the-art CNC router, and it is currently in the middle of a further £1.75 million programme to install a new laminating facility. The new facility will allow the company to produce panels to a high quality standard as well as enabling it to change the technical specification of its entire touring caravan and motorhome product line up bringing noticeable customer benefits. “In addition to this a new assembly hall will be


Swift Group

Sprite Freedom

built adjacent to the current production facility here in Cottingham allowing us to consolidate our holiday home business onto one site,” says Nick. “The new facility will also incorporate a large covered storage area for just-in-time component delivery. Preparatory works have already started with the main element due for completion before April 2018 giving us the additional production flexibility with an enhanced ability to respond appropriately to the market. Ultimately, it clearly signals the business’ intent over the coming years to increase its production capacity.” Over the next year Swift plans to continue its trailblazing progress in the industry with further innovative product, service and initiative launches further anchoring the company at the forefront of the industry across its entire range. On a concluding note Nick sums up the company’s positivity as it looks towards the future: “We will

be continuing our sponsorship of Team Wiggins in partnership with Sir Bradley Wiggins and are providing two new 2016 motorhomes for the team to use during the Olympic build up. Overall we have a very exciting year ahead and are looking forward to the new 2017 season where we have some exciting product launches including a new highly appealing leisure vehicle targeted at attracting new customers to the industry.”

Swift Group Products:

Overall we have a very exciting year ahead and are looking forward to the new 2017 season where we have some exciting product launches including a new highly appealing leisure vehicle targeted at attracting new customers to the industry

UK’s leading manufacturer of motorhomes, caravans and holiday homes 111

J. Rotherham


craftsmen Utter commitment to a lean manufacturing strategy has been key to J. Rotherham’s unprecedented growth since emerging from the recession


Rotherham’s journey began back in 1927 as a small, one-man monumental masonry company in East Yorkshire with business growing steadily and continuing in this way for many years. Commercial success ensued in 1973 when Joe Rotherham (Jnr) – the third generation – joined the business with big ambitions to grow the company. “We got involved in and started working on providing our services in marble and traditional architectural stonemasonry to commercial areas like hotels and high-end residential,” explains Matt Rotherham, fourth generation MD. “From here it grew successfully and in the 1990s we started working with retailers on the kitchen side of things and created a market for granite worktops.” During the 90s, work continued within its already established markets, completing prestigious jobs for yachts and renowned hotels amongst others. However, with a new millennium came a rise in demand from the kitchen sector and as such granite worktops became J. Rotherham’s biggest focus. “At this time MFI were our biggest client and we were constantly trying to keep up with the growth of their own product


line,” says Matt. “Unfortunately, this came to an end in 2008 when the recession hit, the industry fell to its knees and MFI went into administration. We lost half our business over night and by 2009 our staff levels had dropped from 145 people down to 75.” Despite such a devastating blow, the company emerged from the crisis stronger than ever. In 2010 the company turned over £5 million – this year that figure stands at £16.5 million and Matt forecasts a further 40 per cent growth over the next 12 months. “I think this has been achieved because of two key strengths,” he highlights. “Firstly we carry a wide breadth of expertise. Essentially we are craftsmen and we invest in retaining our heritage skills set to ensure we have the highest degree of competence in our production capabilities. Despite turbulent economic times it has always been our focus to ensure we set the benchmark for quality in our industry. “This is aligned to the second point, which is our approach to technological innovation. In 1988 we were the first company in the UK stone industry to start using a CNC machine and 20 years later the first to bring a seven-axis robot into our production processes. It is this synergy between highly skilled craftsmanship and technological

capability that has enabled us to stand apart from the market.” By bringing robotic assistance and automation into the manufacturing process J. Rotherham’s production efficiency has seen major improvements. “The technology can’t do everything but it can do a lot of the leg work, cutting out enormous amounts of time in the manual process,” elaborates Matt. “To demonstrate this, over the five years our annual revenue per employee has increased from £59,000 to £96,000 and to achieve this we have had to spend £2.5 million on technology.” Automating the production in this way has been a key part of J. Rotherham’s journey towards leaner manufacturing. By cutting production time and driving efficiencies into the process it is therefore able to perform more competitively against imports coming in from the Far East and China. “This year we have launched an all new range of limestone fireplaces that compete almost like-forlike on price against Chinese imports. The benefit is we can manufacture to order in a fraction of the lead time, whilst we can also offer bespoke sizes and a wider choice of materials including indigenous British limestones.”

It has also been able to establish a close relationship with its suppliers and customers in order to better manage the complete supply chain. For instance, by working with its robotics supplier, T&D Robotics who work with ABB Robots, with whom it has had a relationship stretching back over 40 years, the company is able to undergo a constant process of technological development in line with what is possible and what is demanded. Similarly, by working with designers and customers alike, it is able to develop effective solutions whilst cutting waste and deriving more cost efficiencies. Continuing to develop this technological competence to deliver better costs to the market will be key to J. Rotherham’s ongoing success, and with a strong UK market where residential property development and refurbishment is picking up, things look positive. “We will be looking to work more closely with architects and designers to demonstrate how our offering to their sectors can be more affordable than perceived and therefore develop some USPs and more desirable products for the property market,” says Matt. “We are always looking at different products and solutions in terms of innovation and part of this is about having the right mix of machinery to 113

J. Rotherham

efficiencies.” He is also keen to point out that despite this constant focus on technology, its people will always remain key to the business as the craftsmanship is essential to hand finishing and retaining high-quality products, upon which the company’s reputation sits. In the longer term, J. Rotherham has big ambitions: “We think there is a lot of growth in the UK market and so we are hoping to grow over the next five years to triple turnover,” Matt concludes. “Even further ahead, if we can really nail down the UK market we will start looking at potential opportunities in other markets like Europe and the US. At the moment though, we have lots to do in the UK and are looking forward to getting on with it. adapt to our production needs. Next year we will be extending our facilities by a further 25,000 square feet, which for the first time in a while gives us the opportunity to build a new line from scratch to accompany our existing two. We hope this will harbour lots of lean manufacturing


J. Rotherham Ltd Products: Specialist stone masonry

Recor NV Laufenberg

Sofa so


Proud to add comfort to the home, Recor NV manufactures and retails a wide range of furnishings such as chairs sofas, bedroom, teenage bedroom and dining room furniture for its diverse customer base


ounded in 1949 in Hasselt, Belgium, Recor NV has since become synonymous with high quality, comfortable seating and on-trend designs. Having enjoyed its greatest success in its native country, the company is also active across Europe, with interest notably coming from the UK and France. Divided into six segmented organisations, the company boasts an extensive product portfolio, with more than 900 models, ranging from cost conscious furniture to highend pieces for youth rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms as well as an impressive range of relaxing furniture for lounges. “Recor NV is the mother company of the group,” begins Marc Wouters, Operations Director at Recor NV. “We also have a number of sister companies set up: Recor Bedding, Belform, Sofabed, Vendome/Batton, Sinia and Fragicslov. We produce bed and dining rooms, teen rooms and relax chairs and sofas, while Recor Bedding produces mattresses, boxsprings and slatt bases; Belform produces sofas for a

more young and trendy customer and Sofabeds of course produces sofas with a quality sofabed that is suitable for daily use. Meanwhile, Vendom/ Batton produces sofas in mass production; these have a limited choice when it comes to fabric/ leather and colours, Sinia is our production unit in Hungary and, finally, Fragicslov is our production unit in Slovakia. In total we have 200,000 metres of production space, with 100,000 metres squared at our headquarters in Belgium, and the remaining space shared between our other production sites.” Although originally set up as a result of the Belgian office reaching full capacity, both Hungary and Slovakia facilities have since been expanded over the years. Despite a secure prominent position in the market thanks to its excellent quality-toprice ratio and Belgian craftmanship, Recor NV has not rested on its laurels and instead chooses to maintain a strong focus on R&D; this strategic decision has resulted in the company further strengthening its reputation for design excellence from the initial drawings through 115

Recor NV

to the consultations that take place with fabric manufacturers. On top of this keen eye for detail, the company is also customer-centric and cooperates closely with clients to deliver tailored models for unique requests. With teams employed within individual product departments to monitor and check for product imperfections, the ISO 9001 certified Recor NV can deliver the products made at its three facilities with confidence. “I would definitely say the quality of our products and the services we provide are our two key strengths. Although we have several designers in house, we have been developing new products together with our major customers over the last few years. Furthermore, we mention to every new customer that it is our goal to work on a long-term partnership, where co-operation, quality and service are our core aspects,” says Marc. “However, our very wide range of products is also an important strength, particularly for the export market as our customer has the option to mix all items and fill up one container. There is only one loading address in Hasselt, where we are headquartered, which is only 80 kilometres from Antwerp port, one of this biggest ports in Europe. Although our home market remains very strong, we have noticed that the market is quite tough in Europe, so we are trying to increase our export market by working with some big groups like Steinhoff while also participating on international fairs such as Cologne and Shanghai.” In addition to attracting attention on an international scale, the company also holds an in-house exhibition on an annual basis at its showrooms in Hasselt; aimed at European customers, the event is known for increasing sales upon its completion. Products manufactured by the group are diverse enough to reach a wide range of customer requirements; for example, Belform merges eyecatching, on-trend designs with superior quality to attract those seeking modern, high-end designs that are minimalist, chic and timeless. There are


four collections under the Belform umbrella: romantic sofas, modern sofas, trendy classical sofas and armchairs, all of which are synonymous with quality, comfort, design and style. Within the modern range are a number of stunning corner sofas, complete with pouffes, that are simple yet stylish; among these is the Belform Garcia, which boasts shiny metal feet that adorn the entire sofa as well as a solid feel thanks to the wooden frame of oak used during production. Moreover, the seats guarantee a high level of comfort thanks to the steel serpentine springs and foam inside them. Meanwhile, Recor’s teen bedroom range offers a broad spectrum of possibilities for customers; as an example, the Twister Recor teen room, which consists of pine carizzo combined with white décor, offers opportunities for a bed at 90/120/160 x 200 cm, bed drawer, a bunkbed or storage bed at 90 x 200 cm, three additional trays for said bunkbed, a nightstand, night table, wardrobe with two doors or three doors, a low bookcase with doors; a chest of drawers built for a bookshelf or

clothes, mounted side, office, TV element, small shelves or large shelves and bed lighting. The versatility in Recor NV’s offering means even the most demanding of customers will be satisfied with the end result. While the company continues to sit pretty in the Belgian market and export to more than 40 countries across the globe, with the economic crisis now in the recovery period, Marc has his sights set on areas that he believes will offer further opportunities. “Throughout 2016 the focus will be on the German and UK markets, as this is where we still have a lot of potential for growth,” he concludes.

Recor NV Products: Manufactures furniture for living rooms and bedrooms

Recor NV’s Material Optimisation Delivers Customer Satisfaction When Recor NV cites a high degree of confidence in delivering quality furniture product from Hasselt, one area where the manufacturer’s longstanding focus on product quality and customer service is exemplified is through its packaging process. An early adopter of operational process improvement, several years ago Recor NV implemented the concept of a “one piece flow,” the practice of moving product from one workstation to the next, one piece at a time, without allowing inventory to build up in-between steps. To achieve this significant process change from a batch production environment, Recor NV reviewed its packaging practices and uncovered an ideal opportunity to improve its internal logistics and eliminate inventory bottlenecks through the installation of an On Demand Packaging® system from Packsize International. [] As a systems-based approach, On Demand Packaging gives manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors the ability to be more flexible, resourceresponsible, and sustainable by making the box at the pack stage of their packaging processes. Recor NV’s Operations Director Marc Wouters says of the process: “On Demand Packaging supports our one piece flow production environment by packaging what we need, when we need it.”

Effective Change with Packsize To efficiently distribute Recor NV’s versatile product offering in a manner consistent with its strong focus on detail, the manufacturer’s case-packing process needed to be addressed. At the time, Recor stocked a large supply of different sized boxes, with the box supplier managing the inventory. While box inventories are designed to buffer against spikes and lulls in demand, in reality, the reorder points and run sizes are driven by forecasting data that is easily flawed so stockouts and obsolete box inventory become unavoidable. “Planning for packaging needs was a difficult problem since our former process required a great deal of manufacturer/supplier co-ordination,” said Wouters. “The inventory of corrugated boxes also required us to maintain a significant amount of warehouse space.” In late-2007, Recor NV began using for its assembled furniture line the Packsize EM6-50, a multi-patented converting machine designed for large box production environments that creates custom cases from Packsize’s

proprietary z-Fold™ continuous corrugated stock. The recycled material can be creased, cut, and scored into an infinite number of case sizes and styles. The EM6 can produce boxes from a variety of corrugated cardboard widths ranging from 27 cm to 240 cm and thicknesses from 3 mm to 7 mm. Recognising the extensive operational benefits that On Demand Packaging brought its assembled furniture packaging operation, Recor NV installed the Packsize EM7-25 in 2011 to support its ready-to-assemble furniture lines as well. To create the custom-sized case(s) for Recor NV product, once the size and number of boxes needed is transferred, the Packsize machine automatically cuts the corrugated z-Fold to size, complete with score lines and glue tab. The flattened box is then delivered to an automatic closing line, the products are then moved on the box and closed automatically in the following machine. “We are no longer restricted by machine set-up times and internal logistics,” explains Wouters. “Today, we can produce 10 of one SKU, 40 of the next, and one of another at any given time, with packaging to match. As a result, storage for our finished goods inventory has decreased dramatically while realising a cross section of measurable improvements.” On Demand Packaging has increased the manufacturer’s flexibility and responsiveness. According to Wouters: “If we experience high demand for a particular product, we can respond immediately.” By recognising that implementing a one piece flow was critical to shortening delivery lead times for its business, Recor NV provides accurate, complete, and on-time shipments to fully satisfy customers. “With the switch from purchasing and storing finished boxes to building boxes on demand with Packsize, we enjoy several layers of operational improvement and cost reduction,” explains Wouters. “Packsize made it easy for us to adapt to change.” l 117

UK Leather Federation

A positive leather


Acting as the definitive voice of the UK leather industry, membership-based organisation the UK Leather Federation (UKLF) strives to represent, promote and protect the leather industry in the UK through a focused, authoritative and influential body


irst incorporated in 1920 as the United Tanners Federation, the UK Leather Federation (UKLF) has been through a number of name changes and company mergers before it took its current title in 2005. “We became the British Leather Federation in 1950 and merged with the Leather Institute in 1954, at which point we retained the name British Leather Federation. Almost 30 years on, we merged with the British Leather Manufacturers Research Association in 1983


as the British Leather Confederation; this later became BLC, Leather Technology Centre, and finally emerged as the UK Leather Federation in 2005,� confirms Dr Kerry Senior, Director at the UK Leather Federation. Focused on representing, promoting and protecting the UK leather industry, the UKLF provides support to its members in a number of ways; these include the provision of information, advice and help on a wide range of issues such as existing forthcoming legislation as well as various

Clyde Leather Company

commercial and technical matters. “These matters include raw material supplies, prices and quality, environmental challenges and a range of import and export issues,” explains Kerry. “By acting as an information resource for our members, we can keep them abreast of changes in legislation, market trends and statistics, alongside other developments that may affect them. These are issues that, due to limited resources in terms of personnel and time, some members

simply wouldn’t be able to stay ahead of.” One way the UKLF helps its members remain in-the-know is through its involvement in the technical secretariat developing the product category rules for determining the environmental impact of leather manufacture. “These rules are being developed as part of the EC ‘Single Market for Green Products Initiative’, a complex, technical issue with implications for the entire European leather sector,” says Kerry. “In the same vein, we

Clyde Leather Company has been sited at Broadlie Leather Works, Glasgow since 1963, although the company was created in 1955. The company has grown rapidly and products range from suede and pigmented printed splits to industrial gloving. The finished split has become the principal product, supplying leading training shoe manufacturers and other leading mainstream leather and suede manufacturers. The company tailor-make every customer’s requirements to produce a bespoke product worthy of its continued existence and growing reputation in the British Leather Industry. Clyde Leather Company is the only third generation suede tannery in Scotland. It continues to receive and value the assistance it gets from the UK Leather Federation with respect to technical and other support and is appreciative of the voice the Federation has within the British Leather Industry. The company has huge enthusiasm for developing and improving the quality of their leathers. It has an enthusiastic and dynamic workforce and with the implementation of new machinery and ongoing people investment continues to keep in step with the latest techniques. The company, under the leadership of Mr Richard Harris, Managing Director, has flourished and has a promising future, both with respect to plant and site investment and new products and challenges. 119

UK Leather Federation

represent our members in consultation with the UK government on legislation and policy by interacting with DEFRA, BIS and the Environment Agency, among others. Ultimately, we make the case for the UK industry so they can get on with making leather.” The organisation further strengthens its influence, experience and information through its membership of COTANCE (the European tanners association) and the International Council of Tanners. “Our membership of COTANCE gives us a much louder voice, which is of great importance because much of the relevant policy is now developed in Europe and the UK industry is very small, resulting in us carrying little lobbying weight. This is one of the main challenges for us, however, our biggest challenge is to reverse the perception that tanning is a ‘sunset’ industry and instead draw attention to the great successes of the UK tanners. For example, the UK remains a net exporter of leather and British leather is used by some of the best known brands in the world, such as Aston Martin, Jaguar, Landrover, Footjoy,


Berghaus, Burberry and many of the prestigious English men’s shoemakers,” says Kerry. Alongside the aforementioned benefits, membership at UKLF also provides those within the leather industry with opportunities to network with other companies in the sector, to share experiences with problems and to join other members in concerted actions or representations. Members also have access via the secretariat to general information and industry statistics, including Health & Safety advice, legislation and updates. On top of this, through industry trusts, UKLF can provide funding for companies in the industry to train their staff and for individuals to travel to improve their knowledge and understanding of the industry. “We participate in EC-funded projects, such as ‘Leather is my job!’ to promote the industry as a career, particularly to young job-seekers. UKLF will also be involved in the development of the Trailblazer apprenticeship for leather manufacturing, providing structured, meaningful training for new employees at the start of their career in the leather industry. There are great opportunities available for those working in the leather sector. For example, The Institute of Creative Leather Technology at the University of Northampton has a 100 per cent employability rate for its graduates, who can find opportunities anywhere in the world and with major chemical companies and brands as well as tanneries; this would be a very attractive prospect for a school-leaver looking to choose

a career,” highlights Kerry. Although the UKLF and those operating within the leather industry face challenges against cheaper supplies from overseas, an increase in the costs of raw materials by 114 per cent from January 2007 to November 2013 and profit squeezes, there have also been positive developments, with a continual increase in the value of UK leather exports seen over the last three years. Moving forward, the UKLF will focus on widening its membership to include more downstream users, which will increase its lobby and representatives and hopefully increase contact between the UK leather manufacturers and users. Moreover, it will look to attract more people to the industry through measures including a Trailblazer apprenticeship and continue to lobby for mandatory labeling for leather products, while challenging the myths and misconceptions surrounding the material. “Our goal over the coming years remains the same: to support the success, growth and global recognition of the UK leather industry,” concludes Kerry.

UK Leather Federation Services: Represents, promotes and protects the UK leather industry

Right: A Voith operative working on the technical cleaning of a car paint shop

VoithLaufenberg Industrial Services UK



Voith Industrial Services provides an unrivalled level of service to a number of international blue chip clients, both in terms of the breadth of offering but also the scale at which it is able to operate

V Preventive maintenance work being carried out on plant room equipment as part of facilities management services at a car plant

oith’s history is vast and impressive. As one of the largest familyowned companies in Europe, the business employs 39,000 people and turns over 5.3 billion euros every year. Established in 1867, Voith GmbH now operates in the energy, oil and gas, paper, raw materials, transport and automotive markets delivering products and engineering services to a broad range of clients. Within the group is the Voith Industrial Services division, itself an expansive entity employing 18,500 people across 205 sites generating revenues of 1.178 million euros in 2014. With extensive engineering knowledge and industrial experience behind it, the division provides unrivalled levels of service from cleaning to complex assembly to a range of industries. Voith’s operations within the UK give some indication of the level of incredible growth and success the company is capable of achieving. In 2010 the company employed 650 people with a turnover of 33 million euros. Today - just five years later - those numbers have risen 121

Phil Spencer

Pro Clean Industrial Services

In 1992 Pro Clean Industrial Services were established and have seen a steady growth since, dealing with high profile clients to smaller family businesses. Pro Clean Industrial Services are specialists in providing a complete management service for the collection and disposal of bulk liquid/sludge/packaged and solid hazardous waste streams. We provide all the necessary legal paperwork for the removal, carriage and disposal of associated waste product. Pro Clean are regarded as an industry leader both locally and nationally and are commended for their excellent levels of efficiency and customer service.


dramatically to 2600 staff and over 100 million euros in sales. Finding its roots in the unparalleled reputation held by Voith across the globe, this growth has been the result of a core UK business strategy based on organic growth, new business development and one key acquisition in a sector where the company had already amassed specialist expertise. Voith’s UK business is mainly focused on providing a wide range of outsourced and technical services to the UK automotive industry as well as the wider transport sector. Phil Spencer,

Sales and Business Development Director at Voith Industrial Services outlines in more detail the company’s key market focus: “In the UK, we have been able to win key contracts with several major international automotive manufacturers because we have been consistent in focusing very sharply on specific market sectors. Our name is becoming more well-known in the car manufacturing field, but we believe that there are further opportunities for us with Tier One suppliers to the automotive industry and some of the specialist vehicle areas.” Amongst these major international automotive manufacturers, not many names escape from Voith’s client list. General Motors, Ford, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Aston Martin and Case New Holland all now feature. Many of these clients are served through on-site employees, meaning that the vast majority of Voith’s UK employees are based at customers’ sites across the country. Phil goes on to give an overview of the company’s offering to these clients. “Today there are three pillars to our business,” he says. “First, there’s the on-site services where we work totally on our customers’ sites. These include activities such as facility management, technical cleaning

Voith Industrial Services UK

Left: A Voith assembly operative lifts an axle assembly from a Vauxhall production line at Luton Below: A Voith assembly operative working on the engine dress on the engine assembly line

of paint shops and other managed processes. Then there’s our assembly services, for which we have our own dedicated facilities, such as our wheel and tyre assembly operation in Coventry. Finally, there are the projects for companies that are expanding their facilities. This often involves construction and civil engineering work, and can also encompass dis-assembly and re-assembly, or the introduction of, for example, a new paint shop.” In terms of on-site services, Voith is the world’s leading provider of technical cleaning services in paint shops with references in over 80 car plants across the globe. Having already established a name for itself offering these services in the UK, in 2012 the company took a significant step towards

While our roots remain in cleaning services, we have been growing our business by developing our engineering and technical expertise in specific areas so that we believe we are now world-class in specific assembly services

solidifying its position in the automotive market by acquiring Coventry-based ThyssenKrupp Services Ltd. The move brought vast resources and clients with it, raising the total number of staff within the UK to over 2000 working across 35 separate locations. Importantly, not only did the purchase build new client relationships with the likes of JLR, BMW and Ford, as well as several other automotive and non-automotive companies, but it helped Voith strengthen its technical cleaning and technical services offering to them. An example of the services now offered within this division includes a two-year £2 million facilities management contract for Peugeot Citroen Automobiles in Coventry. At the client’s UK HQ at Pinley House, which employs around 123

are rred


Voith Industrial Services UK

A Voith operative working on the overnight preparation and cleaning of buses

Jel Industrial Supplies Ltd

JEL is a family run business, next year we will proudly celebrate our 80th trading year, we supply every manufacturing sector with industrial & protective clothing, boots, chemicals and consumables. JEL boast expertise in supplying Clean Rooms for many of the UK’s leading Automotive/Aerospace companies: Aston Martin, Bentley, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Toyota, Vauxhall – BAE, Britannia, Cobham, MBA, Monarch, Meggitt and Virgin. JEL provide first class service at competitive prices, to all customers old & new, no order too small or too large, most items are in stock and all deliveries are free

450 people, the company is carrying out the cleaning of offices, post room and reception as well as managing security and on-site facilities maintenance. In addition to this, Voith is also providing cleaning, battery charging and security services to Peugeot’s Tile Hill distribution centre, a 30,000 square metre warehouse, which handles thousands of parts and accessories for the UK dealer network. It also operates two of its biggest contracts for JLR. The first covers three of JLR’s UK manufacturing plants in Solihull, Castle Bromwich and Halewood, and covers a range of services including technical cleaning services for paint shops, electrical, heating, ventilation and airconditioning maintenance, janitorial and office cleaning and waste management. The second contract at the newly constructed Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) was competitively tendered by Voith and covers an extensive range of services from cleaning, waste and grounds maintenance, to landscaping and winter services. This contract also includes the maintenance of all facility equipment such as boilers, heating and ventilation systems, water treatment and the disposal of metal scrap and swarf to the factory gate. However, its ambitions for providing a comprehensive service to its clients does not stop there and one area of diversification for the company has been in expanding the service its employees are able to offer to its clients. “While our roots remain in cleaning services, we have been growing our business by developing our

engineering and technical expertise in specific areas so that we believe we are now worldclass in specific assembly services,” says Phil. This is exemplified by Voith’s relationship with Vauxhall, which reaches back to the late 1990s with a cleaning contract at the manufacturer’s Luton plant. Part of this relationship involved the installation of a £1 million wax booth to provide overbody protection for vehicles being exported to overseas markets. However, as the business with Vauxhall progressed, as too did the range of services Voith supplied to them and soon it had grown from carrying out small sub-assembly works to assembling safety-critical modules, including axles, struts, front corners and subframes. With this assembly experience gradually gaining momentum in regards to the business’s reputation, two years ago Voith’s engineers were asked to join Vauxhall in a joint venture with Renault in more advanced technical areas and as such became the only major supplier to be represented on the manufacturing launch team for the new Vivaro van. Here the company’s engineers helped to design and develop a new layout for part of the engine assembly line. In its Luton facility, the company now manages and controls all incoming material for the engine dress process, with engineers preparing engine kits, and assembling the gearbox and ancillary parts to the engine. These include starter motors, alternators, power take-off, pulleys, fan belts and a full wiring harness. “As a partner to Vauxhall we were delighted 125


Voith Industrial Services UK

when the Luton plant became the first in GM’s manufacturing portfolio in Europe and the third in the world to achieve the Built in Quality (BIQ) Level Four honour in recognition of its world-class quality control standards,” notes Phil testifying to the high level of expert service Voith was able to contribute. Elsewhere, the company’s Torrington Avenue facility, which employs 80 people, recently won the prestigious JLR Quality award, JLRQ. Here Voith has continued its tradition of providing assembly services to the automotive industry with a wheel and tyre operation supplying finished assemblies to the Jaguar model range and the Land Rover Defender. The award followed a 12-month assessment on a range of criteria including quality, delivery, technical ability and planned preventative maintenance programmes, and serves to illustrate again the engineering competence held within Voith. Keen to expand this technical expertise to the wider market, earlier in 2015, the company announced that it is to open the UK’s most technically advanced wheel and tyre assembly plant in Coventry during 2016. Currently, the

97,000 square foot facility, which has been carrying out its operations for more than 30 years, houses three production lines turning out around 4000 units per day. The brand-new multi-million pound site will be developed nearby in order to cope with the growing demand from the automotive industry, and will cover 140,000 square feet, employ more people and reduce the unit assembly time from 20 seconds

to 12 seconds. Phil highlights the significance of such a move in the market: “More automotive manufacturers are now recognising our technical expertise and quality - not only in this area but also in other more specialist automotive niches.” However, it is not just into other automotive areas that Voith is making progress, but also in the UK’s wider transport sector. In 2010, for instance, it successfully transferred the skills it had gained from car plants into the bus sector with its Make Ready Services package. This package covers a whole spectrum of services for cleaning vehicles and garage facilities including overnight preparation, exterior and interior cleaning, fuelling, coolant top-ups and shunting for the following day’s service. Also included in the package are deep cab cleans, wheel checks and engine steam cleans, and annual tasks such as MoT cleaning, wet vacuuming of seats and the removal and cleaning of all light fittings. This offering reached a milestone in 2012 when it was awarded the contract to prepare almost 600 buses every night at four of RATP Dev London’s garages. This contract was later extended until 2018 with the addition of private hire vehicles. Another market entry occurred in 2013, when Voith attended Railtex and announced that it had recently secured the biggest contract of its kind in the UK for the rail sector. The five-year contract was for cleaning Alstom-maintained trains on the West Coast mainline operated by Virgin Trains, incorporating First ScotRail, Northern Rail and BTMS contracts, and was worth £40 million. It is undoubtable that Voith has had a successful history on a global scale and a closer look at its operations in the UK really serves to demonstrate the ambitious and widespread, but ultimately wholly competent, services it provides to its clients. With numerous high-value and prestigious contracts under its belt and a worldclass reputation to match, the future for Voith Industrial Services in the UK is bright. “Looking forward we are confident that we can continue our growth and play a positive part in helping our customers achieve even greater successes,” concludes Phil, summing up not only the company’s vision but also its exemplary attitude towards providing true value to its clients.

Voith Industrial Services UK Services:

Provides a broad range of technical and industrial services to the UK automotive and transport industries 127

Reifen Hinghaus



Safe and quality performance sits at the heart of Reifen Hinghaus, an eco-friendly company that strives to drive innovation into the tyre industry


ounded in 1953 and widely known under its brand name, King-Meiler, Reifen Hinghaus specialises in the retreading of tyres for the automotive industry. Providing tyre solutions to a range of applications from passenger cars, through light trucks and trailers, to highly specialised racing cars for a variety of disciplines and surfaces, the company has carved itself a significant position in the market. “The stronger the market conditions have got over the years, the more the company has established its position as the most important player in the German retreading industry,” explains MD, Mark Hinghaus Kaul. “At King-Meiler there is something for everyone: individuals, business people, local communities, companies and even racing drivers.” Excellent connections to online shops like enable final consumers to order summer, winter or all season tyres fast and straight, just making the decision where to receive it – at home or at any service station. In most cases racing teams can


be supported directly at the paddock of several tracks in Europe. Germany remains the key market for Reifen Hinghaus, with close to 70 per cent of sales coming from the domestic market, but the King-Meiler brand has made significant tracks in other markets across Europe, enjoying particular strength in the Baltic regions. With manufacturing based in Germany, the company proudly displays the ‘made in Germany’ mark, standing for quality and reliability in a country internationally renowned for its automotive industry. “One of our main advantages is reliability and involvement in research and development,” outlines Mark. “Besides market flexibility you have to stay focused on the values you stand for. For us these are safety, performance and environmental consideration.” Operating in the niche market of tyre retreading, Reifen Hinghaus continues to face the challenge of negative perceptions towards safety, and the company is keen to allay these fears by proving the quality

and performance of its products, as well as by playing a key role in the industry’s innovative progression. “Retreading tyres is one of the first and longstanding methods of ensuring environmental protection,” says Mark. “However, between our wishes for comfort and our responsibility to the environment, we are always searching for the best solution without forgetting the exceptionally important point of safety. At KingMeiler we strive to achieve all three points in one product on a par with newly produced tyres and our intention is to overcome this challenge by proving that we have high performing tyres

with extraordinary safety. Most important for alleviating these fears of safety, testing organisations such as TÜV-Nord and Prüflabor Nord certify King-Meiler factory retread tyres. In order to achieve this our products have to pass tests that place higher demands than those for new tyres.” Further testifying to the quality and safe performance of King-Meiler tyres, leading German automotive TV show and magazine auto mobil ranked the company’s WinterTact tyre third place alongside other leading new and retread tyre brands. Alongside meeting industry standards to overcome challenging perceptions, Reifen


With sites in Manchester and Gloucestershire, the Berwin Group is the UK’s leading custom compounder. With a global customer base built around 60 years of technical excellence it provides rubber and silicone based compounds that conform to both international standards and bespoke customer requirements for tyre, automotive, aerospace, construction, drainage and sewerage, military, railways and many more. Berwin operates a policy of continual investment in order to produce the highest quality compounds at the most economical price. Its wide range of elastomeric compounds and services are designed to meet the diverse requirements of today’s demanding and challenging global industries. 129

Reifen Hinghaus

Hinghaus places a lot of focus on research and development. “There are several fields to mention when it comes to innovation,” explains Mark. “In co-operation with Lanxess, a very successful technical rubber company, we have established a symbiotic situation in the advancement of knowledge about the practical operating range of rubber, which provides us with the opportunity to find special rubber mixtures and exclusive compounds for KingMeiler tyres. These help set our factory retread tyres apart from the competition.” Approved by this success the manufacturer has been inspired to design its own pattern for an all season tyre and let approved fabricators of the inevitable moulds manufacture it. The King-Meiler AS-1, is already published at the international market. “As well as this we have been involved in a special project with a leading university supporting the development of tyre stabilisation. This is all about bias stabilisation and once the project is completed successfully there will be a brand-new way to overcome the physical forces


that affect tyres, for instance when cornering.” However, despite challenges, the fact that Reifen Hinghaus has occupied a significant position in the market for over six decades, playing a prominent role in the industry’s development for much of that time, only serves to illustrate its success. With this in mind it is no surprise that the company continues to invest heavily into its factory and processes as it continues to show trends of growth. Of late, and in accordance with its core value of environmental responsibility, it has installed solar panels to supply its entire energy needs and a thermal heat pump to conserve heat and prevent energy loss throughout the factory. In terms of operations a new packing machine has helped the business optimise logistics and improved its ability to serve customers directly through wholesalers and online retailers alike. Regarding the future, Reifen Hinghaus is exemplary in its outlook. “We are focused on success within our numerous projects, in terms of how we can help protect the environment, and thus our health and how we can make

tyres safer,” concludes Mark. “This will involve continuing to find new, better solutions and presenting retread tyres in the proper light that they deserve. Alongside our re-launched website we will be hosting a number of events and promotions to help do this. Of course, whilst we always have one eye on our sales figures, at the forefront of our business, success means evolution, both for the company and its products, but also for the industry as a whole. “As such the future for us will be centred around expansion into new markets, launching new products and supporting a variety of social schemes. Above all, we will let curiosity be our guide as we continue to develop.”

Reifen Hinghaus Services: Specialist in tyre retreading

Ardagh Group Laufenberg

A global


Innovation, quality and sustainability have been key to Ardagh Group establishing a dominant reputation as a world leader in packaging


ith 19,000 employees operating from 89 facilities in 21 countries around the world and counting names like Coca Cola, Heineken, Unilever and L’Oreal amongst its client list, Ardagh Group may well be one of the most prominent supply chain companies in the world. In fact, with over 35 billion containers produced every year it is estimated that an average household will possess at least six products produced by Ardagh at any given time. And whilst its long established expertise in metal and glass manufacturing may well be the basis for holding such a leading position, one currently worth 4.7 billion euros in revenue, it is its unrivalled commitment to

constant innovation and sustainability practices that secures it for the future. Through a dedicated R&D facility in Crosmières, France, more than 100 scientists, researchers and designers are focused on developing product and process innovations. As such, Ardagh is the recipient of over 100 international innovation awards – apt recognition for its ability to shape the future of glass and metal packaging. Amongst its innovations from the metal division are production methods such as DWI (Draw and Wall Ironing) and opening solutions such as Easip®, OptiLift® and Easy Peel®. In terms of metal solutions, Ardagh is a leader in aluminium and steel packaging across a number of sectors including aerosols, food 131


Ardagh Group

and beverages. Within its aerosol offering, to which it supplies the pharmaceutical, personal care, household, food and industrial sectors, the group has forged its position at the front of the market with innovative shaping and decoration techniques such as freestyle body shaping, 360 degree decoration, blow-shaping, die-necking, embossing and debossing. Looking at its metal food packaging solution, it is clear to see the company’s efforts to deliver sustainable, cost effective solutions, whilst maintaining the protective qualities and consumer convenience so demanded by the global market. Ardagh has become highly acclaimed for its next-generation can, a packaging solution based on ten years of research and development, which uses nitrogen dosing processes to achieve a 43 per cent thinner can wall and an overall material saving of 15 per cent compared to industry standards. As such, the company received the UK Metal Pack of the Year Award in 2013. Other innovations include DWI, which, using cutting edge extrusion and pressing processes, has resulted in a 33 per cent lighter product compared to two decades ago, and simple opening solutions for improved user convenience. Amongst these is Easy Peel®, which combines simple production methods with aesthetically pleasing quality. In October 2015, Ardagh announced a ten-year contract to operate a newly built ‘wall-to-wall’ metal packaging plant in South Korea for leading regional food processor, Sajo. Sajo is the first Korean company to switch to Ardagh’s metal packaging Easy Peel® solution, a move that has been welcomed by the government, keen to support the safest, most sustainable and convenient consumer packaging. One particularly innovative solution recently launched in collaboration with talented packaging design students from the University of Twente in Holland has been a new convenient, microwaveable packaging solution. Using extensive knowledge and experience the team developed a unique system of food safe lacquering and printing to allow the bowl to be heated safely. As a result, Emmi, a European leader in innovative dairy products, has picked up the concept as a new all-in-one cheese fondue bowl. Other specialities within metal production for Ardagh include bottles, bottle cans, kegs, nutritional and seafood solutions, paint tins as well as a range of custom solutions. When it comes to glass, Ardagh continues to display its global leadership position serving customers in the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Illustrating its dominance in the market, a whole host of global brands across all sectors all rely on Ardagh glass packaging solutions. Within its capabilities, the

company can produce 17 different glass colours from sites spread across the globe. In some of its wine bottle facilities in the US it can also run two unique bottle shapes on the same line simultaneously to cope with both large and small volume demands. Encompassing this ability to deliver innovative and quality products on such large volumes to many of the world’s leading brands is Ardagh’s commitment to sustainability. The group currently works towards the goal of becoming the world’s leading supplier of inherently sustainable packaging and are keen promoters of the ‘circular economy’ for metal and glass as permanent materials, in that they can be recycled infinitely without quality being hindered at all. For instance, in its facilities in Dongen, the Netherlands, and Massachusetts, USA, it operates furnaces that use 90 per cent recycled glass – a benchmark for global glass production. In its continual efforts to achieve higher standards of sustainably and corporate responsibility, a number of environmental initiatives are in place at every Ardagh site. In the US, the company’s Conklin site has recently received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the US Green Building Council for its zero landfill strategy. This responsibility extends to community engagement and in Limmared, Sweden, where the group has installed an innovative energyexchange facility the 5000-strong community is now receiving 100 per cent of its hot water and heating requirements from Ardagh’s waste heat. The result of this is a 50 per cent price reduction compared to alternative energy suppliers. It is the group’s overarching goal to have a long-term, meaningful community project at every one of its 89 locations by 2017. Supported by an array of highly reputable and quality focused suppliers, Ardagh expertly deploys its ability to innovate and deliver unrivalled results to its customers. However, its desire to go beyond this and engage effectively with its social and environmental impact is exemplary, and key to a company of such a scale to continue operating successfully. It is these initiatives and its careful attention to quality products that affords the group its world-renowned success which looks set to continue long into the future.

Ardagh Group Services: World leading manufacturer of metal and glass packaging solutions 133

Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV



Following four decades in operation within Belgium, Reznor made a strategic move to increase global market recognition and enhance collaboration opportunities by aligning with Nortek in May 2015


Nortek systems are equipped with Ziehl-Abegg fans. Ziehl-Abegg is an internationally leading company in the ventilation and drive technology sector with matching control technology. The high-tech company impresses with its high degree of vertical integration. Ziehl-Abegg has more than 3400 employees and they are distributed globally among 16 production plants, 27 companies and 87 sales locations. Emil Ziehl founded the company in 1910 in Berlin as a manufacturer of electric motors. After the Second World War the company headquarters was relocated to Southern Germany. Ziehl-Abegg SE is family owned.



ow known as Nortek Global HVAC Europe NV, under its original name of Reznor Europe, the company has more than 125 years of history in the production of warm air unit heater and air handling units. Further innovative developments took place over the years thanks to the company’s exceptional R&D program, which resulted in launching the innovative X series design being launched in 1960. In 1964 ITT Reznor was founded and an assembly line was set up in Belgium for production of vital components that were at first imported into the US. However, the variety of industry standards across various European countries resulted in the establishment of a production company in Menen Belgium in 1966. Over the next four decades the company obtained certification and a distinction for quality and organised structure and increased its product portfolio with innovative equipment such as the V3 line and the first multifunctional PREEVA air handling units that can combine ventilation, heating and optional cooling,

free cooling, heat recovery, air-mixing and filtering. After the launch of PREEVA in 2005, the company was on a roll with the launch of the UESA, a high efficiency unit heater that was based on the V3 gas fired unit heater and can reach 103 per cent thermal efficiency at full load, in 2008. One year later Reznor Europe expanded its range with the higher efficiency PREEVA SHH and RHH a range of compact condensing air handling units for both indoor and outdoor installation. Discussing the benefits of using the company’s wide range of products, Chris Grammens, Business Unit Manager at Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV said: “Gas fired warm air heating is, in a lot of commercial and industrial applications, by far the most efficient solution to heat up your building. “Advantages include the heating speed (short response time to heat demand), as warm air heaters do not use intermediate fluids such as water; the start up time is very short as all thermal inertia typical of traditional water systems are eliminated and there are no stand-still losses as there is no reservoir needed.

Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV

“Due to the absence of water, warm air heaters cannot freeze and avoid any trouble connected to the presence of limestone. Moreover, the modular plant can be easily modified and reinforced according to the customer’s future needs. On top of this, the simplicity of the plant guarantees an extremely easy and quick installation. “Additionally, only one single connection to the gas pipeline and one to the electrical network, as well as a normal check up at the beginning of the season, ensure simplicity, reliability and low running costs. Warm air heaters also have a wide application range and, because each single warm air heater is an independent and autonomous heating unit, each can work on its own; this allows independent regulation of the temperature of any zone for the time required. All of these benefits lead to extremely low running costs, which is much appreciated by the end users.” The Reznor strong commitment to continuous product development and R&D naturally attracted the attention of the American group Nortek, which acquired the global Reznor HVAC division, including Reznor Europe, from ABB/Thomas & Betts in 2014. As Chris states: “Reznor Europe NV is not a legal entity anymore and is now Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV. But the brand Reznor is still


used for gasfired warm air heaters. Nortek Global HVAC Belgium, together with Nortek Global HVAC UK and Nortek Global HVAC France forms Nortek Global HVAC Europe, which is a part of the NORTEK group. The NORTEK group, quoted on the NSQ Stock exchange, has five divisions in total of which Nortek Global HVAC is one of them. The most important side of this move is that NORTEK is very familiar with Reznor’s activities seeing the fact that about 70 per cent of the NORTEK business has to do with heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which means that the Reznor activities fit very well in the NORTEK business and that NORTEK has a lot of understanding of the opportunities and threats linked to our business.” One year on, Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV further proved its dedication to innovation with another major milestone: the rooftop unit P125. Developed for the heating, cooling and ventilation/ energy recovery markets, a unique feature of the rooftop unit P125 is the optional gas fired heating coil. Moreover, the P125 is the first heat pump to be developed entirely within Nortek Global HVAC, thus showing its versatility when it comes to adapting to the demands of an ever-evolving HVAC market. A current development within the European market is the Ecodesign for ErP (energy related products) directive affecting all energy consuming products and products related to it. The ErP directive is designed to help the EU achieve its target of reducing energy use by 20 per cent while also increasing the share of renewable energies by 20 per cent by 2020. This directive will affect the Reznor product range, as it ensures they have to meet the minimum efficiency and maximum emission requirements starting from 2018 on. This regulation will significantly change the landscape of heating products. Elaborating on market conditions, Chris explains: “The European markets in general were rather

flat last year, but we now see a picking up of the markets again. However, as Reznor/NORTEK is the European market leader on the gasfired warm air heating devices for commercial and industrial applications, it will be difficult to create more growth in this market segment. Other products will be brought on the market, in order to grow further. We are looking at developing and selling products, which can be complementary to the actual gas fired heating systems.” Moving forward, this is a major focus for the organisation, which will use its proven strengths in innovation and product development to ensure it is ready to respond to new market challenges with high quality, forward thinking solutions. “We want to keep on offering high quality, highly efficient products with low environmental impact over their complete lifecycle. We will get the maximum performance out of gasfired appliances and parallel to this, alternative technologies will be considered,” concludes Chris.

Nortek Global HVAC Belgium NV

Products: Warm air unit heater and air handling units

Rocialle and ABM UHB receive awards from MediWales for their collaboration in producing a cannulation pack for use across Wales

Rocialle Laufenberg

A quality


Having supplied healthcare providers with sterile and non-sterile packs and consumable items that are vital to patient care for more than 30 years, Rocialle has become a wellreputed partner of those in both the clinical and commercial sectors


edicated to helping providers of primary and acute healthcare to improve efficiency and control infection, Rocialle has developed a strong reputation for improving patient experience and driving down the costs of high quality medical products. In acute care, Rocialle supplies to the majority of NHS Trusts in the UK. Rocialle’s market leading position was earned by closely matching products and services to the needs of the healthcare providers. The cornerstone of Rocialle’s business is its Custom Procedure Pack. Rocialle works with the customer to specify the contents of a single sterile pack that presents surgical teams with all of the consumables required for a particular procedure. During and after implementation of the pack, Rocialle’s clinical team continues to work with clinicians to refine the specification. Providing the same items each time the procedure is performed and packed in a way that facilitates the consistent laying out of the items, the pack standardises the procedure and embeds best practice, furthering infection control and improving efficiency. Following pack

implementation, nurses spend less time picking and unwrapping components and so can dedicate more time to patient care. Also, cost savings are made because purchasing administration and stock management are simplified. Rocialle’s Medical Packs offer the same benefits of standardisation and embedding of best practice for procedures conducted on wards and in the community, and the company’s Single-Use Surgical Instruments also further the company’s aim of helping healthcare providers achieve increased efficiency and infection control. A part of Berendsen Plc, a FTSE250 company and European textile business, Rocialle employs 300 people at its Mountain Ash site, in close proximity to Cardiff. At this purpose-built site, one of the largest medical clean rooms in Europe and an electron beam irradiation steriliser (e-beam), together with extensive stocks of raw materials, enable Rocialle to be highly responsive to customers’ needs. Finished goods are stored at a separate but nearby National Distribution Centre. Designed, built and equipped to enable the company to provide flexible, high quality and cost effective performance, Rocialle’s site is

complemented by a team of competent and quality focused employees. Products are prepared and packed in a clean room that is stringently monitored by Rocialle’s own microbiology lab, which thus ensures the clean room maintains the high standards that led to the company achieving ISO 14644, Class 719. In the clean room, products are sealed inside the ‘inner’ packaging. Once boxed, the products are sterilised by the e-beam. This method has long proven to be effective, safe and lower in cost than alternative methods. Finished goods are sent to the National Distribution Centre in Aberdare for consolidation and dispatch to customers. Having striven to gain its market leading position, the actions of Rocialle’s management team demonstrate that the company will not stand still. While discussing investment that the company has made in machinery over the last 18 months, Managing Director Steve Burt says: “We’ve installed a new line that improves the packaging of our single-use instruments. Working together with the specialist machine builder Multivac enabled us to specify and install a line that meets our requirements exactly. We can now 137


Rocialle Markem-Imaje

Designed to print clear high contrast codes at fast speeds, the SmartDate X60 delivers reliable high resolution thermal transfer printing in the most demanding environments. Featuring a long life high-speed printhead, the SmartDate X60 can print at pack speeds of up to 1000mm per second at full 300dpi. Capable of full resin printing at up to 600mm per second it is the perfect partner for applications, which require longer lasting, durable codes on substrates including flexible films and foils. The SmartDate X60 is offered with 18 months warranty as standard while the printhead is guaranteed and will be replaced free of charge within the first year or 60 kilometers of ribbon, if a single dot fails.

Mark Drakeford presenting Rocialle’s Simon Stokes with his BTEC Level 3 Electrical/Electronic Apprenticeship (ONC) Certificate, achieved with Distinction

Procedure packs being assembled in Rocialle’s clean room

Multivac Uk Ltd

Multivac have been proud suppliers to Rocialle for over 25 years with our range of blister packing, printing and inspection solutions. Our latest generation R245 thermoformer provides great flexibility allowing many different blister sizes to be produced on one packaging line with Multivac’s innovative drawer system for quick and easy changeover between blister sizes. 

Multivac have successfully supplied hundreds of line solutions worldwide incorporating automatic product loading, labelling, inspection, case packing and palletising professionally project managed through to PDI and SAT. All installations are supported by our teams of technical experts giving peace of mind to our customers.

match the size of the pack much more closely to the size of the instrument. Previously, we had only three pack sizes and we’ve increased this to seven. At the same time we invested in new outer packaging, moving from one size of brown box to five sizes of white, wipe clean, dispensing boxes with improved branding. This investment aligned customer perception with the high standard of quality of the instruments and reduced costs of materials and freight. “A piece of equipment of which we are proud is the swab check-weigher. It’s a simple solution for an industry-wide problem and we are the first to have developed it for use in our industry. In a surgical theatre, swabs are always used in fives. Unexpectedly having six swabs would mean that one could remain inside a patient and not be missed when a count is made at the end of the procedure. Starting with four swabs would put the patient at risk of an unnecessary additional procedure to search for the missing fifth swab. So, to ensure the correct supply of a critical but low cost item, we invested in a machine that is more usually used in the food industry. It is a highly accurate scale that weighs the swabs to ensure the correct number is included in the pack. We have effectively solved an industry-wide problem, protecting patient safety and enabling healthcare providers to continue to enjoy the efficiency benefits of having the swabs included in the procedure packs.” Alongside these notable investments, the company continues to invest significantly in training for its employees, not only enhancing their capabilities but also helping them realise the importance of the role they play in the healthcare sector. “I want our employees to feel that they are part of the overall healthcare system and that by ensuring the highest levels of quality and service, they play a role in saving lives - helping healthcare providers control infection, increase efficiency and reduce costs,” highlights Steve. Further demonstrating enhanced employee engagement and empowerment, Rocialle was awarded the coveted SA8000 Social Accountability Standard and is one of only 12 companies in the UK to obtain this certification. “Although we were already ethical in the way we treat our suppliers and staff, we wanted to become the employer of choice for those in our business sector. Improvements we made included changes to overtime arrangements and also appointing an employee representative panel,” explains Steve. “The panel is really about showing our employees that they are valued and looked after so they then look after the business in a responsible and efficient manner. Additionally, the Standard protects the interests of the people employed by our suppliers.” The effects of this continuous investment are

evident in the gains Rocialle has made recently. The winning of NHS tenders for packs and instruments has continued and Rocialle won a competitive tender to retain the procedure pack business of the UK’s largest provider of private healthcare, BMI Healthcare. Meanwhile, the improvements made to the packaging of single-use instruments have been important to the winning of business in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Rocialle’s obvious expertise and experience in the healthcare market make it an attractive option for companies looking for a contract manufacturer. With a dedicated business-tobusiness team for sales and service, Rocialle can be very focused on the specific needs of a customer. While Rocialle branding provides access to the market through Rocialle’s distribution network and supply framework agreements, Rocialle also has considerable experience in supplying own-label and dual branded products. By having their instrument or equipment inside a Rocialle procedure pack, a company offers the same benefits to their customers as are provided by Rocialle products – increased efficiency and control of infection. The manufacturer’s product is supplied with all of the required supplementary items, simplifying the end user’s order administration, stock holding, picking and unwrapping. Less handling means reduced risk of surgical site infection. As Steve says, “Being able to supply their product in such a pack means that training is easier and more effective and best practice is embedded. A recent study has shown that this has huge positive implications for patient safety. Customers are no longer selling just the benefits of their own product but a package that is easier to introduce, reduces costs and saves lives.” Looking ahead, the future looks positive for Rocialle, particularly after the company received the coveted MediWales 2015 ‘Partnership with the NHS’ award for its work with NHS Wales and ABM UHB in the development of a national cannulation procedure pack and one of Rocialle’s contract manufacturing customers won ‘Best Start-Up’, crediting Rocialle in the acceptance speech. “It was a great evening for us, demonstrating how we will continue to bring new benefits to traditional customers and showing what we can add to the products of our contract manufacturing partners,” commented Steve.

Rocialle Products: Sterile surgical and medical procedure packs and single-use surgical instruments 139


An in-home

service Hillarys mission is simple. To make sure every single window in every home gets the focus and attention it truly deserves


nvesting in new products, marketing and manufacturing is a strategy that has seen Nottingham based Hillarys thrive and drive into new markets. And now the company, a market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of made-to-measure window coverings is bringing more than four decades of experience to expand its ‘in-home’ service to other product categories. While today it represents a leading player in window dressings with beautiful made-to-measure blinds, curtains and shutters, Hillarys’ roots date back to 1971 when Tony Hillary began making blinds in his garage at his home in Nottingham. In the beginning the company was truly a one-man operation, with Tony undertaking everything from the advertising and selling to the manufacturing and fitting. Over the following 45 years with its strong emphasis on customer service and product development Hillarys has built up a reputable brand throughout the UK and Ireland and operates across an omnichannel platform with online markets via web-blinds. Since


it was last featured in Manufacturing Today Europe during April 2015, Hillarys has enjoyed significant success, achieving double-digit percentage growth in both revenue and profit. Core to the company’s strategy of delivering premier quality, made-to-measure window coverings is its focus on combining its comprehensive product range with an ‘in-home’ experience that allows customers to work with Hillarys advisors to select the most suitable solution for their homes. “We are very much focused on manufacturing products ourselves, but moving forward the emphasis is on developing the in-home proposition,” explains Darren Lock, manufacturing director. “This means that we take the experience to customers in their home. It is important to add that this is not a ‘hard sell’, we are very much focused on providing a pleasant and knowledgeable experience. We have a national coverage of over 1000 advisers that are self employed and able to visit the customer anywhere in the country. We aim to arrange appointments within seven days of receiving a request from the customer


Maxpack provides a trusted, customised packaging solution. With dedicated, focused attention to gain customer insight, Maxpack is able to deliver relief from the eight key frustrations experienced in the majority of packaging consumables supply situations today. Maxpack will help you to make significant cost savings, reduce packaging stock, create space, minimise downtime, optimise packing staff productivity, eliminate out of stock panics, systemise packing processes, reduce waste and protect the environment. Packaging consolidation no longer needs to be on the back burner - make it a priority, get control and drive improvements.


and the same person goes out to measure and fit on the core product, which we feel is a key benefit for the customer. “Hillarys has grown and diversified its product portfolio to include curtains and shutters and we

continue to invest in new product development and state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment,” continues Darren. “We have also recently brought our expertise in in-home service to carpets and vinyls and have rolled this out nationally.” He believes that introducing floorcoverings to the company’s wide range of products is a natural step. “As with window dressings, choosing carpets in the comfort of their own home, appeals to the majority of customers. People generally want to see how a fabric or carpet will look against other furnishings and in both natural and artificial light. “We are continually looking to expand the portfolio of products that we can offer as an inhome proposition for our customers.”   Hillarys is proud of its heritage as a British manufacturer of window dressings and considers the phrase ‘Made in Britain’ to be more than a slogan and part of the ‘fabric of British life. During 2015 Hillarys further enhanced its manufacturing capability through the expansion of its facilities throughout the UK to enable the business to meet the growing demands of the home furnishing and window dressing markets.The company’s head office is in Colwick (Nottingham), where Hillarys also manufactures its range of Roman blinds, rollers and curtains. Its Glaisdale facility houses the company’s central distribution hub and manufactures its pleated lines, vertical blinds and awnings.The Washington

Hillarys manufacturing plant is responsible for the production of both wood and metal Venetian blinds.  “Our Venetian product line grown massively in recent years,” Darren reveals. “Wood Venetians are increasingly popular with customers and we essentially ran out of space in our facility. Previously we had one site that produced both wood and metal Venetians and we have now leased another site and moved the production of metal Venetians into its own building.This is a 60,000 sq ft facility which became operational during August 2015 and has given us space to continue to expand our wood Venetian capacity by around 40 per cent.” Hillarys has also increased its presence in Colwick, where it introduced curtains some three years ago as an outsourced product. Over time the company has invested heavily in state-of-the-art equipment to allow it to open a separate unit for the production of curtains.Today Hillarys has a total of around 15,000 sq ft of manufacturing capacity for curtains and its investment in the best technology that is available for curtain manufacture has helped increase the company’s headcount.  Hillarys’ Glaisdale facility has also benefited from investment, whereupon it was able to re-shore its vertical blind programme to introduce headrail production into the UK. Previously these had been imported from China and the decision to manufacture headrails in the UK has generated

a number of jobs for the Glaisdale area. “We have been supported in some of these new developments by an investment from Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) delivered by Nottingham City Council,” Darren says. “We have received around £330,000 from the Regional Growth Fund via N’Tech.This has supported the creation of over 60 jobs so far, and this is set to increase in the coming years.”

During 2015 Hillarys also became involved in Unesco’s ‘International Year of Light,’ an international campaign focusing on the topic of light science and its applications. “Unesco officially declared 2015 as the International Year of Light and we felt this was a fantastic opportunity for us to get involved and become a Gold sponsor,” explains SEO Manager, Sandeep Matharu. “The sponsorship was a catalyst for us to look at the various ways in which natural and artificial light can affect us in our everyday lives. As many of our products (blinds, curtains and shutters) regulate light both in and out of a window, we looked at how this can affect our sleep, how it can impact on light pollution, and even understand how much our sleep is being affected due to light. Although the International Year of Light is over, we are still continuing to investigate the link between sleep and light and what more we can do to help customers.” Throughout 2016 and beyond, Hillarys will continue to expand its market presence and invest in new products and facilities. Exciting developments include the beginning of construction of a new headquarters in Colwick that will house all of the company’s divisions under one roof and Hillarys sponsorship of ITV’s Lorraine programme. “We are keen to continue to grow our market share and scale is key to the business,” concludes Darren.  “We are the biggest blinds manufacturer in the UK and we want to build on that.Through initiatives like our sponsorship of the Lorraine programme, we want customers to think of Hillarys whenever they think of curtains, blinds, shutters and now carpets.”

Hillarys Products: Leading player in window dressings 143

Clarehill Plastics

Breaking the

mould From its humble beginnings in 1981 as a manufacturer of plastic coalbunkers, Clarehill Plastics Ltd has grown to become a well-reputed producer of high quality polyethylene oil, fuel, water and wastewater storage tanks and systems for the agricultural, commercial and residential sectors


perating under the Harlequin brand for more than 30 years at its manufacturing base in County Armagh, Northern Ireland, the company’s success stems from placing optimum quality and exceptional customer care at the heart of its business. “Since our inception we have always been focused on innovation, expanding from producing plastic coal bunkers to becoming one of the largest rotational moulding manufacturers in Europe, manufacturing a vast range of products from oil tanks and fuel tank to wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting systems. Despite growth in our product portfolio and the fact we sell to over 25 countries across the globe, we are still a family owned business,” begins Laurance Coey, Managing Director at Clarehill Plastics Ltd. He continues: “One major development of ours was the acquisition of the wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting division


of Balmoral Tanks in October 2014. This acquisition has allowed us to move into the sewage treatment and underground rainwater harvesting markets adding to our core product range consisting of plastic storage tanks for oil, fuel, water, adblue, waste oil, coal and salt/ grit. Not only adding to our existing markets we’ve also developed business in new markets and gained growth in our export markets due to regulations surrounding oil storage, with particular growth in Holland.” Indeed, with all fuel storage products in the Netherlands required to obtain a KIWA certification in the region, Clarehill Plastics went through a lengthy and detailed process to obtain the required certification in May 2014. Since gaining the certification, the company experienced a notable increase in polyethylene tank inquiries and partnered with key installer networks and fuel companies in the Netherlands to be able to serve the Dutch market efficiently. These efforts proved worthwhile, with the

company announcing it had been awarded two major deals in the Netherlands in February 2015. The contracts are with Mokobouw and Van Der Heijden, two Dutch petroleum product installers, and were made after meetings orchestrated by both Clarehill Plastics and Invest NI. With these two advanced orders worth more than £400,000 and Clarehill Plastics also in discussions with other firms, the company looks to have more than £1 million worth of business in the Netherlands in 2015. The top selling products within the Netherlands market are the KIWA certified fueldispensing tanks, which are available in 1,400, 2,500 and 5,000 litres. As the first choice for fuel storage and dispensing on sites, Harlequin fuel stations meet the set out regulations and are made of high quality polyethylene; the products are also double walled to ensure maximum protection against environmental pollution. Depending on customer requirements, Clarehill Plastics offers a range of additional accessories

such as Piusi pumps, filters, flow meters, hoses; level-pointers, lamps with electrical connections and leak detection. While it is benefiting from enforced regulations across the water, Clarehill Plastics will also be looking closer to home as new regulations to introduce minimum requirements for new and existing above ground oil storage facilities in Northern Ireland come into force in December 2015. A key requirement is for all oil storage tanks over 200 litres to be stored in a bund and those that don’t comply could incur a maximum penalty of a criminal conviction with up to three months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £20,000. One way those affected by these regulations can comply is through the utilisation of Harlequin bunded storage oil tanks, fuel dispensing tanks and waste oil tanks, which have a second wall comprising of 110 per cent of the container storage capacity. Elaborating on how more stringent regulations on the oil and gas industry have resulted in an increase in demand for the company’s

Dunraven Systems

Tank Monitoring Specialists Dunraven Systems Limited are acknowledged market leaders in the design and development of state-of-the-art electronic storage tank monitoring solutions. Under the ever popular Apollo Ultrasonic brand the product offering ranges from local level monitoring units that will display the level from a tank in the vicinity, to overfill warning systems, to fuel tank security systems and to remote tank monitoring offerings. Dunraven’s continuous dedication to meaningful customer focused innovation, and its ability to deliver simple effective solutions to the storage tank industry has seen the business enjoy considerable expansion with products now being distributed throughout the UK, Ireland, EU, and Middle East and further afield. 145

Clarehill Plastics

products, Laurance states: “Our markets are now segmented in two different parts, the first of which is fuel storage due to the surge in demand from new environmental regulations in areas such as Holland. The other is a more generalised market; we’ve achieved positive growth in France considering weak market conditions while the


Republic of Ireland is going through something of a boom period. The UK is up on last year as kerosene prices have fallen and there has been a resurge in the heating oil tank market. So in terms of the UK home heating business, I would say 2015 has mainly been about subdued growth.”

Clarehill Plastics Ltd t/a Harlequin Key to the company’s capabilities in meeting the changing demands of its customers is the work ethic and level of education of its staff as these employees ensure continuous innovation and through commitment and expertise, as Laurance notes: “We have invested a lot into our engineering team and have expert research and development engineers who focus on developing new products; this decision has certainly led to our success over the years. In fact, we have two new products coming out in 2015, one of which will be launched in May and the other in September.” This diversity in its product portfolio is certain to hold Clarehill Plastics in good stead over the coming years, as it continues to deliver up-todate, high quality solutions to those operating in demanding industries. Additionally, following the recent takeover of Balmoral Tank’s range of rotationally moulded products, the company has also begun selling HydroClear™ Waste Water Treatment Plants to customers in the Middle East. “We recently appointed a distributor in Lebanon to meet demand for premium waste water treatment products. Our systems have a 97 per cent efficiency rate when it comes to removing pollutants, they are also easy to install and have lower operating costs. These niche products generally sell well in markets where quality is very important,” says Laurance. Moreover, to remain competitive through product diversification, R&D, process efficiencies and export, the company recently secured a £750,000 loan from the Growth Loan Fund. Following this investment, the company installed potentially the largest rotational moulding machine of its kind in the world, which will enable it to create large volume plastic tanks; it will also be used for any other relevant upcoming product designs.

Already benefiting from strong branding and a reputation for product excellence, these investments will enable the company to enhance its product range and add new lines, while also offering the potential to expand into new markets.

Products/Services: Rotationally moulded storage products and systems 147




Coming from humble beginnings, Hydroline proves that listening to the market and delivering innovation accordingly can be the pathway to international success


tarting out life in 1960 as a oneman metal lathing shop by Helge Laakonen in Finland, Hydroline has seen unprecedented levels of growth and success to become a global leader in hydraulics.The company produced its first hydraulic cylinders in the early 1970s and for much of the time since has been at the forefront of hydraulic technology. At the turn of the millennium, Hydroline had grown its Vuorela facility into one of the industry’s most advanced plants in Europe and soon after was developing and launching its proprietary smart concept into the market. As such, today the company serves international operators and manufacturers in mining and construction, agriculture and maintenance, load handling, forestry, hoisting, recycling, defence, energy and many other industries requiring the use of complex and smart hydraulic systems. Alongside its unfaltering attention to continuous improvement and innovation, part of Hydroline’s success can be attributed towards its focus on customer service and subsequent longstanding relationships with customers. Counting names


amongst its client list such as John Deere, Sandvik and Valtra, gives testimony to the company’s dedication to delivering cutting-edge technology and high quality standards alongside world-leading expertise. Ari Hakokivi, of Load Handling Services in Finland, attests to Hydroline’s strength as a supplier saying: “I trust them because the products and services they provide to my equipment’s manufacturer is top-quality and always delivered on time. As a customer, I feel part of the Hydroline family, when I have a question or a suggestion – they listen.The fact that they are now a global company assures me that when it comes to hydraulic technology, I will not be left behind.” Listening to and understanding the many needs and requirements of its customers forms the core of Hydroline’s product offering as each hydraulic cylinder it manufactures is made bespoke to individual specifications. By using the appropriate quality materials alongside its modern machinebased and automated manufacturing processes, the company is able to produce custom-made systems with a range of variations available.Through

real-time production control, Hyrdoline implements quality inspection and runs regular tests to ensure its standards are met. With two state-of-the-art production facilities in Finland and Poland, and a sales office in Shanghai, China, the company is well positioned to react to all changing customer needs from across the globe. Continuous improvement and constant development are key parts to ensuring that first-class results, sufficient capacity and guaranteed lead times are achieved in line with this. A recent example of this continuous improvement into production came in September when Hydroline’s manufacturing facilities underwent an organisational reform, at which point responsibilities were realigned to single operators. This ensured that the operations and performance of the whole factory could be improved as much as possible in order to develop the lead-times of new products and capacity enhancements. As part of the reorganisation, the design and production departments were integrated into one entity and an order desk was created to serve customers better and more effectively.

Keen to expand its offering to the market, in May of this year, Hydroline opened a dedicated service centre in Siilinjärvi to provide remanufacturing and maintenance functions to repair damaged cylinders into as-good-as-new components.This followed a 1.5 million euro investment into a brand new friction-welding machine, which will be based at the site, but will help the company on a global scale.The highly specialised machine, which enables an even deeper specialisation in manufacturing hydraulic cylinders for demanding conditions and unparalleled flexibility, is the first of its kind in Finland and one of the only ones in Europe. Ultimately, it will help to reduce lead-times by enabling the production of large quantities of different sized cylinders faster than previously possible. It is expected that net sales will increase as a direct consequence. “This investment will support our growth in the international market,” highlights CEO of Hydroline, Mikko Laakkonen. “It will also support the continued

technical expertise and development of our personnel, who will have the opportunity to work with some of the most cutting edge equipment and technology found in this sector.” Innovation is visibly a core part of Hydroline’s success. Rooted in the needs of its customers, continually developing systems in line with universal trends is key to its growth aspirations. In

Franz Gottwald Oy

Franz Gottwald Oy, part of the Gottwald Group, has had a long and successful working relationship with Hydroline for nearly 20 years, especially in the field of seals for hydraulic cylinders. As a wholesaler for technical parts and applications, Gottwald supplies its customers with everything they need to run their machinery at its most effective. A longtime mutual partnership with Freudenberg for over 85 years and with other premium partners and suppliers ensures that Gottwald is always able to provide the customers and business partners with the construction and replacement parts, components and systems they need. 149


April 2015, the company was awarded a major milestone grant from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020-programme.The programme is a European wide scheme with the purpose to drive economic growth, create jobs and secure international competitiveness through innovation and development. With close to 80 billion euros of funding available until 2020, 20 per cent of which is directed towards SME, the Horizon programme is the biggest EU research and innovation initiative ever undertaken. Hydroline has committed the investment to a two-year development project, which began in the autumn of 2015, and will be managed in cooperation with its leading partners, namely Savonia University of Applied Science,VVT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) and other associated companies.The primary objective of the scheme is to develop future intelligent products and its development network as well as integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Three Es (ergonomics, energy conservation and efficiency) into its operations. Being amongst only 12 per cent of the many applying companies approved for the grant, the Horizon 2020 investment will be key to


Hydroline making significant progress on its path to becoming a truly global company.The evaluation for the company’s approval noted its internationality, adaptive business plan and careful analysis of the business environment and target market as reasons for its success. As far as the future is concerned then, it is clear that Hydroline harbours no ambition to slow down. Continued investment into innovation and product development, coupled to a focused improvement programme within its manufacturing capabilities, features heavily in its drive to become a globally active and industry-leading manufacturer. By keeping

its ears open to the market and its customers’ demands, and continuing to respond to these with viable solutions, successful, controlled and responsible growth is sure to define Hydroline’s view as it looks forward.

Hydroline Oy Products: Specialise in manufacturing intelligent hydraulic systems

Joseph Clayton and Sons Laufenberg

Hardwearing and


Whilst it has a long and deeply entrenched history, Chesterfield based Joseph Clayton and Sons is very much tuned in to the present day and its ability to adapt to serve the changing needs of a global market is key to its continued success


here aren’t many companies around today that can boast a 175-year history, and today Clayton of Chesterfield is taking bigger strides towards the future than ever before. Now the largest of only four full-scale vegetable tanners left in the UK, the company has undergone a process of continued progression, overcome a number of challenges and diversified across the globe to become a leading manufacturer of high quality leather. “If the company hadn’t been able to adopt new ideas, adapt them going forward and continued to improve them, then we wouldn’t be here as a company today,” highlights Chairman, Ian Walker. Starting life producing and supplying leathers for the booming industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, Clayton quickly began to prosper. With a major fire forcing the company to move to its existing premises in 1911, it quickly re-established to support the efforts of both world wars and showed a keen ability to adapt to changing technologies, customer bases

Top: Leather samples Bottom: Leather jacket

and opportunities. In the 30s, despite obvious challenges, Clayton became one of the first UK based companies to spot an opportunity for exporting to the US and it subsequently began to capture export business there. Progress continued throughout the twentieth century, as technology adapted, automation began to be implemented in the factory, and exports continued to grow. New markets opened up and Clayton took advantage through a programme of constant innovation and new product launches – particularly into the fashion and small leather goods sector. “Today we export about 65 per cent of what we make, which includes the figures from recently acquired J E Sedgwick in Walsall,” explains Ian. “We have been concentrating on opening up new markets and in this last year alone we have made significant inroads into the Far East, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. We currently have 168 different types of leather that we can manufacture, but once you take into account the range of finishes and substances this 151

Top left: Drying yard Bottom left: Tannery

expands to about 6000 different variations.” By the end of the century and on the dawn of a new one, Clayton continued to play a key role in the global market but faced the economic challenges that plagued the world. This was exacerbated in 2007 when a major flood threatened to completely wipe the company’s facilities out, but Ian pays testament to its staff ’s diligence in recovering operations in a matter of months. However, difficult challenges continued to put pressure on the company throughout the recession and in 2013 Ian was brought on board with the plan to reshape the business and return it to prosperity. “Over the last two years we have been reinvesting in new equipment, increasing capabilities, implementing new IT and manufacturing systems and either upgrading or replacing machinery, some of which had been in operation for close to 60 years,” Ian outlines. “To that end the company is back to looking very buoyant again.” In its current operations, the company relies on a combination of pit and drum tanning, resulting in reductions in tanning times in comparison with traditional figures. Amongst its recent advancements, the replacement of tired,


Right: Finished product examples

old machinery has led to far improved levels of quality and precision that has made a marked difference to the process. Claytons has also made significant developments into material usage. “Last year we proudly achieved 100 per cent recycling of everything we use,” points out Ian. “We use all of the raw hide, knowing exactly which products come from which hides, and all the general waste we produced on site was recycled in some way instead of being sent to landfill.” This ethical responsibility also extends to the sourcing of its hide and the provenance of the animals used for production, something Ian is keen to publicise. “We know the entire process, from the beginning of the animal’s life, sure that it is responsibly brought up, right through to the end product,” he says. “Provenance is an important issue for us and we want people to understand where our leather comes from and how we process it. When an animal goes into the food chain, its hide is typically worth up to 1.5 per cent of its total value so it is a by-product of the food industry that can be turned into so many beautiful leathers using completely natural processes and techniques

that stretch back to the beginning of mankind.” At the heart of the reshaped Clayton, as it looks ahead, is a renewed focus on product offerings and brands. In 2016 the company will be reviving two of its subsidiaries, Samuel Sharp and William Clarke Currying Company, with histories extending back to 1628 and 1780, respectively. “These are both based around the hand finishing of premium leathers, so we will be launching these names again as two heritage brands to market specific products under those banners,” explains Ian. Whilst industrial sectors provided much of Clayton’s success during its history, this has experienced a steady decline and today the

Joseph Clayton and Sons

company’s main markets are small leather goods and fashion, supplying a number of mid- to premium international brands. Of particular note Ian highlights a customer in South Korea who uses Joseph Clayton English-bred leather to manufacture Apple iWatch straps. “This is an interesting bookend for us,” he says. “Our history goes back to 1840, making leather for necessity and living, and now its being used for luxury goods right alongside the most modern products on the market.” Clayton is also one of four global leather specialists currently producing the high value Cordovan leather, used in luxury products, and following a successful APLF Show in Hong Kong, has gained a lot of interest for the material in the Far East and China. Elsewhere, it also supplies to the world’s largest manufacturer of cricket balls. As far as the future is concerned, Ian is clear about the company’s strategic direction. “We want to continue growing the group,” he concludes. “At the moment turnover is about £6.5 million and the plan is to hit £8 million by 2017, which is a big leap for the company. We have new products coming through and we will continue to work on new things, primarily in the small leather goods market where the growth is. Equestrian and industrial are no longer growth markets for us, but fashion, small goods and sport are all markets full of opportunities that we hope to make the most of. Ultimately, its about getting the name back into the market and with 175 years under our belt there is an awful lot for us to shout about.”

Joseph Clayton & Sons Ltd Products/Services: Specialist manufacturer of high quality finished leather 153

Tech Tube Ltd

A cross-section of


Tech Tube Ltd (TTL) embodies over 35 years of experience in the manufacture of plastic profile extrusions, cosmetic tubes and DIY tube manufacturing, tube printing and injection mouldings, operating from a single location, comprising of TTL and AV Injection Ltd (AVI)


he wealth of industry experience of TTL and AVI makes the organisation one of the most skilful generalpurpose plastic extruders, cosmetic tube manufacturers, printers and injection moulders in the UK, all under one roof. These skills are subsequently present within both TTL and AVI. Today, TTL is a leading specialist in the manufacture of plastic profile extrusions and injection mouldings in almost any shape or size and is further able to offer a comprehensive range of standard products for various industry applications. The company is renowned for its innovative approach to plastic extrusion and injection moulding design, which is executed within its modern factory that is geared for rapid production and the capacity to process extremely large orders with ease. The site occupies over 40,000 square feet, which incorporates a modern tool room, numerous extrusion lines, a clean room, a specialised corrugated tube line, 38 injection moulding


machines ranging from 50 tonnes to 1100 tonnes, plus two large warehouses. TTL is today an expert in extrusion profiles, while AVI produces bespoke moulded parts, which allows the two companies together to provide a complete extrusion and injection service to many industries. TTL has the capacity to supply innovative design and manufacture of large or small volume orders. In manufacturing, for example, both TTL and AVI are able to offer a complete conveyor roller and tote bin service, these capabilities include the production of conveyor roller tubes, with a wide range of colours and materials available. Stock tooling is available for most roller sizes, including 20mm, 25mm, 30mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm and 63mm O/D. Plastic conveyor roller tubes offer significant advantages in that they are lightweight, a low cost alternative to stainless steel, offer high levels of strength and durability, reduced noise, made from either ABS or rigid PVC, are ideal for humid or wet conditions, they are simple to wash down and

are corrosion free. The benefit of these properties encompass non-marking apparatus and greater simplified container movement control. As TTL has continued to grow, it has worked to ensure that it operates a modern facility that delivers increasing production capacity. During October 2015 for example, the company took delivery of four additional injection-moulding machines. Furthermore TTL has further developed the extrusion section of the business with a view to further enhance this area in the future, as Sales Manager, Clive Elston reveals: “We have recently installed four used injection moulding machines and one brand new large injection moulding machine. We are continuing to invest in the extrusion side of the business and depending on how this work progresses, we will consider acquiring further complete extrusion lines. We have invested in enhanced services to create a new style of tooling technology that is applied to our machines, as well as calibration technology, which is currently not widely used by our

competitors in profile extrusion and represents a key part of our business.” By further investing in new technologies and by embodying the strengths of the wider Plastics Group, TTL has achieved an enviable reputation for high quality service, versatility and technical expertise in the provision of both bespoke and standard products. The company is fully accredited to British Standards ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003 and takes great pride in the professional service that it provides to its clients. “I think that the company’s main attribute is its strength in its customer service, reliability and quality. But I also give a lot of credit to the excellent team of staff we have here, as none of our success would be possible without them,” Clive elaborates. “We specialise in the provision of designing tools from concept to completion and enjoy working with customers on a friendly, professional basis.” Despite the continued investment in its equipment and technologies, TTL is aware of the challenges facing the market at present and is keen to ensure that it maintains a close watch on the needs of the market and its clients over the coming months. As the company enters into 2016, it will focus on its strengths as an industry leader and potential future growth to enable it to meet the needs of its clients. “The current price of oil is creating a challenging market at

present, however this may filter through in a few months,” Clive concludes. “There is currently a lot of competition within the UK and Europe as there is a high demand for quality and service and that is what TTL can provide along with competitive costings. During 2016 we will focus on further expansion on the extrusion side in terms of sales, investment in machinery and productivity. We are constantly driving to maximise efficiency and lean manufacturing procedures to become more competitive whilst ensuring quality standards are strictly adhered to and if we expand two

more lines this year, we have the enthusiasm and commitment to expand to more over the next three to five years.”

Tech Tube Ltd Services: Extrusion and injection moulding experts 155

Filtermist International

A clear


Established in 1969, Filtermist designs, manufactures and markets oil mist collectors that are used to remove oil mist generated by a number of metal cutting processes including grinding, turning, spark erosion and machining


he products produced by Filtermist are used within a range of manufacturing sectors, including automotive, aerospace, medical devices and general precision engineering. The company is part of the Swedish Absolent Group AB and in the UK, Filtermist also markets oil smoke, fume and dust extraction equipment made by sister company Absolent AB. Today the company is based in new purpose built headquarters in Telford and employs 55 people around the world. Additionally, it maintains a subsidiary company, Filtermist Asia based in Singapore and a sales office in Shanghai, China. Filtermist oil mist collectors use


centrifugal impaction to separate coolant and oil particles from the air – returning clean oil to the machine and clean air to the workshop. Filtermist also offers high efficiency after-filters and accessories including a dual monitoring system, F Monitor, which advises users when the units need servicing. “Filtermist oil mist collectors are used by manufacturers that undertake metal cutting operations when producing parts destined for industry sectors including aerospace, automotive and medical technologies. Stainless steel units can also be used to remove water droplets and steam

generated by aqueous washing machines used to clean components,” explains Managing Director, James Stansfield. “Our products are sold in over 60 countries worldwide – 92 per cent of all goods made in the UK are destined for export markets.” To reach its clients across global markets, the company relies on a trusted network of distributors as well as its Asian subsidiary firm. This allows Filtermist to support customers within North America, Europe, China, the Far East, India, Latin America and the Middle East. All products are made in the UK and then shipped to distributors around the world. Filtermist UK acts as the company’s UK distributor and, as well as selling Absolent extraction equipment, it also offers a range of related products including Loc-Line coolant hose for which it is the sole UK distributor. Filtermist UK

also operates Direct Filtration, a trading division dedicated to supplying a wide range of filters, filter rolls and filter media used in process, air and hydraulic applications. “Filtermist recognised very early on that exporting its products would be vital for the growth of the business. The company developed a sophisticated strategy from the outset which concentrated on targeting markets identified as being most receptive to its products. We work with carefully selected global distributors (and UKTI) to ensure Filtermist is professionally represented in each market,” James reveals. “Our global distributors are a key route to market and Filtermist invests a significant amount of resource (including people, time and money) into supporting its distributor network.” The success of the company’s export business was recognised with a Queens’ Award for Export in 1990, as well as winning the ‘International Trade through Export’ category at the Shropshire Business Awards in 2012. Filtermist also made the shortlist for the export categories in the Insider Made in the Midlands Awards in 2013 and The Manufacturer Awards in 2014. As the business has continued to grow, it has earned a reputation for manufacturing reliable, robust and high-quality products. As such, Filtermist counts a number of leading multinational manufacturers amongst its client base and is committed to developing products that support its core aim of protecting personnel from the hazards of airborne oil mist particles in industrial workshops. With sales of Filtermist products increasing by 300 per cent since the year 2000 and the management team’s ambitious plans for further growth, the company relocated to new headquarters during August 2015 to ensure the continued provision of products to meet growing global demand. “The new premises was designed around the manufacturing process so raw material, process, piece parts manufacture, assembly, final test and finished goods follow a sequential path inside the factory increasing production uptime as less time is taken between processes,” James says. “One of the key design criteria for the architect was to ensure that the factory was light and airy and an important factor in this was to install a brand new centralised welding fume extraction system from Absolent to keep the air clean.” Over the past three years the company’s export sales have increased by 25 per cent and a

re-structuring exercise in the ASEAN region has resulted in a significant increase in sales from new markets including Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. The capability of Filtermist units has recently been further boosted with the introduction of a brand new filter designed specifically for neat oil applications. “The Submicron filter can cope with the high volumes of oil mist generated in manufacturing operations that use neat oil, including those involving high pressure,” James elaborates. “It can be notoriously difficult to effectively remove oil mist generated in neat oil applications from workplace air because of the large amounts of submicron particles involved, especially when delivered at high pressures. The

new filter has been in development for a number of years and has been subjected to more than 3500 hours of independent testing. Filtermist is confident that it offers manufacturers a costeffective way of removing oil mist generated in neat oil applications by combining the proven efficiency of the Filtermist centrifugal system with modern synthetic fibre technologies.”

Filtermist International Products: Manufactures and markets oil mist collectors 157

Dura Beds



Quality and value for money have been key to Dura Beds laying down a strong reputation in the market as it looks forward towards another successful year of growth


ince starting out life in 1998, Dura Beds has quickly grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of mattresses and divan bases in the UK. Now employing around 140 people at its Yorkshire base the company currently reaches sales of £13 million a year. Manufacturing and supplying a complete range of products with quality and design at the forefront of its offering, Dura Beds employs a comprehensive range of advanced upholstery techniques, such as pillow tops, cushion tops, airflow borders, micro quilting, décor quilting and traditional hand-tufting. With nearly two decades of expertise behind it the company has built a strong reputation for itself in bringing together specialist fabrics like Tencel and Coolmax with the latest developments in fillings such as gel, latex, memory foam and foam encapsulation. What results is a complete range of mattress solutions perfectly suited to the various demands and consumer needs present within the market.


“Regarding our customer base it is very varied,” explains Lead Factory Manager, Steve Darby as he speaks to Manufacturing Today Europe. “Around 80 per cent of our business comes from independent high-street retailers, so small shops who may take two or three beds off us a week. However on top of this we have some very large accounts with key market players like Wren Kitchens and United Carpets and Beds and The Range. We also have several customers from the European markets in Spain, Portugal and Ireland who take trailer-loads of beds off of us every week.” Defining Dura Beds’ competitive position in the market Steve notes that it is difficult to differentiate the actual product offering from

many of the competing suppliers as materials and techniques are widely used. However, by ensuring the highest quality, durability and latest designs are meeting the demands of the market, the company is able to maintain a grip of its market share. “Where we are able to distinguish ourselves is in our pricing and service,” he highlights. “We’re very competitively priced especially considering the

see nothing on the horizon that will significantly increase demand, we are confident about achieving our growth target of between five and ten per cent. Ultimately, the future looks bright.”

Dura Beds Products: Leading manufacturer of mattresses and beds quality that we provide and we have an excellent delivery service – usually achieving a 48-hour service.” Facilitating this competitive advantage in the market is a highly focused and labour intensive manufacturing process that relies heavily on well trained and experienced staff. “Whilst we do have some state-of-the-art machinery within our capabilities, such as stitching and sewing machines, these are operated to support the hand crafting skills of our assemblers,” explains Steve. “Saying this, as we grow we continue to invest in new machinery to ensure that we can keep up with demand. In 2015 we invested heavily into a brand

new multi-needle sewing machine, an embroidery machine and several new general sewing machines. We also bought three new vehicles and are planning three more for 2016. So this is a particular focus at the moment.” All of this is crucial for Dura Beds at a time when demand is rising and growth continues to establish itself as a defining feature of the company’s progress. “The market seems very stable at the moment,” outlines Steve. “We’ve been extremely busy for around the last 14 months and see no sign of this slowing down. Normally, this early part of the year can be quite quiet but we’re not experiencing that this year, so whilst we

John Cotton

We are a family company with 100 years expertise in meeting requirements across a diverse range of markets. Our Nonwovens division invests over £2m annually on both research and development; improving efficiencies and product quality. We employ both Thermal and Mechanical bonding in our production processes and also offer the UK’s largest range of Natural, Recycled and Synthetic fibres. Our UKAS accredited in-house laboratory ensures high product quality standards and legislative compliance. We are committed to eliminating textiles and plastics, which can be recycled or reused from entering our landfills and to that end, became the 2015/2016 winner of the ‘Bed Component Supplier to the industry’. 159



Staying on

With an ever-developing product portfolio and strong dealer network PALOMAT is stacking its successes high as it experiences record growth


he PALOMAT concept was invented back in 1992 when its founder, afflicted with a bad back from manual pallet handling, needed to find a solution to facilitate this heavy-duty task. Born was the PALOMAT pallet magazine, designed to take away the manual requirement for pallet handling, greatly improving workflow and safety within the factory. Since this time the system has undergone a continuous process of development and optimisation and today, under BILA’s industrial robot and automation umbrella, the Danish firm is the world’s largest and leading supplier of pallet magazines. “We now have two core product lines,” begins Manager, Majbritt Svane. “The stand-alone system and the inline system. The stand-alone system is by far our biggest selling unit and it is our main focus. The machine can be placed anywhere within the production line where pallets are needed, taking away the need for unnecessary


handling, keeping the area clear and tidy and improving workflow. At the moment, we are seeing more and more companies focusing on optimising their working environment and improving efficiency that can have positive results on their profitability and our offering helps them achieve this.” PALOMAT’s inline offering on the other hand serves the same purpose but is 100 per cent designed to be integrated into an existing conveyor system. “Technically these companies could design and build the same technology themselves with the engineering capacity they tend to have,” explains Majbritt. “However, because of the volumes that we produce we are able to provide cost effective machines that no company will be able to match on price when it comes down to designing, building, testing and securing legal documentation.” A recent development within its product range includes the PALOMAT Greenline, a plug-and-

play 230V machine that puts energy efficiency at the forefront of its market proposition. Majbritt notes that this has become the biggest seller in the range as it coincides with the growing trend to reduce carbon footprints and energy consumption. “We have also been developing the PALOMAT 5, which came from listening to market requests and can handle between one and five pallets at a time,” she adds. At present PALOMAT is active right across the European market and is starting to make significant progress into the Australian and US markets. Allowing it to occupy a leading position in such a vast marketplace is a combination of product quality and a strong dealer network. In terms of price, the company’s stand-alone machines sit at the premium end of the market yet its attention to quality means that it has established an unfaltering reputation that major global brands like P&G, Unilever, Coca Cola and Pepsico continue to return to. “This is the

foundation of PALOMAT,” says Majbritt. “We only use well-known, world-class, reputable components, never compromising on quality or safety for the sake of cost.” Aside from its products, Majbritt openly attributes a lot of PALOMAT’s success to the people spread across its sales division and extensive dealer network. “The business is like a big family,” she says. “We work to make sure we can provide a excellent service both before and after sale and also continuously ensure our network of dealers are updated with our knowledge to support the brand and the market in the best way possible. When selecting our dealers we carefully analyse their companies to be sure that they are ready to work as we expect and that they can provide the right feedback from the market. We don’t have any dealers who can’t add something back to PALOMAT and as a result we have a strong organisation. Without them we would not be able to the do the job we are doing and by supporting them we have great network to serve our end-users.” Over the last couple of years, growth for PALOMAT has been unprecedented and such levels look set to continue. It saw 33 per cent growth over 2014 levels in 2015 with an additional 24 new dealers brought into the network. As part of the Bila group, all manufacturing capabilities are held in-house and, with lean processes in place, additional production capacity exists to be flexible to future rises in demand. “We also implement lean strategies within our sales organisation, with twice-weekly meetings establishing targets and keeping track of KPIs to see how we can improve,” Majbritt outlines. Recent growth is also a result of its continued focus on marketing to let companies, large and small, know of the workflow and safety benefits that PALOMAT products inevitably bring. Strategically, PALOMAT aims to achieve 20 per cent annual growth and with recent results to go by, maintaining this level of success is secured

by the business’s robust approach to continuous improvement both in terms of its products and its organisation. “As the saying goes, ‘never change a winning team’,” comments Majbritt. “Right now we don’t need to make any big changes, we just need to continue doing what we are good at. We need to co-operate with the dealer network, we need to find new dealers and we need to open up market opportunities in new countries like in the US and Australia where we will need to make some alterations to be compatible with their pallets. Continuing to develop, improve

and support this network will be key to the PALOMAT community creating a strong brand and keeping hold of our leading position as we move forward.”

PALOMAT Products: Manufacture pallet magazines for pallet handling 161

Ekamant Ekamant


operators Bringing a tradition of innovation together with modern technology has enabled Swedish company Ekamant to occupy a leading global position in the abrasive market


kamant is currently one of the world’s leading producers of coated abrasives for the wood industry. Founded in the Swedish forests back in 1928, the company has grown solidly through a programme of continuous improvement and innovation to establish a wide range of products suitable for a variety of applications. “The company has a history of introducing groundbreaking coating abrasive technology,” begins CEO, Mikael Rietz. “Today, we serve more than 60 countries globally with all kinds of abrasive products and are still expanding our global footprint every year.” The core strength for the Swedish firm is its consistent focus on innovation. “Throughout our history we have tried, tested, failed and eventually succeeded with our products,” continues Mikael. “However, the goal has always been the same: to find ways of making our products even better and more effective in supporting our customers’ development. Our combination of tradition and high technology is unique and it has inspired us to think outside of the box and use abrasives in an innovative way for the benefit of both present and future generations.” An overview of the company’s product


milestones goes some way to illustrating this approach in action. In 1953 Ekamant adopted an electrostatic coating method in manufacturing and three years later it developed its first resin-bonded abrasive paper. In the seventies, the company had its first patent awarded for antistatic abrasives and later on launched Antistatex – the first antistatic abrasive paper in the world. This tradition continued in the eighties as Ekamant responded to customer demands by introducing a range of phenolic resin-bonded coated abrasives, which demonstrated much improved durability. More recently, in 2008 the company looked outside of its established wood market and began offering solutions to the metal, automotive and composites industries. “We are continuously developing our products and adapting them to the market and our customers’ needs,” notes Mikael. As a result of such a history, today’s product offering can be defined by quality and durability as well as being supported by outstanding technical support and service delivered by a globally integrated distribution network. Today, the company’s portfolio encompasses a whole range of solutions for wood, metal,

automotive and composite applications. From wood shaping and sanding, to aluminium and lacquer polishing, Ekamant’s products are available in a variety of belt, sheet, grinder disc and roll offerings. In addition to this standard offering and in keeping with its continuous drive for innovation, the company has developed abrasive brush products, finishing concepts for polishing applications, foam backed abrasives, machine accessories to accompany the standard range, and a non-woven product for cleaning and polishing purposes called EKA-BRITE. The company currently operates from its main operational site in Sweden, which it upgraded in 2015 to meet higher demands from the market. However, as Mikael explains: “Our strategy is to make customer orientated products by fine tuning standard products to customer needs in our conversion plants around the world.” In order to ensure its products meet exacting standards across the company, Ekamant has established synergies between modern technology, highly skilled employees and strictly regulated raw materials to guarantee the highest quality is maintained from material to finished product. “It is very important for us to work in close co-operation with our

suppliers,” notes Mikael. “Daily contact as well as general updates with the suppliers is an ongoing process.” The market for Ekamant at the moment is positive. Mikael expresses some awareness to particular challenges facing the industry as a whole. “We are seeing more and more low cost products with increasing levels of quality coming into the market,” he says. “However I believe there is still a lot of opportunity for us to continue delivering high quality materials combined with good service to our distributors and end customers.” In accordance with its tradition for innovation and product development, Mikael notes that the next 12 months will see a continued focused on developing new products and services. “As well as this, we will be looking at maintaining efficient development of our processes to meet our customers increasing demands,” he adds. “We have experienced stable growth over the last few years and as we move forward we will keep our focus on growing organically, market by market. We believe in delivering high levels of service alongside good and stable products to the customer to support their business. Strong collaboration with selected partners is an effective way of developing the service and product offering to the market.”

Ekamant AB Products: Leading specialists in coated abrasives for the wood industry 163

Lawrence David

In it for the long


Proud to create more than just trailers, leading UK manufacturer Lawrence David designs every component in-house and uses cutting edge technology to ensure complete customer satisfaction



ince its foundation in 1973, Peterborough based Lawrence David has grown to become the UK’s leading manufacturer of trailers, curtainsiders, box vans, refrigerated and rigid bodywork and one of the most respected trailer manufacturers in the UK. Viewed as the strength behind the haulage industry, the company offers customers engineering expertise, optimum quality products and exceptional customer service while progressing with a culture of continuous innovation. Key to this ingrained culture is the company’s in-house design capabilities, its continuous investment in state-of-the-art technology and a team of highly experienced, competent and dedicated craftsmen who strive for the best possible solution to each customer’s requirement. By having total in-house control over component designs, quality and performance, Lawrence David can deliver all of its trailers with a minimum five year warranty and guarantee absolute satisfaction and confidence for its customers. Moreover, the company’s attention to detail means the next unique innovation is never far away, while its constant investment in facilities and personnel ensures its leading reputation at the forefront of the trailer industry is maintained. Within its portfolio are box vans, fuel savers, fridges, curtainsiders and double deck trailers; all of which are custom-built with the unique needs of each customer in mind. With more than 40 years of experience, Lawrence David also lays claim to being one of the biggest body builders in the UK for the haulage industry and a pioneer when it comes to innovations and engineering firsts. Within its rigid portfolio the company offers an 18 tonne rigid curtainsider, an 18 tonne rigid fuel saver, 3.5 tonne bonded Luton box van, a 7.5 tonne rigid and a 7.5 tonne rigid curtainsider. On top of this, should spare parts be required, the company can ship genuine parts and replacement components to the customer. Alongside these manufacturing capabilities, Lawrence David has also invested in dedicated facilities in Peterborough and Corby to repair and refurbish trailers and bodies. Services include full chassis and body shot blast, repaints, new curtains, new doors, overall height increases and accident repairs. One example of the company’s market leading capabilities was announced in February 2015 when Elddis Transport celebrated clocking up one million kilometres in its first longer semi-trailer from Lawrence David. The bespoke trailer has averaged 981 kilometres per day since it was delivered in May 2012 and has resulted in Elddis Transport ordering ten more trailers from the company. Today operating across seven sites and more than 420,000 square feet of manufacturing space, Lawrence David made the strategic decision to expand in the first quarter of 2015 following increased demand for its services. In response to the market, it acquired a Peterborough property that is comprised of three interlinked warehouses and office space and totals 161,151 square feet of space. Furthermore, the site extends to approximately eight acres, thus providing Lawrence David with excellent space for immediate use as well as further development opportunities in the future. Having already reached 60 to 70 per cent capacity, further expansions are looking increasingly likely as Lawrence David continues to take on major contracts such as the delivery of 40 trailers for Butterkist; as part of an order from world-leading logistics firm CEVA Logistics, Lawrence David will design and build its new trailers, with TUV EN12642XL certified bodies as standard. The trailers will include Armoursheet ‘plus’ load-bearing curtains with straps and webbing handles on both front and rear curtain poles for easy removal, while the design of 13.7 metre long trailers will be topped off with Butterkist livery. With front and rear Lawrence David ratchet tensioners, a Just Modal landing gear, Michelin alloy wheels, a pull-out ladder and rear buffers for scratch-free loading, these new trailers are certain to ensure the delivery of Butterkist popcorn around the UK for many years to come. 165

Lawrence David

Another notable contract for Lawrence David involved the promotion of safer trailers for the public and operators alongside its long-term customer DS Smith Logistics. For this project, the company retrofitted one of DS Smith’s pillarless curtainsiders with a portfolio of health and safety conscious devices; these includes a fully EN12642XL rated ArmourSheet, automatic


rear step illumination lamp, a Lawrence David patented curved ground coupling, its latest strap safe load securing system; a fully integrated soft dock system with audible warning, porthole in the roof to act as skylights, side marker lamps incorporated in the indicator/repeater system, two high level rear indicator lamps and two high level rear stop lamps. Currently being trialled by a number of longterm customers, the curved ground coupling is industry leading in terms of driver safety as it provides comfortable, ground level Suzie coupling of the trailer connections, with no working at height or getting behind the cab. Once all retrofitting was complete, DS Smith employed the services of the German independent test agency TUV to perform both static and dynamic tests on the trailers, with Lawrence David passing on all counts. With a number of successful years behind it, the company aims to continue this positive trend of growth by investing in new machinery and equipment at its new facility. Furthermore, Lawrence David will seek out new contract

opportunities at exhibitions and events such as the CV Show in Birmingham, which it attended in 2015. During this event, the company secured a prime position at the heart of hall five, stand 5D70 to exhibit three products: the EN12642XL pallet network double-deck trailer, the 18 tonne EN12642XL curtainsider vehicle and its latest home delivery vehicle. Through showcasing its superior products and manufacturing capabilities at notable events, while also maintaining a culture of continued improvement and advancement in all areas of the business, Lawrence David is certain to remain in demand and retain its crown as the leader in trailer and commercial vehicle body manufacturing.

Lawrence David Products: Trailers, curtainsiders, box vans, refrigerated and rigid bodywork

rational einbauküchen Laufenberg

A rational


Tio: Zen

By combining exceptional design, innovation and outstanding functionality, rational einbauküchen GmbH has established a strong foothold in both its home country of Germany and abroad


ith more than 50 years of experience behind it, rational einbauküchen GmbH (Rational) has developed an impeccable reputation for creating a diverse range of kitchens that meet the high standards of its customers. From purist and design orientated to timeless yet modern kitchens, Rational has the developed models with a distinct character while also offering the opportunity to add personal creativity and customised solutions. “Since our establishment 53 years ago we have cemented ourselves in the upper part of the market, with 50 per cent of our customer base located in Germany and 50 per cent based abroad,” begins Thomas Klee, Managing Director of Rational. “For a long time the UK has been one of our most successful markets and we have been active there for many years; we also deliver to other European markets and are witnessing increased demand from China. The difference between China and Europe however, is that China is a project driven business focused on multi unit housing,

while in the UK the focus is on residential housing. We mainly deliver to kitchen specialists, not giant wholesale stores, but smaller firms that focus on the kitchen industry. Having kitchen specialists as our target group has proven beneficial for us as we have the product diversity and flexibility that a kitchen specialist is looking for,” he adds. Today represented in more than 50 countries

across the globe, the company has been involved in a number of milestone projects; these include equipping the apartments of The Pearl in Qatar and the luxury villas of The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai with its kitchens. Relied upon to deliver optimum quality, the company has maintained its excellent reputation through continuous improvement and investment in its design and manufacturing

Topaz 167

Mahlzeit range




processes, close working relationships with suppliers and a keen eye on market trends, as Thomas highlights: “We are highly dependent on the industry of our suppliers, particularly in technical terms, so we keep an eye out for new developments both in technical terms or when it comes to colours or materials. We also try to initiate our own developments, whether this is a design or new technical solutions; sometimes this is done with an outside supplier. For example, we have been working with Karim Rashid on a new system at our in-house department; this system will be launched at Eurocucina Milan 2016. Following the launch, the industrialisation will take place, the necessary fine tuning before the release of the system in September; this is a big step for us and we can’t disclose too much currently but it has been a lot of fun working with a great creative mind such as Karim Rashid.” In addition, the company has diversified its product portfolio with the Mahlzeit range with the goal of introducing a simple kitchen that is easy to plan and is available at an affordable price. “The Mahlzeit range is all about people having a good time in a decent kitchen that isn’t crazy expensive or luxurious but instead offers something nice and simple,” says Thomas. Alongside focusing on product innovations, Rational is also in the throes of a corporate restructure that involves moving all production to Italy with the goal of streamlining activities and increasing efficiency in areas from production to packaging. “The relocation was not an easy

rational einbauküchen

decision as Rational, at its core, is a German export business; because of this we have been trading on the Made in Germany trademark. However, over the last decade it became clear some readjustments were required as there was some overcapacity in terms of production sites. In response to this we have shut down both of our German manufacturing sites over the last six years and are now focusing on the main plant in Italy,” explains Thomas. “We are now shifting to the Engineered in Germany slogan, as we are still a German company with German headquarters and a showroom in Germany. Moreover, all of the departments the client would have contact with are still based in Germany.” He continues: “We have relocated our big workshop for specialised work to our main plant and now aim to invest in new machinery such as laser edged doors and panels. These operations were previously outsourced but we will soon be able to provide these services in-house. By bringing these jobs back in-house we can be more flexible and have more control over the whole process; we will also be investing in lacquering surfaces and super matte surfaces as the latter is anticipated to be a big trend in the future. On top of this,

we want to simplify packaging by customising this exactly for each unit; this means we will need less packaging but the product will be better protected than before. These are our goals for 2016.” Moving forward the specialist kitchen manufacturer has a lot on its plate, however these improvements and investments are certain to result in solid growth in the export market, as Thomas concludes: “After the tough restructuring phase we will aim to remain stable in terms of turnover, but will focus on the export market as there is little movement in positions with competitors in Germany. To expand further into the export market we will become more involved in exhibitions and network with the goal of changing the ratio of the business to 60/40 without losing any turnover in Germany. This way we will achieve solid growth over the coming years.”

rational einbauküchen GmbH Products: Modern brand kitchens 169

AAF International

In clear


On its journey to become world leaders, AAF International remains committed to innovation, environmental responsibility, manufacturing excellence and the continued development of its people


ounded over 90 years ago by entrepreneur and engineer Bill Reed, AAF (American Air Filters) has grown to become a global leader in supplying clean air solutions to the market. With an unwavering attention on innovating environmental and human health protection systems, AAF operates from 24 countries around the world providing jobs for over 3000 people. Split into two divisions of air filtration and power and industrial, the power and industrial division specialises in nuclear filtration, engine filtration, air pollution control and gas turbine solutions. Staffed globally by 1200 people and headquartered at its UK manufacturing facility in Cramlington, AAF’s power and industrial division’s core business is focused on supplying equipment for gas turbine air filtration and acoustic systems. “Gas turbine solutions have developed within AAF since the 1960s,” begins Marketing Analysis Officer, Ross Hamilton. “Over the years the scope of work and wide range of products and services have


expanded considerably, and so too has the level of expertise within the business.” Signifying the continued levels of success experienced at AAF the gas turbines business has grown over 30 per cent in the last six years, due in the most part to its consistent commitment to research and development. AAF has supplied acoustic enclosure, filtration, ventilation and exhaust systems to over 6500 gas turbine installations in the worldwide market forming the basis for an internationally recognised reputation. Ross explains that the company’s reputable strength comes from the fact that it can offer a complete solution. “We supply auxiliary equipment for small, medium and large gas turbines manufactured by the best-known gas turbine OEMs,” he outlines. “We also provide retrofits, upgrades and spare parts for both AAF and non-AAF equipment. Round-the-clock aftersales support and our maintenance packages are also key elements of our proposition as we look to increase the life cycle of gas turbines

and ancillary equipment to provide reliable and cost effective solutions to our customers. This is particularly critical in times of challenging market conditions.” Making such an offering possible is a robust platform of engineering and innovation expertise founded upon great people and excellent manufacturing capabilities. In terms of its people, AAF sees the continuous recruitment and development of its staff as key to its progress, implementing a people centred management (PCM) culture to ensure this is realised. As a result of such a philosophy the company has achieved Gold Champion status as investors in people. “A business is only as good as the people it employs,” says UK Factory Manager, Ben Kennard. “We have lots of schemes in place to support and develop our people, and we are very strong believers in apprenticeships. Many of our senior managers started as apprentices here and we currently have four employed on a full-time basis in the factory.” From such a people-focused philosophy

emerges a strong platform for wide reaching expertise and competencies from electrical engineering to fabrication. As the global oil and gas industry faces a depressed period, AAF’s ability to deploy these skills in other applications is enabling it to maintain its strong performance, particularly at its UK facility where reduced investment in the North Sea is impacting on demand. “Globally we will be looking closely at inland power generation companies who need our systems just as much as our offshore customers,” explains Ben. “However, in the UK we are able to transfer some of our skills to defence work and in February we will start manufacturing a chiller system to cool electronic equipment on a Navy vessel. We hope that new opportunities could then develop off of the back of this work.” As a global company, AAF is constantly working to lead the industry forward in all aspects of its business. In terms of manufacturing, Ben explains how the UK plant is currently implementing a five-year transformation plan based on lean manufacturing to improve working conditions, build quality and cost effectiveness. “Traditionally you hear about lean systems in high volume applications,” he says. “However, it can be applied to low-volume, high-value facilities such as ours. Our plan highlights 34 key lean elements from one-piece flow to poka-yoke systems, all of which we measure ourselves against and use to improve upon as we move forward. Last year we designed a new manufacturing cell based on seven wastes and value stream mapping (VSM) systems. This involved splitting one process into four key process with separate operators, which has lead to a 20 per cent reduction in production time, and therefore cost, and we have also seen improvements in quality consistency.” The firm is also leading by example in its approach to environmental responsibility in all aspects of its business from product development to manufacturing. Its commitment to developing advanced acoustic systems to reduce the volume of filtration systems on offshore facilities and inland power generation plants demonstrates this attention to environmental control. Ben explains how this attitude has extended to the Cramlington factory where, for example, AAF recently invested £100,000 into equipment to produce its own

nitrogen, as opposed to taking delivery. This is one part of a scheme to reduce its carbon footprint by ten per cent in the next five years. As far as the future is concerned AAF continues to move forward with innovation and market diversification. It is currently gearing up to launch a new gas turbine inlet cooling solution later in 2016, which Ross explains will revolutionise the air intake cooling marketplace as the quickest add-on cooling solution that will increase gas turbine output and reduce cost with no negative effect on differential pressure. In 2015 it also completed the 100 per cent acquisition of Stejasa, global leaders in diverter dampers, hot exhaust systems and a range of flue gas dampers. This move significantly increases AAF’s

power and industrial division’s presence in the worldwide damper market and will be a key part of the company becoming the world’s number one supplier of gas turbine solutions by 2020.

AAF International Products: Produce the world’s most comprehensive range of clean air products and solutions 171

Continental Corporation

Driving the


Continental continues to prove why it is a leader in such a high profile and global industry


he Continental Corporation began its journey back in 1871 in Hanover manufacturing soft rubber products, rubberised fabrics and solid tyres for carriages and bicycles. Over its history the company has grown to become one of the most recognisable and most respected names in the automotive industry, and it has the milestones to match such a reputation. In 1904, for instance, it introduced the world’s first patterned tread automobile tyre, in 1908 it invented the detachable rim to make it easier to change a tyre and in 1926 it introduced carbon black to its tyre products as a reinforcing filter giving the tyre its characteristic colour. Cutting edge innovation has remained the key driver to Continental’s success throughout its entire history and today the company ranks among the top five automotive suppliers in the world. At present its organisation is split across five divisions: chassis and safety, power train, interior, tyres and ContiTech. Amongst these divisions everything


from brake systems, power train and chassis components and systems, instrumentation and infotainment solutions to tyres, vehicle electronics and technical elastomers is covered. Giving some sense of the scale and success of Continental. In 2014, the company and its 200,000plus employees achieved sales of 34.5 billion euros and expected sales in 2015 to increase by nine per cent to 37.5 billion euros. However, at the end of 2015 Q3, figures were above expected at 29 billion euros and the annual forecast rose to more than 39 billion euros putting it well on course to achieve its 2020 targets of over 50 billion euros. Part of this has been driven by consistent innovation – as of September 2015 1.9 billion euros had been spent on R&D – but growth has also come from significant acquisitions throughout the year. Perhaps what Continental is most recognised for throughout the world is its tyre offerings and bringing ever improving products to the passenger, heavy vehicle agricultural, construction and two-

wheeled markets remains a central part of the corporation. Driving safe, sustainable and quality improving innovations into this market is at the top of its agenda with around a third of all cars in Europe driving on Continental tyres. Illustrating its leading position, out of 575 industry tests carried out on the company’s passenger vehicle products since 2007, 78 per cent of them have resulted in the brand receiving the highest recommendation. However, tyres have not always been the firm’s sole focus. In fact, in 1909 it produced the Aeroplan material used on the flying surfaces of Louis Blériot’s first cross-channel monoplane. Delivering other innovations to its industries has always been a key part of Continental and it still continues to cement its position in new markets through a number of other products and solutions. For instance, Continental’s Automotive division supplies everything from electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems to sensors, advanced driver assistance systems, airbag electronics and a whole host of other essential components, including

hybrid technology, to OEMs across the industry. Its subsidiary ATE also manufactures and supplies the global aftermarket with OE-quality ceramic brake pads. One significant innovation within the automotive division has recently been on V2X communication technology (Vehicle-to-X), which looks to create a real-time network of communication between cars and other vulnerable road users. Using short-range communication technology between car and, for instance, a cyclist’s smartphone, which can both exchange position data it is hoped that collisions can be avoided and accident severity dramatically reduced. This type of development goes hand in hand with Continental’s focus on its SensePlanAct technology programme, which looks at creating different solutions that will be key to creating autonomous cars, or semi-autonomous cars, that can intervene in the control of a vehicle. In addition to the automotive and rubber divisions is ContiTech, a division especially focused on rubber and plastics technology, which acts as a global development partner and OEM to a number of industries from automotive and rail, to shipping and aviation. Its extensive range of products and innovations revolve around the principles of being flexible, thermally stable, formable, abrasion-resistant, reversible and ecofriendly and lend themselves to combinations with other materials such as glass, metal and ceramics. As an example of Conti-Tech’s cutting edge products in November 2015 its power transmission business launched the Conti-V Advance belt, a narrow-section V-belt suitable for high-performance applications with an increase of over 40 per cent in power potential compared to standard belts. With the product being much narrower and more power efficient, narrower drives with fewer belts can be designed thus helping to reduce system costs. Across its vast history, Continental has consistently proven itself to be at the forefront of automotive technology and therefore a critical partner to any OEM within a number of industries around the world. Much of this drive revolves

around what the company calls ‘megatrends’ – these being safety, environment, information and affordable cars. A close look at its ongoing investments and developments clearly illustrates its commitment to these issues. Moving forward, the group shows no signs of slowing down or straying from these commitments as it looks to bring better solutions and greater value to its customers and in turn create a safer, more efficient, more comfortable, and even more intelligent future of mobility.

Continental Corporation Services: A leading supplier to the global automotive industry 173


Breaking new


Exceptional quality products and global deliverance has cemented Dinex’s role as a world market leader in the manufacture of exhaust and emission systems


referred partner to the OEM industry Dinex AS has become a leading global manufacturer and distributor of innovative engineered exhaust and emission control products and solutions since its inception in 1982. Today the Denmark headquartered group is present in 16 countries and four continents across the world, which ensures a logistically beneficial, close working relationship for customers wherever they are in the language they speak. As a complete system provider, the Dinex scope of supply includes everything from turbo to tailpipe, with an impressive 95 per cent of all products manufactured in-house. Products include decouplings, diesel injection modules, insulation techniques, pipe bending, diesel oxidation catalysts (DOC), diesel particulate filters (DPF), urea injections, mixers, flow plates, SCR catalysts and ejector pipes. In fact, the company has a constantly growing portfolio of more than 20,000 part numbers and complete systems. By


mainly manufacturing in-house, the ISO 9001 and TS16959 certified firm can maintain optimum levels of quality and efficiency and deliver its systems with confidence. Moreover, it means Dinex can innovate, integrate and manufacture each exhaust emission system in co-creation with the customer to ensure satisfaction every time. Indeed, with right first time, on-time delivery imperative to the success of its customers, the company has not only developed a close relationship with clients, but has also invested in advancing production methods that not only reduce the risk of human factors but also ensure high levels of repeated output. Core processes include the in-house production of ceramics, coating and metal forming, while designs that optimise durability reduce the use of weldings and joints, which thus increases the lifetime of products. With modern production equipment readily available in its lean and flexible factories, the company is able to quickly and efficiently find solutions for its many customers, while its state-

of-the-art, in-house research and development department enables new production methods and concepts to be created. The most recent example of Dinex’s capabilities is the game changing Eminizer technology platform, which can reduce the geometrical size, weight and cost of your exhaust system and is being integrated as a full system, manufactured from turbo to tailpipe. Integration is possible with any dosing system available on the market today and through the Dinex holistic approach of full system supply, the adaptation of algorithms and control units into the system is professionally addressed both on the software side and the hardware side within its experienced engineering teams. Key to this new invention is High-Porous Silicon Carbide (DiSiC-HP), which makes up 65 per cent of the material within the Eminizer; this material is unique, not only in its ability to combine the Dinex multi functional coating in particulate retention on mass and number, but also as NOx reduction in

one and the same unit. This allows for low backpressure and high thermal stability in design as well as up to 40 per cent reduced geometry in comparison to similar cordierite materials. On top of this, the weight per litre is reduced in comparison to the cordierite technologies in the market today and used in most EURO VI applications; it has been thoroughly tested through ESC, ETC and WHTC runs for emission compliance and durability. This way of operating not only cements Dinex’s role as a leader in innovative exhaust and emission systems and solutions, but also offers competitive advantages to customers. However, the most modern equipment and facilities are nothing without an expert team of competent and dedicated employees, which is why Dinex has also invested significant amounts into engineering. With more than 1000 dedicated personnel in production as well as in sales and marketing, understanding the needs of customers is the biggest task that Dinex continues to address. These strengths have led to the company developing a strong reputation and becoming the preferred OEM supplier for global and local customers in the truck, bus, construction and agricultural industries. Furthermore, following ten years of investment in the research and development of emission control technologies, Dinex has earned a Tier 4/ Euro 6 benchmark and is today the only exhaust and emission supplier in the world to develop and supply substrates and coatings for a complete aftertreatment system. This commitment to innovation and meeting the needs of future trends is certain to serve the company well as emission regulations come into effect and increasing numbers of customers realise the benefits of a high quality Dinex system.

In line with anticipated demand, Dinex has focused on expansion over recent months, with a new innovative production line officially opened in May 2015 at Dinex Ecocat Oy as well as a new site in China and an extension at its Turkish plant for the manufacture

of pipes for heavy duty trucks both currently in development. The new line in Finland will be used for the production of the substrates and coating for the Eminizer emission technology platform, which makes it possible to reduce the size and weight of the exhaust emission at the truck by 50 per cent. The technology will also be used in the large engine industry under the brand name Modulizer. Following these investments and developments, Dinex will have further strengthened its role as a leading manufacturer of turnkey emission systems and catalyst susbstrates of all types as it strives to make the world a cleaner, greener place through the provision of pioneering products and optimised systems.

Dinex AS Products: Exhaust and emission systems 175


Metal guru German headquartered family company Zollern has used its 300 years as a pioneer in the metal industry to become a global provider of innovative metal products


ounded in 1708 by Prince Meinrad II of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, Zollern today is the oldest family-owned company in the state of BadenWurttemberg, Germany. Headquartered in its founding location in Laucherthal, the company has spent the last 300 years developing its skills in areas such as plain bearing production, precision casting, the production of rods and bars and also gearbox production. To further strengthen its services, Zollern made the strategic decision to acquire complementary businesses such as BHW Braunschweiger Huttenwerk GmbH, which had three plain bearings plants in Germany and Brazil in 1996; cutting metalworking firm Friedrich Blickle & Co GmbH and gearbox producer Dorstener Maschinenfabrik AG in 1999 and GMH Gleitlagerfabrik und MetallgieBerei GmbH, another plain bearings producer, in 2003. Following this globalisation strategy, all companies during the takeover period began


operating under the Zollern brand name in 2004. Further takeovers followed, alongside an investment of more than 100 million euros in the enhancement of operations through new processes and technologies in 2006. One year on and these strategies proved themselves successful when Zollern broke the sales barrier of 500 million euros. With more than 3300 highly dedicated employees in place to meet the needs of customers across the globe, the jewel in the company’s crown is its immense adaptability. The group today consists of five business units, casting and forging technology, drive technology, bearing technology, steel profiles and engineering components, which means it is wholly capable of meeting the stringent demands of industries including automotive, aviation, construction, energy and power generation, machine building and ship, harbour and offshore. Another part of the company’s globalisation strategy was to enable increased flexibility

to its global customers. Understanding that each region and country has its own specific characteristics, Zollern established 15 production locations, branch offices and agencies in strategic positions around Europe, America and Asia. By maintaining strong roots and expertise with a forward thinking approach to business activities, the family-owned company merges tradition with innovation to create optimum solutions for customers. One prime example of this can be seen in its casting and forging technology business segment, which first began in 1890 when Zollern’s bronze foundry went into operation. More than 120 years of experience has remained within the casting and forging technology segment, however, as expected, the company has also enhanced its capabilities in line with market demand and become one of the few organisations able to offer both cast and forged copper and copper alloys. Having helped shaped every stage every stage in the development of casting and forging

terms of materials; a high degree of dimensional accuracy due to the elimination of the mould parting line, which tends to cause casting imprecision; facility for complex shaped inner contours due to ceramic cores utilisation, low material allowances on surfaces to be machined, and a high standard of surface quality. In fact, the investment casting technique is unrivalled in its scope for optimum shaping, which frequently makes it the solution for technical problems that would otherwise be impossible. Zollern can also provide customers with one-off productions as well as large-scale manufacture services within its sand castings production area thanks to its manual and machine moulding methods. This versatility has led to the company being adept in its ability to cast demanding alloys and complex components. Production weights are between one kilogram and 8000 kilograms per piece of copper and copper alloys and between one kilograme and 1800 kilogrammes for steel. Meanwhile, within its forging and rolling plant, Zollern produces forged copper and copper

alloys with its forging hammers and a hydraulic forging press that operates at forces of up to 1600 tonnes. This production process transforms the formerly coarse grained cast microstructure into a fine grained structure, which increases its strength values while maintaining tenacity and ductility. Forging also increases the density of the material, which ensures high operating reliability under high pressure-related stress and during vacuum applications. With a strong history behind it, the wellreputed Zollern can move forward with confidence as it continues to integrate tradition with innovation to meet the needs of its wide ranging customer base.

Zollern Products/Services: Designs, produces sells and services metal products


technology, Zollern is now widely seen as not only one of the leading names in Europe, but is also a well respected exporter to some of the major industrial organisations in the world. Within this area of the business Zollern can offer customers forging and rolling services, sand casting and investment casting; the latter of which it began more than 50 years ago. As this precision casting method continues to become increasingly economically important on an international scale, the company is in an enviable position as it has the know-how and equipment to provide customers in need of investment casting products made of steel, aluminium and nickel-cobalt based super alloys. This technique is generally used for small piece weights of between one gram and ten kilograms; larger workpieces of up to150 kilograms are also possible. The investment casting technique is characterised by an almost unlimited scope for the shaping of castings, minimum restrictions in

IMC (Industrial Marketing Corporation) is a technically oriented sales and distribution organisation focused on investment casting in Europe, Russia and the Middle East, with a wide experience and expert knowledge as a supplier of raw material and equipment for precision foundries (lost wax process). The IMC team has developed a close relationship with the Zollern Group over almost 30 years. It is part of its mission to be a loyal partner, supporting the development of its customers through the distribution of the best quality materials and equipment. IMC is ISO 9001: 2008 and member of the EICF. 177


A firm grip The highest levels of quality assurance, continued innovation and bespoke manufacturing all define Alterever’s environmentally friendly offering to the market


ounded in East Yorkshire in 1974 by farther and son, Alan and Howard Malcomson to provide retreading tyre services to local agricultural customers, Alterever quickly established a name for itself providing high quality and affordable tyre solutions. “The business has enjoyed significant diversification, development and expansion in the time since and whilst we’ve retained our agricultural business, today we specialise in supporting customers in port, OTR (off-the-road) and industrial sectors worldwide,” begins Operations Manager, Jonathan Hall. “We have also developed our range of value adding services to include custom manufacturing, major tyre repairs, tyre management, consultancy and tyre monitoring.” With its entire manufacturing operations carried out in-house, Alterever has used its time in the industry to become a true expert in the field of tyre retreading, having been at the forefront of the industry for much of this time. “With a strong track record in advising ports and OTR


businesses around the world, we are perfectly placed to provide our customers with the expert consultancy and advice needed to make the right decisions when it comes to tyres and wheels,” continues Jonathan. “No two businesses are the same, and making sure they have got the right tyres will make a huge difference. Our expert team will help ensure that every customer gets the right tyres to perfectly match their environment so that they can benefit from optimised tyre performance, life span and value.” Providing bespoke and tailored solutions to its clients is the core of Alterever’s business model and as such the company does not mass-produce tyres at all. As well as understanding and listening to the needs of each customer and adhering to national legislation and framework, the business also holds a number of accreditations to ensure peace of mind is passed on. Safety is paramount to a quality retreaded tyre and as such it is no surprise that Alterever carries out extensive testing and inspection throughout its processes. “Quality

assurance is at the very top of our agenda, which is why we only source original, high brand casings,” explains Jonathan. “Nothing is left to chance however, so on arrival the casings undergo a series of rigorous inspections to ensure their integrity before they can be approved for the production process.” These inspections include shearography, which uses interferometric laser systems to detect and highlight any separations inside the casing structure, as well as a host of expert visual and pressure testing. If the casings pass this stage then they pass through to production, however a constant inspection programme is maintained throughout to ensure no defects are missed or built in during. Minor defects that are found are repaired according to industry standards using a hot-cure repair method. Significantly, the final curing stage of the production process involves placing the rebuilt tyre in a hot mould to be heated for up to 95 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius and inflated to 200psi. “The combination of heat, time and

pressure ensures that the new rubber is correctly vulcanised and produces the exact tread patterns and depths required from the mould, using the same process as the one used for the production of new tyre,” points out Jonathan. Upon completion, the tyres then undergo further shearography, visual and pressure tests to ensure maximum and absolute quality is being passed onto the end user. As a result of such rigorous and highly specialised retreading, Alterever can count amongst its clients high-profile names such as DFDS Seaways, P&O Ferries, Harsco Metals, Tata Steel and Charles Marshall, amongst many others. However, the company has its sights set on further European expansion where it feels its bespoke services will be crucial to delivering improved tyre performance in hot climates. It is also focusing on improving its wider offering of other value-adding services and as part of this it recently invested in a new IROP SP0005 Horizontal Autoclave for OTR tyres. “The new machine now enables us to become a one-stop-shop for existing and new clients who have large OTR tyres,” says Jonathan. “The new pressure-curing vessel allows us to vulcanise both minor and major repairs up to a massive diameter of 1800mm.” One key area of importance within Alterever is its environmentally responsible approach to operations. The very process of retreading tyres is in itself an eco-friendly solution to prolong tyre lifespan. The process uses 30 per cent less energy and less than eight gallons of oil per tyre compared to the 22 gallons used in the production of a new tyre. At present Alterever is recycling an average of 100 casings per day, which equates to 32,500 a year and a saving of half a million gallons of oil per year over new tyre production. The company also captures much of the waste material produced from the retreading process to supply processed materials for cushion backing in the carpet industry. As the company looks ahead, continued product development will be key to ensuring it

maintains growth and secures its reputation in global markets. “The essence of our strategy is choosing to perform our activities differently to our competitors,” concludes Jonathan. “We like to think that it makes economic sense to produce products and services that will greatly assist our clients’ needs, whilst remaining competitive in today’s turbulent market. As such, 2016 will see the launch of our Tyre Pressure Monitoring System for commercial vehicles, which has been designed to increase tyre life through correct inflation. Correctly inflated tyres lead to better performing

tyres, which reduce fuel consumption and cost. TPMS ensures that tyres are managed correctly, reducing the amount of blowouts through an early warning system and real time date recording.”

Alterever Products: Manufacture retread tyres for industrial markets 179

Pailton Engineering Ltd.

From hand to


Situated in the City of Coventry in the heart of the industrial Midlands, Pailton Engineering Ltd maintains a proven track record in the design, manufacture, validation and delivery of world-class steering systems


ailton Engineering Ltd (PEL) was founded in 1969 as a subcontractor and toolmaker, before emerging as a First Tier supplier of steering components a decade later in 1979. Following over 40 years of industry experience, the


company today operates from its headquarters located in Phoenix House, Coventry and employs around 170 dedicated members of staff. PEL operates out of its 80,000 sq. ft. facility in Coventry, with a sales office in Europe and a sales and distribution centre in the US. The company’s clients include leading OEMs within the bus and coach; truck; utility, including specialist vehicles such as road sweepers and waste disposal trucks; specialist commercial; off highway; and military markets around the world. PEL products are rarely off-the-shelf solutions and are designed to meet the specific requirements of its customers, which the company meets through the design, testing and delivery of world-class steering systems ‘from the drivers hand to the road wheel.’ Utilising state-of-the-art CAD seats (Solid Works), modern manufacturing facilities and purpose built test and validation equipment, PEL supplies bespoke components to suit the exact requirements of its clients, regardless of

vehicle type, size or quantity. “We work directly with clients to provide a solution to their requirements,” elaborates Managing Director, Cy Wilkinson. “We’re a full service supplier - so we design, manufacture and validate our products to suit what the customer needs, taking into account considerations such as weight, load, endurance, functionality and life cycle requirements.” The product range supplied by PEL includes in-house designed and manufactured components such as steering column assemblies; sliding steering shafts; steering universal joints; panhard rods and suspension links; bevel and mitre boxes; drag link assemblies; steering and suspension ball joints and drop arms. The bespoke products delivered by PEL are designed and manufactured to the highest standards of quality and the company’s highly skilled design and production engineers provide clients with a comprehensive level of service every step in the way of bringing full-tested solutions to fruition. The company’s steering assemblies for example are expertly

designed to the client’s exact specification. By taking the customer’s 3D CAD interface data, PEL can produce a 3D model in Solid Works and provide parts, purpose designed to fit the desired vehicle for maximum performance and ergonomics. This bespoke solution provides significant advantages in terms of precision control and reduced driver fatigue when compared to off-the-shelf solutions. Items such as sliding steering shafts are also designed to meet the customer’s exact requirements on open and closed lengths and wear characteristics. End connectors for the units can be supplied in plain or serrated configurations, with serrations available including 1×54, 1×66, 1×79, 19.05×48 and 22.03×48. This impressive range of options allows clients to take advantage of PEL’s flexible assembly methods and therefore ensure that cost, quality and delivery are all world class. Special sizes, shapes and serrations can also be manufactured to suit customer specifications. PEL sliding steering shafts can be supplied as fixed units or with a detachable universal joint to allow for low cost easy servicing and the units can either have a regrease facility or be sealed for life dependant on the application. Additionally, for steering shafts subjected to a harsh environment, a gaiter arrangement can also be fitted preventing the ingress of both dirt and water ensuring the maximum durability. “Our products are made in England to a very high standard,” Cy observes. “We have a highly skilled and experienced team, which means that we can respond to the requests of our clients very quickly.” PEL is committed to the highest levels of quality throughout all of its design and manufacturing practices and operates to BSI/ISO 9001 quality management system. Furthermore as the company continues to strive for greater standards of practice, PEL is currently implementing ISO/TS 16949. ISO/TS 16949 was jointly developed by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF) members, including BMW Group, Chrysler Group, Daimler AG, Fiat Group Automobile, Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Renault SA, Volkswagen AG, AIAG (U.S.), ANFIA (Italy), FIEV (France), SMMT (UK), VDA (Germany). The standard represents a common automotive quality system based on ISO 9001, as well as customer specific requirements for within the automotive industry and provides a quality management system for continual improvement, defect prevention and the reduction of variation and waste in the supply chain. During 2016 PEL will continue to supply market-leading steering solutions to its clients,

while focusing on the on-going development of its manufacturing process to deliver everhigher levels of quality. “We are in the process of implementing TS16949 now with our stage one audit in Q1 and stage two in Q2 of 2016 – this represents a significant milestone for us,” Cy concludes. “There are certainly opportunities for us to sell more products to our current customers, as well as growth opportunities with new clients in the future. As always in any business, a key challenge is being better, faster and more efficient in everything we do. Our whole philosophy at PEL is focused around how we can improve the business and create better products.”

Pailton Engineering Ltd. Products/Services: World class steering systems 181


Connected to


The new research campus in Renningen is the hub of Bosch’s global research and development network


ollowing several years of planning and construction, Bosch’s new research campus in Renningen, Germany, was officially opened on October 14th 2015 at a ceremony attended by high profile business, politics and academia guests such as Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel. Bringing together many faculties, the research campus is Bosch’s very own Stanford, with the company wanting its researchers to be entrepreneurial when it comes to research and innovation as a way to maintain prosperity. Indeed, with the campus bringing together disciplines from science and technology, including electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science or microsystems technology, the company will ensure it stays one step ahead of competition in growing markets such as mobility solutions, industrial technology, consumer goods and building technology. Today a total of 14 new buildings have been erected on a space of 100 hectares in Renningen, and the total size of the new centre has reached almost 110,000 square metres. Twelve of the 14 buildings have been laid out


in line with the model of a university campus in mind and have been distributed over 32 hectares at the northern end of the property. Meanwhile, the laboratory and workshop buildings have been connected via paned bridges and transparent connecting buildings; an open style that aims to promote communication and co-operation through a range of scientific disciplines. In the middle of the campus will be a number of generous green spaces and bodies of water, while the towering central building, at 60 metres high, will be the visual highlight of the campus. Created as the heart of the new campus’s research and advance engineering operations, the central building will feature rooms for site management functions on the basement and ground floor, while part of the site’s logistics are also located on the lower floors. Meanwhile, the building’s upper floors include a conference centre, offices and laboratories; it is here that Bosch researchers will work in the electronic labs while focusing on software intensive systems. There will also be a multi-purpose room for sporting and cultural activities and a library. Costing more than 310 million euros,

Renningen is setting new standards for technological research as a total of 1200 associates in corporate research and advance engineering and 5000 PhD students and interns strive to find solutions to the technical challenges of the future. Before the official opening, these researchers were based at three areas in greater Stuttgart, however, with everyone now operating under one campus, there are opportunities for associates to network in different research locations and scientific disciplines; this is something that Bosch is keen to develop through the creation of its hub for R&D that boasts the motto of being ‘Connected for millions of ideas’. In line with this focus on enterprise and entrepreneurship, Bosch understands that a start-up spirit is key to ongoing innovation; with this in mind, the company paid close attention to working conditions in Renningen through the development of a modern work environment. Creating a campus that is also an entire workplace, Renningen has WiFi connections in every building and all over the grounds, while laptops, tablet computers and voice over Internet means work can take place in any area

electronics for occupant and pedestrian safety systems. Costing 70 million euros, the investment will strengthen Bosch’s wholly owned subsidiary Robert Bosch GmbH’s Chassis Systems Control division, which has continued to grow since the location was opened in 2004. Following continuous growth in the workforce, Bosch will be adding more than 30,000 metres of space, with additional parking for 1300 vehicles built by mid 2016. With 3400 associates from over 50 countries and growing at Abstatt, Bosch will build two new buildings that will provide much required space for offices, meeting rooms, project areas and another company restaurant at the highly successful centre. Construction of the buildings is due to begin in mid 2016. As the company makes continuous improvements within the business, it will also be focusing on increasing energy efficiency, comfort and security as its customers become more demanding of technical solutions that offer these benefits while also saving energy and cutting

costs. In response to this market trend, Bosch is offering integrated solutions that merge energy and building technology with smart connectivity and services for areas such as heating, hot water, air conditioning and power generation via its Energy and Building Technology business sector. Well-positioned to take advantage of this growing market thanks to its wide-ranging technical systems expertise, ongoing innovative developments and understanding of regional markets, Bosch is set to deliver technological solutions and continue to strengthen its global footprint long into the future.

Bosch Divisions: Mobility solutions, industrial technology, consumer goods and energy & building technology

of the campus. There are both quiet corners and collaborative zones, depending on the type of research taking place; these office layouts have been designed through a comprehensive analysis on the process of innovation based on whether researchers are exploring ideas or exchanging ideas with others. Aside from individual workplaces, there are 270 meeting rooms of various sizes within Renningen, which gives researchers the sufficient room they need for both focused activity and teamwork. Thanks to the layout of Renningen, each associate at the campus is ten metres from the nearest meeting room, meaning the next innovative breakthrough could literally be just around the corner. Alongside this major development, Bosch remains busy with plans to expand its development centre in Abstatt near Stuttgart, with construction work on buildings anticipated to start in 2016. It is here that the centre develops and manufactures innovative components, functions and systems, with the goal of enabling safe, agile and automated driving. Products within the company’s portfolio include electronic brake control systems and 183

Luxfer Gas Cylinders

High pressure

markets Luxfer Gas Cylinders Ltd, part of the Luxfer Group, has set the standard worldwide for high pressure aluminium and composite cylinders for a diverse range of markets, including medical, life support, beverage, fire, scuba and speciality gases


ince its foundation in 1897, Luxfer Group has evolved from a highly successful glass products manufacturer for North American and European markets to become a global entity with 16 manufacturing plants in areas such as the US, France, Canada and China; it also has joint ventures in Japan and India. Not only expanding geographically, the group has also diversified its product range and today manufactures advanced aluminium alloys, advanced magnesium alloys, Zirconian chemicals and oxides, engineered components made from aluminium, magnesium, titanium and carbon composites. The products created by Luxfer Group are used in a wide variety of industries in most countries across the globe; customers include those in the automotive, aerospace, defence, emergency services, graphic arts, medical and rail industries. In addition to setting the standard worldwide for the production of high-performance engineering materials, the group has also established Luxfer


Gas Cylinders for the production of high-pressure aluminium and composite gas cylinders. Today renowned as the world’s largest manufacturer of these products, Luxfer Gas Cylinders supplies customers in more than 50 countries from its cylinder manufacturing facilities in England, France, the USA, China and India. Having developed an exemplary record for safety and dependable performance in a range of demanding applications for its Luxfer composite cylinders, the company has become a trusted partner for those operating within the medical, scuba, life support and fire fighting industries. A manufacturer of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and life-support cylinders for firefighters and first responders since the early 1970s, the company has become the most widely used brand for these applications and offers the most comprehensive range of full-wrap carbon composite cylinders, high pressure aluminium cylinders and hoop wrap cylinders. Also within this product range are the L7X

hoop-wrap cylinders, which are manufactured with inner aluminium liners made from the company’s L7X higher-strength alloy; this not only provides superior mechanical characteristics, but also provides weight savings as they are 55 per cent lighter than steel cylinders and up to 35 per cent lighter than all-metal aluminium cylinders. Meanwhile, as our life expectancy continues to increase due to advances in therapy and medical technology, Luxfer Gas Cylinders has responded to the growing demand for healthcare services delivered in the home with its range of lightweight, compact, oxygen-delivery systems that facilitate mobility; this is particularly the case when the cylinders are used with a conserving device that makes the oxygen cylinder last for longer. These lightweight cylinders are also beneficial for the emergency services whether they operate on land, water or in the air as the highly portable products significantly lower the risk of occupational injuries. Within this range is the L7X 300-bar, ultralightweight carbon composite medical cylinders,

litres and a length of 386 millimetres to 556 millimetres, these products have a service life averaging at 15 years. With more than four million cylinders already in service and an annual turnover of more than ÂŁ100 million, Luxfer Gas Cylinders is proud to set the standard when it comes to providing the most innovative products and services in the gascontainment market. To ensure optimum standards are maintained, the company remains true to its core values of integrity, customer focus, teamwork and a can-do attitude. Moreover, it ensures a safe environment for all employees and visitors to its sites by training all staff and informing all visitors of its objectives and targets on Health and Safety. Viewed as an imperative to the safe and successful production of gas cylinders, the company operates in accordance to the OHSAS 18001 legislation and complies with other health and safety requirements that are relevant to the business. This focus on safe and high quality operations has resulted in an unmatched record for safety, stateof-the-art manufacturing capabilities, innovative products and optimum quality products that those

in demanding or hazardous industries can trust. Thanks to the diversity of its customer base and the optimum quality of its products, the innovative Luxfer Gas Cylinders will continue to provide solutions to customers operating in demanding markets. However, while it supplies Luxfer Go-Stor Go Type 4 and G-Stor Pro Type 3 carbon composite cylinders to McNeilus, a US manufacturer of refuse vehicles that announced its contract with Luxfer Gas Cylinders in September 2015, the company will also be looking to expand its operations in areas such as the Middle East and South America. As demand for natural gas continues to increase in these countries, Luxfer Gas Cylinders is keen to strengthen its foothold through the supply of high quality mobile pipelines that customers can rely on.

Luxfer Gas Cylinders Products: High pressure gas cylinders

which deliver greater volumes of oxygen in the lightest weight packages. Manufactured from proprietary, higher-strength L7X aluminium ally liners that are reinforced with aerospace-grade carbon fibre, the 300-bar cylinders provide up to 50 per cent more oxygen than similar-sized 200 bar cylinders. Furthermore, 300 bar filling means more usable gas per cylinder, less customer refills and fewer patient visits per year; it also lowers logistical costs and improves the patients quality of life. Within the composite cylinder product range is the LCX line of ultra-lightweight composite cylinders that are fully wrapped with aerospacegrade carbon fiber; available in a number of sizes, the LCX cylinders are up to 70 per cent lighter than steel cylinders and up to 30 per cent lighter than all-aluminium cylinders that have the same gas capacity. Manufactured in France, these cylinders offer optimum safety and reliability, that fire fighters and first responders across Europe depend on. Ranging from an air capacity of 538 litres to 2462 185

Lambert Engineering

A winning


A solid combination of values and world-class engineering skills set Lambert Engineering apart as a multi-award winning innovation partner


t 2015’s The Manufacturer MX Awards one company stood out amongst the rest, winning four awards including the main prize of Manufacturer of the Year. Also winning the Customer Focus, Innovation and Design,


and Leadership and Strategy awards, Lambert’s success at the awards topped off another year of significant growth that saw it reach sales in excess of £20 million. Founded back in 1973 by Chris Lambert and Peter Wainman as a small engineering shop, four decades of experience define the company’s current offering to the market that make it a leading innovation partner in the development of bespoke automation systems. “At present we have 190 people split across three individual business units,” begins Sales Director, Matthew Cox. “The first is automation systems (AS), which accounts for around 50 per cent of our sales, and is essentially the design and build of specialist automation machinery. The second is our equipment engineering (EE) division, which allows customers to operate on a build-to-print basis, whereby they design the system and utilise our manufacturing expertise to realise it. This accounts for an additional 40 per cent of our business. The remaining business then comes from our precision

components (PC) segment, which focuses on parts.” In approaching its working relationships, Lambert very much considers itself a key partner to globally leading clients, mostly coming from the healthcare and FMCG markets. In cementing these partnerships, and in order to capacitate future growth aspirations, in 2014 Lambert

opened its state-of-the-art innovation centre. Named the Peter Wainman Innovation Centre, after the company’s co-founder, the facility reinforces Lambert’s pro-active approach to research and development – the cornerstone of its market offering. “The first rationale behind the centre’s development was the need to help our customer

base to develop products as well as the processes that go along with them,” explains Matthew. “They have to be developed at the same time to make a good use of time and money – it is pointless developing a product that can’t be manufactured effectively. In the past we would reverse engineer some of the products to make them automatable, but now we make sure to get involved right at the start, in some cases actually developing some of our customer’s products in their entirety. This is why working partnerships are crucial. “The other driver was to fully develop our service offering to the client. It is to become closer to the customer, to promote the whole idea of partnership and to allow us to differentiate our customers so we are giving them something really special and unique. Something that would never go to their competition.” In 2007, Lambert was subject to a management buyout, which has seen its sales increase from £8.5 million to the £20 millionplus that it now experiences. Looking forward the company sets its aspirations on 90 per cent 187

Lambert Engineering

Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information. The company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and employs about 22,500 people serving customers in about 80 countries. Smart manufacturing is driving new opportunities for end users as they look to optimise their production and supply chain by bringing together islands of information. As they pursue smart manufacturing, they need OEMs such as Lambert Engineering who create intelligent manufacturing equipment that easily integrates into facilities, provides access to information, and enables agile reaction to changing market demands. Rockwell Automation can help OEMs and their customers become connected, compliant and competitive.

growth over the next five years. Commenting on the company’s ability to achieve such levels of growth Matthew puts its strength down to its clear vision, breadth of offering and the skills of its people. “I see that our focused strategy and sense of knowing precisely where we are going and how we are going to get there makes us stand out as a business,” he says. “Then, without our people and their skills we wouldn’t be able to exist. They are part of our mission statement of empowerment – we empower them and make

them the best they can be and this is vital to the continued success of the business. “In addition to this we have a great set of ethics and values, and we tend to align ourselves with customers who share these. This is all about establishing strong partnerships both with our customers and suppliers, creating an environment that allows everyone to add as much value as possible. The final thing that sets us apart is our technical excellence. Operationally, we try to be as enlightened as possible, as lean as possible and as cutting edge as possible with regards to the tools and expertise we can bring.” Placing this robust proposition within the context of current market conditions suggests that the future for Lambert looks positive. Matthew notes his confidence in the strong market, particularly pointing out the continued drive towards innovation and product development that exists within many industries around the globe. “Every big international market leader is in that position because they come up with clever and innovative products on a consistent basis,” he says. “This is how they stay ahead of the competition. We don’t really see this changing much, as even throughout the last recession the company performed extremely well because it was focused on those areas of new development and innovation.” By operating in its core healthcare and FMCG segments on a global scale Lambert is also able to avoid exposure to difficult sectors that are subject to political and economic influences, such as the oil and gas market. Considering this is the case, it is no surprise that Lambert’s target over the next five years is to grow to sales worth £35 million. The next 12 months will be key to supporting this as the company focuses on growing its talent with young engineers and graduates, expanding its service offering to the market, both before and after the point of sale, and adding to its customer base. By continuing to serve the unique needs of global leaders as a critical innovation partner, Lambert looks set to experience a long and prosperous future.

Lambert Engineering Services: Produce bespoke turnkey automation solutions for specialist assembly needs 188

BAE Systems

Setting the


Global defence, aerospace and security firm BAE Systems is teamed with Northrop Grumman and programme lead Lockheed Martin to deliver the F-35 Lightning II, the world’s largest defence programme


esponsible for the design, manufacture and assembly of the aft fuselage and empennage for each fifth generation F-35 Lightning II, aka Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), BAE Systems will be setting new standards for assembly precision and pace throughout the programme.This is thanks to digital design and precision manufacturing techniques that have been pioneered by the innovative company. Furthermore, BAE Systems is also responsible for the design and delivery of core areas of the vehicle and mission systems; these include the fuel system, crew escape, manufacture details and life support system as well as UK aircraft carrier integration and Prognostics Health Management (PHM) integration. On top of this, BAE Systems is providing expertise to Autonomic Logistics and Global Sustainment (support), flight test support, structural testing and UK weapons integration to the programme. Meanwhile, BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information business is supporting sustainment efforts on the programme.The company will be an integral part in developing the F-35 global

sustainment model and will be at the forefront of sustainment activities for the UK fleet on behalf of the F-35 team. State-of-the-art in every respect, the F-35 Lightning II is a stealthy, versatile, all-weather attack aircraft that is capable of operating from both land and sea. Chosen for its accuracy and expertise, BAE Systems is involved in all three variants of the F-35 programme: the Conventional Take Off and Landing (CTOL or F-35A), the Carrier Variant (or F-35C) and the Short Take Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL or F-35B). As the producer of approximately ten per cent of each F-35’s airframe, the company is using its superior manufacturing strengths to make the rear fuselage and tailplanes fit together with such precision that there are no gaps that will reflect back radio waves. By manufacturing the components to two or three 1000ths of an inch, the stealth jet will become all but invisible to radar. Key to delivering this level of smoothness is the company’s cutting edge facility in Samlesbury, Lancashire, which has been transformed through £150 million investment that ensures it not only

delivers optimum quality parts, but also meets the challenge of quadrupling the rate of production while halving the cost in the next three years. These enhancements are in line with the ‘Blueprint for Affordability’ that has been agreed between the US Department of Defence and contractors to halve costs by streamlining production, as Jon Evans, BAE Systems’ Head of F-35 Operations, notes: “There is no simple answer as to how we will meet this challenge, however, I like to refer to the four P’s: product, plant, process and people. Firstly, we need to install the necessary plant and capacity to deliver the planned rates; next we need to enable the people to be able to build the product and also equip them to help improve the way it is built.Thirdly, during the learning phase the operators will also find innovative ways of improving the process, which may need engineering support or offline development to complete prior to introducing improvements onto the line. Finally, we are investing in our employees’ abilities with the Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) NVQ programme in LEAN. We know the hours it takes 189

BAE Systems

to make each section and we have planned how this will reduce going forward.” So far the £150 million has gone on a 10,000 square metre titanium machine shop that opened in 2010 where parts for the F-35 are ground out of titanium by eight automated milling machines; these have just three operators monitoring them and another two personnel who set up specialised tools that remove excess material; meanwhile, other employees on the floor remove excess metal from finished parts. In addition, the company has also invested in a new office building and an extended manufacturing facility, which opened in 2012 as the second part of a three phase expansion plan to meet production plans and remain at the forefront of UK manufacturing. “We have demonstrated continued investment in our facilities over the past 13 years.That investment included the new titanium machining facility, which allows flexible manufacturing and an initial extension to the assembly facility in 2011; this will be completed by our latest extension. We are also particularly proud of the assembly facility’s moving Integrated Assembly Line, or IAL, which first came online in 2012,” says Jon. “The IAL ‘pulses’ currently every four days – usually on a Monday.The lines moves as one so every section has to be balanced in terms of work content and also complete before

the deadline to allow the line to move as one.” The line is a multi-model line making all three variants of the F-35 aircraft down the same line. A pair of products (port & starboard) will move down the line together. At each station work will be completed prior to the pulse.The pulse is effectively a very complex overhead crane system that moves the product along every four days. “Jigs and fixtures are selected from a store based on the programme order of variants.The line also transfers the product to the machining centre, the spray facility and the equipping sections.” In December 2015 the company announced it had begun work on a major extension to its cutting edge manufacturing facility, which will further prepare the site for a significant boost in production. Following the start of the project, the UK Government recently committed to 138 F-35 Lightning II STOVL variant aircraft for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy. The 4,500 square metre expansion is due for completion in January 2017 and is the final part of a three phase plan for the facility. Originally opened in 2003 at a cost of £11 million, the facility will be capable of manufacturing over 160 aircraft sets annually once completed; this is a whopping increase of 250 per cent from current numbers. “The continued development gives BAE Systems

the necessary physical space for the installed capacity to operate within in order to achieve the planned rates F35 is predicting.The eventual plan was always to build one aircraft every day so planning ahead and installing a building large enough to cope with the growth required in time for the necessary line expansion is key,” states Jon. With the increased rates and cost reductions, BAE Systems has a challenging few years ahead of it, but the company is relishing the opportunity to meet demand through ongoing investments in both employees and facilities, as Jon concludes: “You could sum it up by saying we have built 240 aircraft in 15 years and have to build another 200 in the next three, however, our continued investment in people and in facilities – especially through the latest extension work to our assembly facility - demonstrates we are ready to meet that challenge.”

BAE Systems Products: Future technologies, combat and trainer aircraft, complex surface ships and combat vehicles 191


A precise


Viewed as a world leader in the manufacture of high-precision tool grinding machines, EWAG is continuing to meet the needs of its customers with innovative new products such as the LASER LINE PRECISION machine


ith origins dating back as far as 1946, Ewag AG began its operations as a supplier to the Swiss watch industry; over the years the company has not lost its focus on meeting the high precision requirements of those in the tool machining industry and has developed an impressive product portfolio in response to market trends and customer demand. Expanding into laser machining in 2008, the company has since focused on the advantages of the ultra short pulsed laser ablation and is now well respected in the market as the pioneer for machining diamond tool edges and cavities with ultra short pulsed lasers. “Today EWAG stands for high precision and high quality machine tool solutions; we are a world leading supplier, especially in the area of super hard material processing,” highlights Christoph Pluess, CTO at EWAG. Operating under the United Grinding Group since 2000, the company was linked with Walter Maschinenbau GmbH in 2010 to form the WALTER EWAG Tooling division of the United Grinding Group. Today the Tooling division is the leading supplier for machine tool solutions in the area of manufacturing with grinding, EDM, laser and measuring technologies. “Over 95 per cent of our machines are exported all over the world. To be globally present we have as WALTER EWAG


Tooling division own sales, application and services present in all major industrial countries. In the USA, China and India we are using local organisations of the United Grinding Group to cover local market needs with sales, service and application specialists,” says Christoph. “The largest growth in the tool industry can be seen in the area of diamond tools, with CBN, PCD, or CVD-D cutting edges, this is due to the fact that

an increased amount of special lightweight alloys or CRFP’s have to be machined in the automotive and aerospace industries,” he continues. “The use of these new types of materials substantially reduces overall weight and therefore enhances fuel efficiency. However, most of these new lightweight materials are tough to machine and raise the need for diamond tools with superb cutting edges and especially for CRFP machining with ultra sharp cutting edges below three microns without any chipping. Especially for these types of tools EWAG invested heavily in the past years to develop new CNC production machines equipped with latest laser technology to meet the requirements of this market demand.” The company’s most recent innovation is the LASER LINE PRECISION machine, which is a smaller, more affordable option to those seeking all-in-one laser processing of diamond cutting tools. Replacing previous methods for grinding and eroding ultra-hard materials such as PCD and CVD-D through the use of lasers, the LASER LINE PRECISION provides efficient machining results and can be used to achieve highly complex geometries with excellent surface quality. It also holds rotationally symmetrical tools of up to 200 mm diameter and 250 mm length as well as indexable inserts from three mm inscribed diameter and up to 50 mm circumscribed

diameter. “The LASER LINE PRECISION machine is equipped with a new type of industrial fibre laser with very short pulses and is tailor made for processing PCD and CVD-D cutting tools; it is also especially designed for customers who are intending to enter laser processing. Much like our high-end laser-machining center LASER LINE ULTRA, the LASER LINE PRECISION can be equipped with a six-axis folding arm robot with various gripper systems to achieve increased levels of productivity. However, when it comes to superb laser ablation machining quality in a wide variety of cutting materials, then our high-end laser-machining centre LASER LINE ULTRA is the preferred choice,” highlights Christoph. Indeed, the LASER LINE ULTRA is the leading technological high-end machining unit for demanding applications. Offering optimum flexibility thanks to its kinematics, 3D programming, ultra-short pulse laser technology and integrated automation, the LASER LINE ULTRA also produces exceptional surface quality due to its ability to carefully machine all commercially available cutting machines without producing heat. Key to the company’s ability to continuously innovate is its R&D centre, which is based in its headquarters in Etziken, Switzerland, as well as the collaborative nature within the company, as Christoph notes: “Solving special customer requests and developing innovative and smart tooling solutions is our strengths, for that we are known and respected in the market. We also cultivate a strong collaboration with research institutes and universities to also develop skilled, fresh and new talents in the area of laser machining.”

These strengths have resulted in the company being chosen to participate in DIPLAT, a 42 month project to apply the latest ultra short pulsed laser technology to novel methods for the laserbased production of micro and macro diamond cutting tools. Co-ordinated by the Institute of Machine Tools and Manufacturing at ETH Zuerich, Switzerland, the project began in 2013 and is due for completion in 2016. “Our role is to provide the necessary laser machine platform and laser

processing capabilities to develop together with the consortium members new strategies and methods for modern diamond cutting tools. This project will also allow us to extend our technological leadership in the field of laser-based tool processing in the future,” highlights Christoph. Moving forward, EWAG is keen to take advantage of the strong growth potential in the market as innovative and new laser machining or cutting solutions are required. “Our strategy is to convince our customers with innovative and surprising technical solutions. Innovation and technological leadership is the only valuable market strategy for highly developed machine tool countries like Switzerland,” Christoph concludes.

EWAG AG Products: High-precision tool grinding machines html

Detlev Hofmann GmbH Detlev Hofmann GmbH develops and manufactures modern CNCcontrolled dividing heads and rotary axes in Pforzheim, Germany. Its reference list includes wellknown partners in the machine tool, aerospace engineering, toolmaking, automotive, jewellery, medical engineering and dental industries. Since 2003 a number of successful projects have been realised together with EWAG AG. More than 200 devices are currently in operation with EWAG machines. These are highest precision rotary axes (run-out < +/-0.0005 mm) of the innovative TMi series with integrated torque motor (direct drive technology). The devices have a special HSK63 interface integrated in the spindle with automatic tool clamping and also find application in the EWAG EWAMATIC LINE / LINEAR as a headstock spindle. 193

Alsico NV

A comfortingchoice Since the business was incorporated in 1934, the Belgian workwear provider Alsico has established itself as a leading name in the development, manufacture and marketing of quality workwear


aking its name from an acronym of the company’s founders, ‘Aelvoet Siau Confection’, Alsico has over eight decades of experience in the development, manufacture and marketing of workwear that is worn across several industry sectors. The business was founded and managed by Mr. and Mrs. Aelvoet, until 1947 when Mr. and Mrs G. Siau took over operation of the company. The third generation, with M. B. Siau, was responsible for international expansion, which now results in the global presence of the group, with production facilities all over the world. Today Alsico continues to operate as a fourth generation, privately owned business that represents one of the largest producers of workwear in Europe. Alsico is a ‘Faminational’ with the right values of a family company and the positive values of a multinational (focused on results and innovation).


As a company of the future, Alsico cares for its employees and encourages their empowerment. Sustainability forms an integral element of Alsico’s strategy. Sustainable operations support all business targets and form a core part of daily operations, management and decisionmaking. Carrying responsibility for finances, the environment, personnel and purchasing makes Alsico a reliable, stable partner for customers. Continuous dialogue with customers and development of operations ensure that both products and services meet customer needs and that they are produced sustainably. Alsico serves the full circle: from the design to the creation of the patterns and the first samples to the production in its own production facilities and the follow-up by its dedicated customer service team. Presently the Alsico Group employs a workforce of over 7000 employees, including

4000 multi-skilled machinists in manufacturing plants across 12 countries. Furthermore, the company maintains sales offices in 30 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and America and within the European Union, Alsico is represented in Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, the UK, Ireland, Spain, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Its global manufacturing presence allows Alsico to supply over 16 million garments annually to its customers, generating a consolidated turnover of €205 million. Alsico NV is based within Ronse, Belgium and plays with 126 employees an extremely important part in furthering the development of new innovations across the company. A key focus for the business at present is the continued development and marketing of its patented A-move system, which was developed by Alsico to deliver workwear that is designed with freedom of movement in mind, enhanced for

comfort and ergonomic to the workers’ daily routine. Through a combination of new materials and a refined system of assembly, the A-move system allows the wearer to continuously experience a refreshing sense of freedom. Lifting movements and actions that are common within the care and hospitality sectors, can be easily performed with A-move to help ensure pleasant and safe working conditions, while maintaining a sense of job satisfaction. Since the introduction of A-move the system has enjoyed highly positive feedback and is presently being worn by Aldi in Belgium, Colruyt in Belgium, as well as in hospitals throughout Europe. The A-move system is used extensively within the company’s CARE collection, which was designed by Alsico to specifically meet the needs of personnel working within the medical, care and wellness sectors. Its 80 years of operation within the workwear sector has given Alsico extensive experience in delivering complete workwear solutions, paying particular attention to quality, comfort, design and innovation. The company’s ‘Shake Your Style’ initiative represents a second area of focus for the business

that has enjoyed great success and will continue to develop during 2016 and beyond. Shake Your Style is a manufacturing process innovation, which allows clients to customise workwear in many ways including the machining of fabrics in a very rapid process from design to delivery. Shake Your Style allows clients to choose the garment’s desired model, fabric, colour and pockets, as well as to add their company logo as required. Customers may choose from various colours and fabrics to design a unique creation in workwear


Carrington is the largest producer of workwear fabrics in the UK, exporting to more than 70 countries, producing over 35 million metres of fabric annually. Based in Lancashire, it has over 125 years’ experience of textile processing and finishing. This is supported by massive investments in one of Europe’s largest fully integrated textile processing and finishing operations. The company specialises in Workwear, Flame Retardant, Waterproof & Defence fabrics that have exceptional performance in the most demanding environments. 195

Alsico NV

including knitted tunics, knitted tunics with woven side panels and woven tunics. For knitted tunics Alsico uses a high-quality material, with a specific weaving technique, with a polyester knit on the outside and cotton on the inside, with a fabric composition of 55 per cent cotton and 45 per cent polyester. The use of a special fibre in the manufacturing of Shake Your Style allows the range several key advantages, including a modern look, comfortable feeling on the skin, long durability, greatly reduced shrinkage, freedom from creases, good moisture absorption and rapid moisture transport, but also and simple maintenance and industrial laundry resistance. Since its launch on 21 December 2012, the Shake Your Style range has proven highly successful and popular with clients and is today worn by staff operating within the restaurant, hospitality and care industries. The success of the brand was further demonstrated during 2014, when Alsico and the Shake Your Style range were awarded the Roularta Industry Award in its ‘Best Practice in Manufacturing’ category. Victory in this category proves the dynamics and dedication of Alsico employees and highlights the company’s ability to deliver high-quality workwear both rapidly and at a competitive price. Overall, Alsico collections are divided into three segments: CARE – INDUSTRY – IMAGE+. The CARE collection, especially designed for the care sector consists of several fashionable clothing lines, each available in several colour combinations. Every clothing line offers a total package and has been designed to dress every


function of the care facility and guarantee a uniform image to the outside world. Freedom of movement and wearer comfort are obtained thanks to the A-move concept. The INDUSTRY collection contains a large range of PPE (CE certified), but also basic and functional workwear. Besides a large standard collection, designed for men and women, which is in stock, Alsico specialises in projects. This personalised clothing is entirely designed to the customer’s corporate design and meets the customer’s specific needs in terms of image, colours and functionality. The IMAGE+ collection focuses mainly on professionals in the hotel, catering and service sector. This new collection is characterised by the diversity of colours and ease of maintenance. Across all of its product lines, safety is extremely important to Alsico and the company is committed to delivering reliable clothing that meets all statutory European and international standards. These options coupled with its A-move and Shake Your Style lines, allow Alsico to deliver a comprehensive product portfolio that will ensure that the company’s workwear will remain a common sight through Europe’s workforce.

Alsico NV Products: Development, manufacture and marketing of workwear 57

Profile for Schofield Publishing Ltd

Manufacturing Today Europe Issue 125 February 2016  

The latest edition of Manufacturing Today Europe.

Manufacturing Today Europe Issue 125 February 2016  

The latest edition of Manufacturing Today Europe.