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efficiency By promoting a leaner factory, manufacturers can eliminate waste, improve customer satisfaction and increase profitability

Also in this issue: • Lean manufacturing • Electrical safety • Managing change • Industry 4.0 • Health & safety


September 2017


EDITOR’S COMMENT Chairman Andrew Schofield September 2017


Editor Libbie Hammond


Assistant Editor Will Daynes Art Editor/Design David Howard Advertising Design Fiona Jolliffe


efďŹ ciency

Staff Writer Jo Cooper

By promoting a leaner factory, manufacturers can eliminate waste, improve customer satisfaction and increase proďŹ tability

Production Manager Fleur Daniels Production Editorial Administrator Emma Crane Advertising Administrator Tracy Chynoweth



Operations Director Philip Monument Editorial Researchers Mark Cowles Tarj D’Silva Jeff Goldenberg Ben Richell Richard Saunders Kieran Shukri Advertising Sales Mark Cawston Tim Eakins Darren Jolliffe Jonas Junca Dave King Theresa McDonald Rob Wagner Web Sales James Whiteley



igures have revealed economic growth in the Eurozone as coming in ahead of expectations, and the CBI has recently released its own data showing that UK manufacturing is experiencing an uptake in both volume of output and orders, and it describes demand as ‘robust’ for UK manufacturers - last month I was using the word ‘optimism’! This sort of news does help to build a bit of confidence as Brexit talks continue. In other news, the CBI is also establishing a new Manufacturing Council chaired by Tom Crotty, Group Director of Ineos, to help support the UK’s makers, with dozens of the UK’s top manufacturers – small, medium and large – from across the country. Do you think this is a good idea? Will it create a strong voice for the sector or could a more powerful alliance be created by working with EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation? I’d love to hear your opinion!


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Managing Director Joe Woolsgrove

Features 4 Maximised efficiency Manufacturers can reduce waste through automating both production lines and the administration function

Maximised efficiency ERP insight

10 Change for the better It is vital that any productivity and efficiency gains are attainable through an intended change management programme

Change for the better

12 Next generation networks The connected world of Industry 4.0’s smart factories adds a new dimension of complexity to machinery safety challenges

14 Better safe than sorry Establishing a culture of safety involves a fundamental shift in thinking and behaviour and organisation wide commitment

6 Getting lean

Better safe than sorry

Smaller companies may be afraid they don’t have the resources to push a lean approach, but they can take simple steps

8 Arc Flash 101 To ensure your workforce is adequately protected from Arc Flash, education and prevention are the top priorities

Arc Flash 101

16 Manufacturing news Updates and announcements from the manufacturing arena



Profiles 66 Weckerle Companies 69 Khimaira Ltd 72 ADEY Professional Heating Solutions 75 Sambro International 80 Auto-Sleepers Ltd Auto Sleepers

19 Whittan Group 36 Vantage Power 40 Kitron ASA 43 Mahindra Truck and Bus Division Mahindra Truck & Busf

83 The Sertec Group Ltd 86 Bigneat Ltd 88 Fabdec 90 Ebac Group Ltd 92 ATG Access 94 Fracino 96 HTS maskinteknikk 98 M Squared Lasers 100 Vanden Recycling 102 Turkish Aerospace Industries 104 Porvair Filtration Group 106 Bartec Auto ID Limited 108 FFEI Limited 110 Express Bi-folding Doors FFEI

50 Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd 53 Héroux-Devtek 58 SPI Global Play 60 Jiffy Packaging 63 Specialised Covers Ltd 3

Reducing waste


efficiency Jonathan Wilkins explains three ways automation can reduce waste in manufacturing


ccording to reports, plastic accounts for around ten per cent of waste worldwide. Governments ultimately aim to eliminate this waste by introducing plastic bag and bottle charges to discourage a throwaway society. Some also look to less traditional methods to reuse this waste. Plastic bottles can transform into fashion, furniture or even a solar light bulb. Manufacturers can also support the aim towards a zero waste economy by reducing the initial amount of waste used in production. Within manufacturing processes, there are seven principal elements of waste - transport, inventory, movement, waiting, overproduction, over-processing and defects. Manufacturers that optimise these processes can reduce cost and error while increasing profit and improving delivery time to the customer. In such a competitive market, manufacturers can invest in technology to maximise efficiency. Lean manufacturing, a process originally developed


by Toyota, promotes an efficient production line that increases automation to eliminate the seven wastes, improving customer satisfaction as well as profitability.

Circular economy Lean manufacturing contributes to a future without waste, promoting the core ideology of the circular economy. This alternative to the linear model of take, make and dispose extracts a product’s maximum value by finding new uses for each product once it has achieved its intended purpose, reducing product disposal. A circular economy minimises waste generation and costs while reducing the impact on the environment. Manufacturers can support a circular economy by assessing how they design, produce, sell and dispose of products with the aim to optimise each process to maximise product usage. After assessment, there are three principal ways businesses can change from a linear to a circular supply chain. Closed loop recycling is a process

by which companies manufacture using materials, such as glass or aluminium, that can be recycled over and over. Using these materials also provide customers with more environmentally friendly products without a high increase in costs. As well as providing better products for customers, manufacturers must consider how end users dispose of unwanted or overused goods. Manufacturers may find a decrease in waste if they choose to rent certain products or incentivise returning products so that the materials can be reused for a new purpose, reducing material costs. Manufacturers can also reduce material costs through remanufacturing. Restoring or reconditioning machinery parts is cheaper than producing new ones. This extends the life span of the part and gives the technology a new purpose to be used for longer, in more industries. Manufacturers can work with an obsolete or reconditioned parts supplier to help improve the process of finding compatible spare parts, which in turn helps ensure production stays up and running.

Robotics Robots are an integral part of the assembly line as they improve efficiency and increase production. Primarily, robots can reduce the waste caused by human error as they carry out repetitive tasks more accurately than a human can. Factories can have a rapid production rate by automating more processes, while reducing mistakes that cause waste. The integration of robots into the manufacturing process can only enhance the assembly line if the robots increase production while reducing waste. This requires robots that quickly and accurately repeat tasks while being flexible enough to create multiple products without complex changeover processes. Manufacturers can programme robots for optimal performance during repetitive tasks, such as pulling and packing, allowing humans to work on more intricate tasks.

Going paperless Paper-based administrative documents are easily lost or destroyed, yet they contain important information such as inventories, customer orders and financial information. Automation can prevent the loss of these documents by using electronic devices that collect analytical data from connected machines in real-time. Online documentation is an environmentally friendly and more time efficient alternative to paper. It also allows all employees to access, create and edit documents to optimise administration in manufacturing. Reducing administration time diverts more human workers to the factory floor, increasing production without a larger amount of waste. The accuracy of real-time data can also reduce the risk of mistakes caused by incorrect records when taking inventory and producing customer orders, reducing waste made by human error.

3D printing Advancements in 3D printing technology can lower the cost and reduce the waste used in manufacturing. Additive manufacturing is a cost-efficient and accurate process that rapidly produces components by layering materials such as plastic or metal to create a final structure. 3D printing is more resource-efficient due to the layering process, as there is minimal material wastage when compared to traditional manufacturing methods, such as milling. This process also improves production rate as prototypes can be designed and reworked using software, reducing waste in materials, time and labour. Removing the constraints of a traditional supply chain enables manufacturers to create higher

quality products without lengthy prototyping and waste products. 3D printing benefits smaller scale production as the quicker processes optimise small scale production of intricate parts that usually require specialised tools. 3D printing can also reduce the amount of lost energy from transporting materials as manufacturers can produce parts near to their final location, cutting out the lengthy process of shipping and assembling parts. This method of production also uses materials that are easily recyclable, meaning manufacturers can use the materials from defective products again, rather than disposing of them. The search for more ways to promote a circular economy has helped to reduce household waste, with the introduction of five pence plastic bags and fashion made from plastic bottles. Manufacturers, however, can eliminate waste before finding new uses for it by promoting a leaner factory. Automating production lines and administration can drastically reduce the waste primarily in the overproduction, defects and inventory processes that attribute to the seven wastes. v

Jonathan Wilkins Jonathan Wilkins is marketing director at EU Automation. EU Automation stocks and sells new, used, refurbished and obsolete industrial automation spares. Its global network of preferred partner warehouses, and wholly owned distribution centres, enables it to offer a unique service within the automation industry, spanning the entire globe. It provides worldwide express delivery on all products meaning it can supply any part, to any destination, at very short notice. 5

Lean manufacturing



Andy Owen looks at the big benefits of making small improvements around the factory


s the nights draw in and the temperatures start to drop, the last thing on many of our minds is getting lean and trim for the upcoming party season. But with UK productivity statistics being at the lowest level since 2007, businesses need to tighten up their belts. But how difficult is making manufacturing lean and does it have to be as difficult as getting a beach body? Lean manufacturing is based around the Japanese principle of eliminating waste or muda within a manufacturing system. This waste can take various forms, whether it's waste created through overburden or waste created through an unevenness in workloads. Waste can also be eliminated by reducing unnecessary motion, reducing the times employees wait around or reducing the unnecessary transport of goods. Both the production line and the supply chain can be improved by implementing lean manufacturing principles. By improving efficiency and streamlining processes, parts are assembled quickly and without waste and parts are subsequently delivered on time to the end user. While companies who implement the principles of lean manufacturing aim to improve efficiency, they will also encounter a series of other side effects. In the same way that taking up a new exercise regime can lead to a clearer mind as well as a flatter stomach, making processes more streamlined can lead to a change in business culture. For example, making processes easier for employees leads to increased productivity and a greater sense of pride in their work. In turn, this leads to an increase in getting products delivered on time, benefitting customer service levels and boosting sales. Despite the clear benefits of using lean manufacturing, it can feel like a step too far for many SMEs. Many operations managers claim that they don’t have the time or budget to implement a whole new system in their factories. However, lean manufacturing doesn’t have to be a big step. The most critical principle of lean


manufacturing is kaizen, or continuous improvement. This means that businesses should strive to make small, incremental, improvements over time. An example of a small improvement is storing parts at waist level. This means the employee reduces wasted motion by not having to move or stretch to get the part. As aforementioned, this also reduces the strain on the worker's body, making them not only quicker at performing the task but also more willing to perform it. Businesses should also reduce non-value added time as part of any lean manufacturing initiative. This reduces the time that employees waste by doing tasks that are unproductive. Business leaders need to consider the time wasted moving parts or equipment around a factory. Instead of waiting for a forklift operator to become free or for a team of people to help them to move an object, MasterMover's electric tugs allow a single pedestrian operator to move a heavy object themselves, reducing any wasted time. Small improvements like these have a substantial impact on the overall productivity of a production line. Just like many of us claim to not have time to exercise, many small businesses say they do not have the time to waste on using a lean manufacturing system. However, just like the Government’s recommendations for exercise,

lean processes can be introduced in short periods of time. An hour a week of tidying a factory and disposing of waste or unused parts lying around the factory can improve the layout of a factory, as well as making the environment more pleasant, improving morale. A survey by the Lean Enterprise Institute showed that the main challenge to implementing lean manufacturing principles is middle management. Some workers may feel threatened by lean manufacturing, fearing that efficiency savings may lead to them losing jobs. However, it is vital that company leaders educate their teams to see past the negative. If the company does not implement continuous improvement, it will stagnate and will never be able to grow, which is more of a threat to jobs. A proven strategy is to devise focus teams who champion lean manufacturing principles. These teams, who are made up of people from different levels in the organisation, are often the spark needed to bring about real change and better engage with their co-workers. Maintenance is the key to continuous improvement. If workers are involved in developing lean manufacturing principles or can see the benefit of it, they will be more likely to independently maintain a productive and efficient working environment. Through their extensive resources, many large companies make lean manufacturing look easy, but many smaller companies are afraid that they do not have the resources to actively push lean manufacturing principles. By taking a few simple steps, companies can become lean and they don’t even require an on-site gym. v

Andy Owen Andy Owen is managing director of electric tug specialist MasterMover. The company produces electric tugs that use hydraulics and traction to take the effort out of moving wheeled loads from 50kg to 120,000 kg. MasterMover supplies to international companies across a number of sectors, including manufacturing.

The most critical principle of lean manufacturing is kaizen, or continuous improvement. This means that businesses should strive to make small, incremental, improvements over time. 7

Electrical safety


Arc flash

All you need to know when it comes to staying safe on-site. By Tony Arnett


hen it comes to industrial safety, all of us understand the importance of wearing a hard hat, protective gloves or steel toe-capped boots. In fact, most employers wouldn’t dream of letting their teams on-site without adequate protection, and workers themselves are more than clued up when it comes to the latest safety requirements. However, the same can’t be said when it comes to the potentially fatal risk posed by Arc Flash – a relatively misunderstood, but extremely common type of electrical explosion facing sectors from utilities to industrial electrical, civil engineering and rail. Most of us in the safety industry are familiar with an Arc – an electric luminous bridge formed in a gap between two electrodes – but its severity and danger is often overlooked. An Arc Flash occurs during a fault, or short circuit condition, which passes through an arc gap, and, can result in devastating results if the correct equipment isn’t being worn. Arc flashes can occur for several reasons, and their frequency is somewhat alarming. From being initiated through accidental contact or equipment that is underrated for the available short circuit current, to contamination or deterioration and corrosion of equipment, these are just a few of the many causes of an arc – making the risks higher than many first think. In a nutshell, an Arc Flash is high risk, high danger and can result in devastating consequences. Expelling large amounts of deadly energy, causing an ionization of the air, an Arc Flash can reach temperatures as high as 20,000 Degrees Celsius. To put this danger into context, an arc flash is hotter than the surface of the sun!

So, what can happen if there’s an Arc Flash? We’ve already established that Arc Flashes can be devastating; however, the scale of destruction really can’t be underestimated – here are some examples of how lethal an Arc Flash strike can be: l The high temperature can set fire to clothing and severely burn human skin in fractions of a second, and at a significant distance from the event



The heat can also result in ignition of any nearby combustible materials l Metal parts near the event can liquefy or vaporise. This will rapidly expand in volume as it changes state from, a solid to vapor, resulting in explosive pressure and soundwaves l The pressure wave can knock workers off balance, ladders or even throw them across the room against walls or other equipment l The sound blast can cause eardrums to rupture resulting in temporary or permanent hearing loss l Molten metal can be sprayed by the blast throughout the vicinity l Solid metal debris and other loose objects, such as tools, can be turned into deadly projectiles by the explosion l The bright flash can result in temporary or permanent blindness

What are the legislations? With such drastic consequences, you would be forgiven for expecting strict legislation to be in place in order to protect the people working in these conditions. Especially given the serious – or in many cases, fatal – consequences of getting it wrong. However, there is little appropriate protective measures to mitigate against it, leaving the UK workforce at often extreme risk. While HSG47 goes some way to address the risks posed by cable strikes, it remains vague and unspecific, with no onus on employers to adequately protect their staff when in the field. In fact, American research concluded that 70 per cent of workplace electrical injuries are caused by an Arc Flash, not just a simple electric shock, yet many people simply do not know this. When the consequences of getting it wrong are so serious, it is important to properly understand this distinction in order to effectively protect your teams – and yourself – from Arc Flash hazards. So, who’s at real risk? Arc Flash hazards occur in many sectors, including utilities, industrial electrical and the petrochemical industries. Safety officers are increasingly aware of the dangers posed by Arc Flash incidents and take advantage of the various forms of protection to guard their teams against exposure.

How should you protect your staff? Unfortunately, there is no way to fully protect yourself from an Arc Flash incident, however, protective clothing can minimise risk and prevent your staff from facing the most fatal of consequences. If worn correctly, Arc Flash protective clothing and equipment can help to prevent serious injury and fatalities. Here are

correct and quality garments, your protection levels will be compromised. In addition, it’s important to consider longevity of the garment – depending on how its manufactured it may lose its effectiveness. Always look for products that feature Arc Flash protective qualities in the thread, as opposed to just a sprayed material, which will lose its impact over time. Awareness raising: Not all Arc Flash protective garments are manufactured equally. Whilst many garments meet minimum standards, it’s important to ensure that the level of protection and quality of garment are sufficient to provide the protection the wearer needs. Choosing to work with a specialist, rather than generalist Arc Flash clothing provider is also incredibly important – when the stakes are this high, is it really worth compromising on safety?

Arc Flash remains a pressing issue, and one that many of the UK workforce aren’t fully educated on. To ensure your workforce is protected from the potentially fatal risks of an Arc Flash, education and prevention are a number one priority. At present, there is a real lack of awareness when it comes to Arc Flash dangers and with limited guidance from the Government, it is our responsibility as an industry to champion work place safety. When lives are at stake, it’s essential that you invest in high quality and specialist expertise to ensure safety remains a number one priority. l


some key considerations to implement when auditing safety against Arc Flash: l Prevention is better than the cure: As with all on-site health and safety matters, prevention is the most effective way to stay safe. To ensure the correct measures are taken, education is key. With this in mind, we’d recommend that first and foremost any work force that could be impacted by an Arc Flash incident is trained on how to optimise safety on site – helping to reduce the chances of experiencing an Arc Flash from the offset. l Educating your workforce: If your workforce doesn’t properly understand the dangers posed to them by Arc Flash hazards because it hasn’t been explained properly, then they may not wear the clothing correctly, leaving them vulnerable to the risks of an Arc Flash as a result. Training a workforce is essential to ensuring optimum safety levels on the ground. It’s of paramount importance that those in the field are aware of how to wear their PPE – for example an unzipped jacket won’t provide the sufficient protection, however wearing an Arc Flash vest would – meaning there is flexibility when it comes to selecting product that will both protect and be comfortable to wear. l Specialist garments: Arc Flash protection is found in specialist garments – everything from insulating warm Arc Flash base layers to Arc Flash waterproof jackets and trousers. Enhanced and effective protection comes through wearing layers of protective garments manufactured from inherent fibres and, which feature specific arc flash resilient components. If you don’t have the

For more information on how you can protect your workforce and receive a free Arc PPE consultation, visit

Tony Arnett Tony Arnett is Managing Director at the country’s only Arc Flash specialist, ProGARM. Based in East Yorkshire, ProGARM’s key goal is to provide Flame Resistant safety clothing. The ProGARM UK brand focuses on continual improvement with Arc Flash and Flame Resistant clothing and the company constantly develops the next new concept to protect its customers - the wearers. The fabrics have been developed to be the most comfortable in the market place, while offering the levels of protection required from Heat & Flame, Arc Flash, Static, Welding and Chemical Splash. 9

Managing change

Change for the

better Matt Jenkins discusses managing organisational change effectively


ue to technological leaps in recent years (automation, Artificial Intelligence, IoT), every organisation has had to evaluate its business and operational models to remain competitive. Nowadays change appears to be the only constant and, to ensure long-term success, organisations must possess the ability to respond to issues now and far in the future.

Change isn’t a dirty word Manufacturers are likely familiar with these challenges and, in some cases, have already addressed issues with relatively minor changes – for example, implementing new software or reworking processes. Quite often, however, the whole organisation has to undertake a major conversion project such as refocusing the entire business strategy, digital transformation, new management or even an M&A. Sadly, according to McKinsey, 70 per cent of organisational change projects fail. That statistic is enough to make any seasoned executive or CEO apprehensive, but it is also important to look beyond the percentage. Common reasons behind this distressing failure rate are not thoroughly assessing an organisation’s readiness for change and poor management. Juggling multiple demands and facing unfamiliar situations that require a variety of decisions and responses every day is not easy. Making sense of what is happening at all levels of the organisation therefore becomes crucial. So how can leaders make sense of what is truly happening in their organisation, understand highly complex and ambiguous situations, and make decisions that deliver a successful change process? Leaders must first address tough questions like: l Where are we in our journey?



Does the organisation have what it takes to effectively execute change on a continual basis? l What are the change capabilities? l How do we manage the journey?

Before deploying intricate change processes, business leaders need to first identify the groups of people who will need to change and in what ways they will need to change. In the past, uncovering the answers to these questions would have required an expensive team of external consultants and waiting months for a complex, protracted report that’s more or less accurate but immediately outdated. Nowadays, technology comes to the rescue. In a matter of minutes, leaders can access smart intelligence platforms that foray into the organisation’s core and reveal pertinent information regarding performance, company culture, the company’s strongest assets and areas that need improving if the business is to undergo a successful change project. Essentially, once you gain this clear, precise and holistic understanding of employees, processes, challenges and opportunities you can draw up an effective, tailored change plan.

Communicating the plan It is of paramount importance to gain broad organisational support during all phases of the change project. Your communications plan should outline audiences, message, timing, roles and responsibilities. Just as important is clearly explaining how the change will benefit the organisation and help each department increase its productivity and efficiency. Take into account the cultural differences between departments. This is particularly important within manufacturing as organisations rely on a wide range of roles and each division has unique needs, specific functions and ways of communicating. Therefore, make sure you are not leaving departments out of the loop and find ways that address the inevitable fears and frustrations that come with any type of change. Also worth bearing in mind is the fact that effective communication doesn’t mean email overload. Try using different formats that enable teams to come together and process the required changes more effectively. Just as important is listening to employee needs and pain points. Too often business leaders feel communication is outbound and forget the importance of inbound communication which can truly trigger significant improvements for both the employer and the employee. Another aspect to take into consideration is

that each employee experiences and accepts changes at different speeds. Therefore, senior managers need to adjust their strategy to support people through change and communicate as much as possible every step of the way. Change is a continuous process. Regularly gauge employees’ perceptions and see how change is affecting them and what actions are necessary. In this way, you can ensure the whole team is aligned behind the same values and targets to significantly increase overall organisational performance.

Managing resistance and implementing the change In many cases, business leaders also have to manage resistance to change. Senior executives should try to understand the reasons behind resistance right from the outset – this makes it easier to plan, adjust their change programme accordingly and manage any objections effectively. Next, deploy your strategy, allocate resources and appoint key people to manage the incremental steps towards the desired business outcomes. Keep in mind that the organisation and employees are navigating a transition period during which it’s important to maintain some stability to reduce people’s anxiety. Share the challenges people are facing with the wider team, build trust and work together at eliminating any potential barriers to change. This is an essential step to ensuring any improvements are sustainable. Employees are more likely to adopt changes long-term if they can not only understand the benefits to them, but also appreciate that positive outcomes are providing their colleagues with an improvement as well. Manufacturing organisations have much to gain from organisational change management but just as much to lose. It is vital that any productivity and efficiency gains are truly attainable through the intended change management programme, and that the business is fully prepared to advance towards its goals. Prepare thoroughly, work within your organisation’s limitations and then reap the longterm rewards. v

Matt Jenkins Matt Jenkins is Head of Consulting at Footdown. Footdown is dedicated to challenging the status quo and enabling leaders to drive performance cultures within their organisations. It provides leaders with the quickest and broadest organisational insight available today, enabling them to better understand their organisation in order to achieve dramatically improved business execution. 11

Industry 4.0

Next generation

networks Paul Taylor takes a look at optimising smart factory interoperability


he manufacturing industry is at the dawn of the next industrial paradigm change - Industry 4.0. Key technological enablers such as the Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Big Data are now being deployed in industry, and will have an ongoing impact on the evolution of factory operations. Key enablers of the drive towards smart factories are: l Improved information access from the production process, from a variety of sources including sensors or products as they are being produced and moving along the production line, and throughout the supply chain. l Smart data analysis, which copes with this large amount of information (Big Data) l Direct control and interoperability of the manufacturing machines, alongside autonomous decisions being made by machines Interoperability describes the extent to which systems and devices can exchange data, and interpret that shared data. For two systems to be interoperable, they must be able to exchange data and subsequently present that data such that it can be understood by a user. A time of enormous change for manufacturers, smart factories bring new


challenges as they will be confronted with the issue of how to maximise the opportunities offered by Industry 4.0, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, while at the same time reducing the risks involved in increasing interoperability. Standing on the threshold of Industry 4.0, what is required to reach maturity and reap the full benefits of smart manufacturing? The smart factories of tomorrow will be based on modular architectures, with standardised interfaces and state-of-theart information technology that permit highly flexible, automated plug-and-produce manufacturing. This ongoing digital transformation is driving innovation across a wide range of industries, and both manufacturing and the global regulatory system will face significant challenges as technological developments move towards fully connected, self-organising intelligent factories, where manufacturing devices will autonomously self-optimise. This will trigger significant potential for efficiency improvements, for instance by reducing energy consumption and preventing downtime. Furthermore, industries can utilise smart components to improve asset and supply chain management, enhance quality, and shorten time to market. Advanced sensors are already finding their way into modern manufacturing lines, facilitating informed decision-making. But this is just the beginning, as further innovations will unlock the

full potential of smart component technologies. By combining the strengths of the physical and virtual worlds, cyber-physical systems have the potential to significantly enhance industry performance, facilitate new products and spark innovative business models.

Technology convergence The main cornerstone of Industry 4.0 is the convergence of enterprise IT and operational technology (OT). New generations of complex networks are being created as the boundaries between these two areas, previously largely separate, become increasingly indistinct, and IoT devices and new automation technologies are rapidly introduced. The challenge for machinery end users is to maintain secure functioning of their automated processes, while protecting their networks from unauthorised access or even attack. The smart factories of tomorrow will be based on modular architectures, with standardised interfaces and state-of-theart information technology that permit highly flexible, automated ‘plug and produce’ manufacturing. In the longer term, advances in autonomy and flexibility will drive a shift in the economic principles of production. For example, it will be possible to manufacture small lot sizes cost-efficiently, meeting an increasing demand for customised products.

The road to autonomy Milestones on the road to Industry 4.0 include component attributes such as visibility, transparency, predictability and adaptability. As each development stage represents a discrete business value, manufacturers can profit from a stepwise implementation approach as technologies advance. Today, manufacturing lines depend on human supervision and decision-making to optimise operations. The production devices of tomorrow’s smart factory will have the ability to interpret their environment and autonomously react to it. Technology components can theoretically be combined to form a mature smart factory in the vision of Industry 4.0. However, each manufacturing device enters the production line with its own set of proprietary interfaces. In other words, the components each speak a different language. A new regulatory framework and certification approach will be needed, which supports the smooth and dynamic interoperability among odd components. Industry also needs to facilitate smooth and dynamic interoperability among odd components. The solution is an electronic reproduction – a so-called ‘digital twin’, or ‘administration shell’ of each physical component. The digital twin contains the complete set of parameters of its

physical sibling, as well as adaptive algorithms for decentralised self-optimisation and safety measures. Acting as an intermediary, the digital twin functions as a standardised interface between the smart components, facilitating flawless interoperability and delivering a dynamically reconfigurable system.

Ensuring compliance Currently, industrial automation is a consolidated reality, with approximately 90 per cent of machines in factories being unconnected. These isolated and static systems mean that product safety (functional safety and security) can be comfortably assessed. However, the connected world of Industry 4.0’s smart factories adds a new dimension of complexity in terms of machinery safety challenges. IoT connects people and machines, enabling bidirectional flow of information and real-time decisions. Its diffusion is now accelerating with the reduction in size and price of the sensors, and with the need for the exchange of large amount of data. As we prepare for Industry 4.0, it is therefore vital to consider the shifting landscape of risk. A smart factory will see reduced risk in several areas, such as fewer worker injuries as machines take over hazardous tasks. However, the increasing number of physical and digital interfaces, including interconnected devices

controlled by intelligent dashboards, introduces a new set of vulnerabilities, risks and liability issues. Based on its complexity, a dynamically reconfigurable system requires an integrated approach to safety assessment. These flexible system architectures and self-configuring systems of Industry 4.0 will call for a new, modular method of certification that delivers integrated support for machinery end users as they progress towards Industry 4.0. The key benefit of modular certification is the major cost and time savings it contributes to the operation of adaptive self-configuring Industry 4.0 production systems. The safety and security methodology represents the final crucial requirement necessary to realise the vision of tomorrow’s smart factory. v

Paul Taylor Paul Taylor is Manager for Machinery Safety at TÜV SÜD Product Service. TÜV SÜD Product Service is one of the world’s leading experts in product testing and certification, with 150,000 product certificates in circulation globally. Its Machinery Safety Division is the UK market leader in machinery safety, providing a range of services on a world-wide basis. TÜV SÜD Product Service analyses over 20,000 products each year in Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Americas for manufacturers, importers and retailers. 13

Health & safety

Better safe than


Building a culture of prevention in the workplace. By Mark Ward



SE estimates that in 2015/16, 30.4 million working days were lost in the UK due to work-related illness and workplace injury and in the same year, 621,000 injuries occurred in the workplace, according to the Labour Force Survey. Health and safety in the workplace is paramount to a successful and thriving workforce, but it can often be overlooked when everyone is focused on the task at hand and getting the job done in the quickest way possible. With the above statistics in mind, it is clear workforces have a way to go in changing attitudes towards workplace safety and compliance, and fully integrate this thinking into the foundation of the organisation. To create lasting change, workplace health and safety should be upheld by everyone from front line workers to senior management, and should sit across culture, compliance, risk management and governance. Companies looking to a make a change and truly create a ‘culture of safety’ can focus on the following key drivers: Empower and Encourage: Senior management should empower every member of staff to be part of the solution, and give their own views on how the company can improve, and be honest with any cautions or risks they are aware of. A culture of safety can thrive when everyone looks out for one another and encourages injury selfreporting without judgment or consequence. The end goal is to improve the culture and system as a whole to find the causal factors that led to those injuries or mistakes, which can only be beneficial to all involved. Analyse Safety Risks: Be honest with your organisation’s risk assessment. It’s critical to form a health and safety team that directs all workplace health and safety initiatives; third party workplace health and safety companies can also be a help. There are various assessment, evaluation, and survey tools available to ensure that decisiondriving safety information reaches senior management, however a comprehensive culture of safety is most impactful when it complements an already solid foundation of internal policies and procedures that can, in turn, uphold and reinforce the culture. Invest in Safety: Creating and implementing systems to track and prevent safety concerns is another way to keep on top of safety regulations to keep safety up to scratch. These systems can be technological, such as UL EHS’ PURE platform, which can give total connectivity and visibility into the health, safety, and sustainability of your organisation, and can also be infrastructural, such as simple mechanisms for employees to voice safety concerns and suggestions. Whichever you choose, these systems must engage employees in the safety of their environments and offer them

ways to proactively be a part of improving it. Prioritise Training: Invest in your employees by offering thorough and ongoing training opportunities throughout their time at the organisation. Whilst some may see training as a costly exercise, data shows that a learning-centred approach that transforms knowledge from training into action actually drives bottom-line safety results, including risk reduction and injury/illness/ loss prevention. Develop a Health and Safety Programme: The success of a safety programme has a direct effect on the level of accountability that exists in an organisation, which requires clear communication and the capacity to monitor behaviours and measure results. Top technology solutions support accountability measures with automated scheduling and notifications, scorecards to track leading safety indicators and performance management metrics. However, it is essential that employees are walked through the system upon induction, and understand the importance of their role in utilising these tools to help make the workplace a safer place. Maintain It: Once a culture of safety has been put in place, organisations must reinforce safety messages, stress the importance of the team effort, and regularly evaluate progress to ensure the overall strength of the culture. Check in regularly with employees and management to get their feedback and suggestions for what’s working and what’s not, and encourage any thoughts from them on how it could be improved. This collaborative, team-centred approach will once again reinforce the idea that ‘we’re all in this together’ and contribute to employee buy-in and retention, as a well as a feeling of self-worth at work. It’s Not a Race: Establishing a culture of safety involves a fundamental shift in thinking and behaviour and organisation-wide commitment, which can take time to get right. Whilst it is a big undertaking, it is an investment well worth making, both in your company and your workforce, leading to a massively positive impact on the health of the bottom line and the staff on the ground. v

Mark Ward Mark Ward is General Manager at UL EHS Sustainability. UL EHS Sustainability empowers organisations to protect the well-being of workers, reduce risk, improve productivity, enhance compliance, and drive measurable business improvement through its EHS, occupational health, environmental, supply chain, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility platforms. More than 2000 organisations in over 20 major industries including manufacturing, healthcare, and construction & energy, trust UL’s tools to meet their expanding needs. 15

News in brief France helps stability

Western and Central Europe’s contribution to global supply chain risk fell in Q2 2017 to 29.94%, compared with 30.14% in Q1, according to the CIPS Risk Index, powered by Dun & Bradstreet. The main driver of this fall in risk is France, following Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential elections. The new EU trade deal with Japan is also good news for supply chain risk, however, the outcome of elections in Italy and Austria are unclear. John Glen, CIPS Economist and Director of the Centre for Customised Executive Development at The Cranfield School of Management said: “Overall, the global economy is undergoing a period of change. Although there appears to have been little movement in supply chain risk since last quarter, we could be experiencing the calm before the storm. The re-shaping of global trade, with Brexit and various, long-standing trade agreements such as NAFTA being negotiated, could disrupt supply chain integrity in the future.”

German acquisition

Fadata has acquired Munich-based digital insurance technology specialist, IMPEO, and its subsidiaries. The IMPEO acquisition accelerates Fadata’s market presence in the German-speaking markets, and extends its insurance process platform (INSIS solution) with products and services to help insurers engage successfully with their customers and distribution partners. “Fadata’s strategy is to offer our clients the best insurance software solutions to meet their growing and changing business needs,” commented John Macdonald, CEO, Fadata Group. “IMPEO’s strengths are in their deep understanding of the requirements of the German-speaking markets, in delivering client-focused technology solutions to help insurers market their products, and in the depth of the skills and talent they have to help their customers’ digital journey. IMPEO’s solutions have great synergy with INSIS, our leading insurance process platform, expanding our overall opportunity to be the leading insurance solution vendor in Europe.”


Simplifying machining applications

NUM has released a new software facility for its latest-generation Flexium+ CNC platform that places an advanced tool management system at the disposal of manufacturers operating multiple CNC machine tools. It is especially suitable for complex high-end milling applications, as well as HSM applications in the mould & die market. According to Werner Heimpel, NUM’s Product Manager for HMI and Software Tools: “Manufacturers operating multiple CNC machine tools are often forced to devote significant resources to tool management. NUM’s new system can help them to save considerable engineering costs in the long term.” Offering a raft of benefits, NUM’s new tool management system is very easy to use and requires no special software tools. Users simply employ NUM’s Flexium Tools software to extend the scope of their project to the database server. A full set of API functions is included to implement all necessary tool operations, together with a number of dedicated functions in NCK firmware. The system also includes different logical HMI list pages for spindle and magazine view, tool view and tool data table, enabling users to visualise the complete content of tool information and current status.

Unprecedented growth Over the last five years, Sony UK Technology Centre (Sony UK TEC)’s Pencoed-based facility has seen staff numbers leap by 200 taking its team of local employees to 540. The growth in staff numbers, which has been a huge boost to the local economy, has coincided with a production milestone at the award-winning factory, with Sony UK TEC manufacturing the best-selling British computer of all time. In July, the facility celebrated reaching the ten million Raspberry Pi manufacturing milestone after only five years. Sony UK TEC has played an instrumental role in the journey of the Raspberry Pi, the third best-selling general purpose computer of all time globally. Raspberry Pi was originally manufactured in China, but founder Eben Upton moved production to Sony UK TEC in 2012 due to the facilities’ capacity and innovative automated processes. The facility was first approached to make 10,000 of the low-cost, credit card-sized computers annually. However, demand quickly soared and production rapidly grew with numbers reaching five million in just two years and now, at peak capacity Sony UK TEC can make up to 100,000 Pis per week. Sony UK TEC Managing Director Steve Dalton OBE commented: “Our growth has been intrinsically linked to the success of the Raspberry Pi and we are delighted to reach the 10m manufacturing milestone. This is a significant achievement for everyone involved in its production, especially our devoted Sony Team, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and distributors Premier Farnell. It is also a significant achievement for the Welsh manufacturing sector to have an internationally successful, high volume, low-cost electronic product manufactured right here in Wales.”

manufacturing news Manufacturing and Brexit

The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) has produced a report on the current and possible impacts of Brexit on supply chains in the UK, Europe and the Rest of the World based on the views of the global procurement community. The manufacturing sector was one of the top responders. The survey asked a series of questions from the number of tiers in manufacturing supply chains to the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and what businesses were doing to prepare for the exit. The survey results included responses from SMEs, corporates and in a range of sectors such as banking, retail and manufacturing. The overall results It was clear that in the UK and the EU, businesses were preparing to sever supply chains, at least in part: · 32% of UK businesses using EU suppliers are looking for British replacements · Nearly half (46%) of European businesses expect to reduce the number of UK suppliers · 36% will be beating down supplier prices · The biggest hurdle in trade talks is the UK’s “weak negotiating position” · Risk analysis is a high priority as 44% of respondents are performing a risk analysis exercise

Scottish steel revival

The comeback story of Liberty Steel’s Scottish plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge has turned another page with a decision to restart production of a heavy-duty product known as weathering steel; used for structures such as bridges, building facades and landmark pieces of public art. This environmentally tough grade of plate steel had been made at the iconic Lanarkshire steelworks in the past, and when metals and industrials group, Liberty House, bought the mothballed plants last year, management said they were eager to reinstate production of this grade of plate as soon as the opportunity arose. The reintroduction of weathering steel means that, not only will the Dalzell rolling mill, which reopened in September 2016, be busier than before, but there will be increasing use of the neighbouring Clydebridge works at Cambuslang, which provides the extra processing needed to enable this kind of steel to withstand exposure to the elements long term.

The manufacturing sector A range of concerns were affecting the sector but overwhelmingly it was currency fluctuations that were having the biggest impact for 75% of respondents as supply chains became more expensive since the exit announcement. Some businesses were quick to re-negotiate contracts to mitigate their impact and risk (24%) but 29% hadn’t experienced an impact and weren’t expecting one. The number looking for new UK suppliers (37%) may be good news for UK suppliers as manufacturers tried to reduce any possible issues from Europe, or supply chains passing through Europe. Conversely a relatively large number, 27%, were taking the time to strengthen their relationships with their EU suppliers to navigate any storms ahead. A worringly 12% said that as a result of Brexit, they would either cease to exist altogether or part of their operations would stop. With the trend towards more protectionist policies across the world, this will be of concern for countries that need to build up their manufacturing base and strengthen their economies. For more information on the full Brexit report and how it affects the manufacturing sector’s supply chains:

New service launched A free waste management service that aims to get more manufacturing, processing and distribution businesses to recognise the cost and environmental benefits of baling and compacting waste is being launched by phs Wastekit. The service includes a free site survey to review businesses’ current waste management practices, a bespoke consultation to advise on where cost savings can be made and a free trial of a baler or compactor machine, plus training in how to use it. It’s the most comprehensive free audit with no obligation currently on offer in the waste management sector. “It’s surprising how many businesses are still unaware of the huge cost reductions that they can make using a baler or compactor machine,” said Joe Roberts, managing director of phs Wastekit. “Balers and compactors will without exception - save businesses up to 90 per cent of their waste disposal costs, which will have a huge impact on their bottom line.” 17

Focus on: 19 Whittan Group 36 Vantage Power 40 Kitron ASA 43 Mahindra Truck and Bus Division 50 Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd 53 Héroux-Devtek 58 SPI Global Play 60 Jiffy Packaging 63 Specialised Covers Ltd 66 Weckerle Companies 69 Khimaira Ltd 72 ADEY Professional Heating Solutions 75 Sambro International 80 Auto-Sleepers Ltd 83 The Sertec Group Ltd 86 Bigneat Ltd 88 Fabdec 90 Ebac Group Ltd 92 ATG Access 94 Fracino 96 HTS maskinteknikk 98 M Squared Lasers 100 Vanden Global 102 Turkish Aerospace Industries 104 Porvair Filtration Group 106 Bartec Auto ID Limited 108 FFEI Limited 110 Express Bi-folding Doors





Whittan Group

Strength in

numbers Operating through a number of market leading brands, the Whittan Group is the largest manufacturer of steel storage products in the UK, producing innovative, cost effective solutions for a myriad of different industries 19

Whittan Group


or the last 80 years, many of the leading names within the retail, manufacturing, transport, property, construction, local and national government, and professional services industries have shared something in common. Though they may not have been aware of it until now, these names were linked by their individual working relationships with the Whittan Group. The largest manufacturer of steel storage products in the UK, the Whittan Group is a leading supplier of storage solutions across the UK and continental Europe, having grown to the point where it has a workforce of over 1000 colleagues at 18 manufacturing and sales locations in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium,


France, Spain and Germany, processing more than 1000 tonnes of steel each week and generating annual revenues of ÂŁ200 million. Committed to the continuous development and specialisation of the design, manufacture and installation of a wide range of storage equipment, including pallet racking, mezzanine floors, shelving, lockers and associated storage accessories, the Whittan Group has made a number of strategic acquisitions in recent years to complement its core racking, shelving and locker capabilities. These have included brands such as Polypal, Hi Store, Apex Linvar and Probe Lockers. “Our group brands and their respective specialist operations possess the necessary capabilities and exper tise to suppor t every

The Hadley Group

The Hadley Group has been a trusted partner to The Whittan Group for many years. We provide bespoke solutions for project specific applications, whether it be cask rails for whiskey distillery clients, mezzanine floor systems, or any bespoke profile that is developed in-house at Hadley Group Technology, from design and testing through to manufacturing of tooling and finished product. We look forward to further supporting The Whittan Group in the future. 89

Whittan Group

storage solution requirement that our clients may need, be they from a retail, industrial and manufacturing, or transport background,” begins Jon Templeman, the Whittan Group’s Chief Executive Officer. “We understand the ever-increasing demands of customers, multi-channel retailing, increased customisation and other retail challenges that now impact upon the warehouse, as well as front and back of house operations within stores. “From an industrial and manufacturing perspective meanwhile, be it the upgrading of existing facilities or full project management of a new warehouse facility, our experts are able to design, manufacture and install solutions that can suppor t the most sophisticated manufacturing environment. Lastly, from railway operations and bus depots to airports and freight storage requirements, our range of heavy duty storage solutions, including pallet racking, shelving systems and a wide range of lockers are strong enough to meet the demands of heavy use, as well as adhere to British health and safety standards.”

Brand power The Whittan Group is made up of many of the UK’s leading steel storage product brands, each of which operates independently, focusing on its own par ticular product or


Throughout this magazine you will read about innovative systems for order picking and material handling, and in most cases they will make use of mezzanines for expanding storage space and walkways between racking. But what has happened with the floor you rely upon to work and walk on every day? HAS THE INNOVATION OF FLOORBOARDS BEEN FORGOTTEN? BERGHOEF was founded in 1901 as a timber company and noticed in the 1970s that it should specialise on raised flooring only. Today, BERGHOEF is the leading supplier of mezzanine floor boards in Europe, with a production capacity of over 6,000 square metres per day from two production facilities with a 97 metre long, state-of-the-art machinery line. In cooperation with one of BERGHOEF’s major customers, the C-Dur de Luxe board was developed. The board has a melamine facing and a speckled look to prevent dirt from being immediately visible. The C-Dur de Luxe board is still the leading board used throughout Europe in most major e-retail stores and warehouses. The C-Dur de Luxe board originates from the 1980s and was, and remains, a step forward in comparison to natural top boards. TAKING FLOORBOARDS TO A HIGHER LEVEL! For the food and beverage, automotive, computer, aerospace and all other industries where cleaning is a must, BERGHOEF has developed a floorboard that is durable, repairable, noise absorbing and cleanable, whether it be by hand or cleaning machine. The top of the line is the HEAVY TRAFFIC (HT) board which is the ultimate board when having a long lifetime and cleaning is required. The board also possesses features like R10 slip resistance, a resistance to most chemicals, a Bfl-s1 fire classification and has a static electrical propensity of less than two kilovolts. The HT board has a P6 chipboard base and a two millimetre PVC top which is bonded to the board. It comes cut to size and has a tongue and groove connection on four sides. The PVC top has a very low wear, and can cope with (most of) your material handling equipment.

BERGHOEF was so confident about the quality of this board that it invested in various tests and certificates, such as a durability test with a 150 kilogram weighed plastic wheel, which made over 10,000 cycles without any wear being recorded. Furthermore, in the event that you have been able to damage the board, a team of repair specialists will be at your service. THE DEVELOPMENT DOESN’T STOP HERE! In light of the latest developments, where moving robotic units are used as order pickers, BERGHOEF has developed an ESD board which does not interfere with the robotics electrical circuit. A machine applied lacquer on the top side of the chipboard, which is as hard as a diamond, was given the same durability test as HT board, which it passed without any wear, making it an extremely cost effective solution for robotics. The company’s range of boards start with a natural top board with a white melamine facing on the underside. The white underside will help you to save on your electricity bill and protect the environment at a very low cost. The Grico de Luxe, safetyboard and C-Dur de Luxe all come with a melamine facing on the top and bottom ,with or without class O foiling, and all have their own specific characteristics when it comes to slip resistance, wear resistance, fire rating and load capacity. BERGHOEF sells its quality flooring through builders, and mezzanine and racking companies. Feel free however to contact BERGHOEF if you are seeking advice on which type of flooring is best suitable for your industry. l 23


Whittan Group

sector. Link51, for instance, is the largest individual supplier of pallet racking, shelving and lockers in the UK. From its three UK sites, Link51 utilises more than 60 years of experience to design, manufacture and install a wealth of standard systems, which can in turn be configured to suit almost any storage requirement. The Hi-Store brand, on the other hand, specialises in multi-tier structures and mezzanine floors, allowing customers, including those working in multi-level warehousing environments, retail stores and even car

showrooms, to create additional value from their existing floor space. Established over 20 years ago, Storage Direct is the group’s multi-channel business, offering both B2B and B2C customers a one-stop-shop for storage products and accessories through a mixture of web, catalogue and telesales. The Storage Direct site also includes the Locker Configurator, this industry-leading configurator for lockers, from the UK’s largest manufacturer, allows customers to easily design lockers to their exact specification through specialist software. Other brands that make up the Whittan Group include Probe, which has been manufacturing lockers and shelving exclusively for the trade sector since 1960 and Linbins, the home of the best picking bins available in the marketplace. Lastly, we have the Apex and Polypal brands. The former is not only responsible for the manufacture and supply of pallet racking, it also acts as the design lead on large warehouse projects, covering full fit out and lead project management. Polypal is the leading brand in the UK when it comes to retail storage solutions, helping businesses to optimise their product displays and providing them with expert teams to reconfigure front and back of store areas. Meanwhile, across Continental Europe, Polypal (Europe) is a leading supplier of warehousing and industrial storage solutions, utilising group products from all of its manufacturing facilities. 25


Whittan Group


Ecolighting has been a proud supplier of quality turn-key energy efficient lighting solutions to Link51 since 2011. Since then the partnership has gone from strength to strength, working together to deliver professional and competitive warehousing lighting solutions to clients across the UK. The results have provided huge energy savings and minimal running costs for the end user. Ecolighting and Link 51 enhance the flexibility of each company respectively, working together on site seamlessly, with customer satisfaction at the heart of all operations. We would like to thank them for their continued co-operation.

Cargo Express

Cargo Express is delighted to have been working in partnership with Whittan since 2000, becoming its lead logistics provider in 2005, providing comprehensive distribution and warehousing solutions, from planning to POD. Working in close partnership, we liase with production control to ensure the cost efficient delivery of products and provide full customer service, with schedulers and material handlers fully integrated into the Whittan operations on multiple UK sites. We look forward to continue supporting Whittan during this new and exciting period of development.

“As the UK’s leading manufacturer of steel storage systems, with a wealth of different brands operating as par t of the wider group, we have a very diverse por tfolio of clients across retail, manufacturing, construction and service organisations,” Jon continues. “We have worked with the who’s who when it comes to Europe’s leading organisations and are committed to suppor ting the network of independent distributors that operate throughout the region, which is a strong market sector in itself.”

Careful consolidation The Whittan Group traces its origins as a manufacturing company back over three quar ters of a century, and in that time, it has perfected ways of designing solutions that create true added value for its customers to benefit from. The business has always possessed a very simple philosophy, which is to ensure that its primary focus has always been on its customers and its colleagues. This philosophy has allowed the business to grow and expand its capabilities and reach over the years, 27


Whittan Group

Troax Group AB

Troax is a global manufacturer of industrial partitioning systems. As the world`s largest steel and mesh panel producer, Troax specialises in machine guarding, and warehouse division and enclosures. Troax provides solutions for all industrial applications, from production lines and automated handling to clean room applications. Troax manufactures in Sweden, UK, Italy, China and the United States. Troax holds stocks locally and has an infrastructure of wholly owned subsidiaries and distributors in all major economies. Operating a rapid quotation and design service, Troax also installs guarding and enclosure solutions that are compliant to international and local norms and standards.

recruiting the very best people in the industry who go on to provide only the very best service to its customers. With its UK facilities strategically located in Telford, Manchester, Chester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes, the group has developed into one of the country’s most impor tant manufacturing businesses. For the most par t, all of its factories work a day shift, allowing it to also retain huge potential to increase output when necessary in order to suppor t its ambitious growth plans. The Whittan Group also operates one of the largest pallet racking factories in Spain. Located in Bilbao, the factory

falls under the Polypal Storage Systems brand, which has been processing steel in the country for more than 100 years, evolving in that time into a key supplier of complete storage systems across multiple sectors. It has also become a major global expor ter, supplying to projects that have been completed in Scandinavia, Mexico, Brazil and Colombo, to name just a few locations. Today, the Whittan Group is under taking an impor tant new phase in its development as it looks to consolidate some of its locations and 29


Whittan Group

Industrious Recruitment

At Industrious Recruitment, it offers a bespoke service to its clients. They recognise that recruitment isn’t always straight-forward. There’s often a tricky scenario, for example demand for a particular skillset can be high, which makes it difficult to find the right people, or you’ve won a big deal and you need to rapidly increase your specialist team. Established in 2013, Industrious Recruitment has built a strong reputation within the manufacturing, commercial and engineering sectors. If you need a few temporary staff to see you through a particularly busy week, or you’re at the stage where you need to work in partnership with an agency to deal with all your recruitment, Industrious Recruitment can help. The team often act as an extension to their client’s HR department, managing a flexible workforce that reflects the changing needs of their business. They run recruitment programmes and specialist, permanent head-hunting campaigns for their clients nationwide.

facilities. “Having conducted a comprehensive review of our operations, it was identified that the group had two underutilised and inefficient racking factories within the UK,” Jon explains. “As a result of these findings we made a strategic decision to invest in the Milton Keynes facility in order to allow the business to create the largest pallet racking manufacturing plant in the UK, and one of the largest across Europe. We are committed to, and proud of, our manufacturing capabilities and will continue to invest in our business to ensure we continually improve upon our quality and efficiency standards “The consolidation of the UK racking factories involved a multi-million-pound investment in site infrastructure, machinery

and our colleagues to help us to create this single operating site. Ultimately, this programme of improvements will allow us to be far more competitive when it comes to our production, in what is an ever more competitive environment, whilst also creating what we call a ‘showcase site’ for the group. It all comes back to how we are constantly striving to create an environment that our colleagues can be proud of, while also giving us something that we can use to visually demonstrate our capabilities to our customers. The journey towards this remains ongoing, but this commitment and vision is shared by everyone from our existing and new colleagues to our investors and leadership team.” 31


Whittan Group

Edenhouse Solutions

Driving businesses towards digital transformation, Edenhouse Solutions is a full-service SAP consultancy providing fully-integrated end-toend business solutions, including SAP Hybris Cloud for customer and support services, for both new and existing SAP clients. As one of the most experienced SAP HANA partners in the UK, with expertise gained through multiple HANA projects and now more recently the migration and implementation of S/4HANA, Edenhouse Solutions is a trusted partner to over 350 organisations. A long-term partner of Whittan Group, the UK’s largest manufacturer of steel storage products, it is looking forward to helping deliver Whittan Group’s long term SAP roadmap.

Future proofing As investment across the group’s various businesses continues, it is always reviewing the latest oppor tunities available to it, including any that can ultimately improve upon its operational capabilities. Like many others around it, one of the things it has identified as a potential long-term benefit is the adoption of automation and robotics. “The technological advances in automation in recent years have been huge, with substantial improvements made in both productivity and quality,” Jon enthuses. “These advances, coupled with reduced capital costs, have made the investment case for this new technology far more attractive. “Other recent investments include the introduction of specific design software to help us to better design our racking, shelving and mezzanine solutions, a new group website, a new multi-channel site and an online locker configurator. Fur ther to this we will shor tly be investing in a new group wide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to suppor t the whole of the business, as well as currently being in the process of reviewing additional investments in our manufacturing operation so as to fur ther improve upon our painting and welding capabilities, which will suppor t our ambition to create a state-of-the-ar t manufacturing capability. It is fair to say that

technological advances have made these potential investments far more appealing to us.” To underpin the Whittan Group’s investment in its manufacturing capability, it has recently recruited a Group Manufacturing Director in the form of Rob Zandona. This is a new position, created in the wake of recent acquisitions within the UK and the increased manufacturing ability that it has inherited from said acquisitions. The brief for Rob going forward is to establish and solidify an integrated, group-wide manufacturing capability that is able to support the group’s ambitious growth plans, both in the UK and across Europe. A fur ther characteristic that allows the Whittan Group to stand apart as a manufacturer is that it possesses its own subcontracted installation team. “A key element of the service offering we provide to our customers is the installation of our projects,” Jon adds. “We have taken the important decision to make a fur ther investment and recruit our own ‘in-house’ installation teams within the West Midlands. Their job is to ensure that we provide the highest possible customer service to our clients at all times, and to focus our internal teams on the core values of safety, health, quality and the environment (SHEQ). “We have been par ticularly encouraged that this initiative has been fully suppor ted by 33


Whittan Group


our existing colleagues who have, since day one, shown a key interest in gaining further training and skills to assist with their own personal development. While this remains a relatively new initiative, the early signs are very encouraging indeed and it is likely that we will roll this out across a wider geographical area in the months to come.”

Ahead of the curve The group is always conscious of how impor tant it is that its customers find it easy to deal with it and as such it continues to develop a number of concepts to fulfil this need. “Very often a customer knows exactly what they need and just want to get on with running their own business, as opposed to waiting for suppliers to respond at their own convenience,” Jon describes. “It was with this in mind that we recently launched our on-line locker configuration tool, allowing customers to customise and specify their requirements with little more than just a few clicks of a mouse. We are now in the process of building upon this with the development of our next generation of on-line tools, which will include giving customers the ability to design and order shelving and pallet racking from their

Everyone at the Whittan Group is committed to the journey we are on to create a business that our colleagues are proud to work within

mobile device, before submitting their orders electronically.” Jon and the rest of the Whittan Group team are not complacent to the fact that all businesses currently remain somewhat at the mercy of the prevailing economic climate, one which continues to be influenced by the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union and the inconclusive outcome of the 2017 UK General Election. Never theless, the economic growth being witnessed in Europe, together with the relative weakness of Sterling has opened up the prospects for UK companies to grow through increased expor ts, proving that there are still a number of reasons to remain confident. “To keep ahead of the curve, we need to carry on investing in our physical infrastructure to ensure we are best in class, and we need to keep investing in our colleagues to ensure

that we have the best resources on board,” Jon enthuses. “As a business, we are always searching for the best talent available to help us provide creative solutions for our clients to make us the par tner of choice. “The Whittan Group has enjoyed a strong period of growth over the last two years and we expect this to continue as we develop new customer relationships and new group products. We also believe that there will be fur ther oppor tunities for strategic acquisitions, across both the UK and Europe, should they be seen to be complimentary to the existing group. Everyone at the Whittan Group is committed to the journey we are on to create a business that our colleagues are proud to work within and that has a simple vision to provide creative, cost effective solutions for our clients, and we are proud to have the backing of ambitious investors to help us to deliver this vision.”

Whittan Group

Products: Steel storage products 35

Vantage Power



Having significantly scaled up manufacture of its hybrid retrofit powertrains for bus OEMs, Vantage Power continues to grow the business with the goal of reaching its target of selling 1000 units per year by 2021



ounded by Alexander Schey and Toby Schulz in 2011, Vantage Power manufactures complete hybrid power trains for bus OEMs and as a retrofit solution known as the B320 System for buses already in operation. Using their previous experience in designing and building the longest range electric car, which set a world record in driving it down the longest road in the world – a feat that was filmed by the BBC – both Alex and Toby then launched themselves into the business of electric and hybrid vehicles within the heavy-duty industry. Focusing on buses, which use a huge amount of fuel and are dispropor tionately responsible for harmful emissions in concentrated locations where people live, Vantage Power came up with a solution of developing a hybrid system that can be retrofitted into existing buses. Cutting fuel consumption by 40 per cent and reducing emissions by up to 92 per cent, the systems have remote telemetry as standard and offer live performance data that enables enhanced fleet management, maintenance, fuel economy and emissions. Fur ther benefits from receiving a B320 system include £15,000 saved per year on fuel, a full driveline warranty and a lifetime battery warranty; passengers also benefit from increased comfor t due to reduced noise and vibration. Fur thermore, the system allows zero emissions engine off mode for up to four kilometres and utilises technology and components that are proven in the bus industry. When previously featured in Manufacturing Today Europe in October 2016, the company was celebrating the completion of the prototyping phase, with the first units ordered from a number of the largest bus operators in the UK. Since then, Vantage Power has completed the production of its first batch of units, as Alex Schey, Co-Founder and CEO of Vantage Power comments: “The most interesting development over the last 12 months is our progression from building a few prototypes to putting in place a manufacturing system; this was an immense challenge that was possibly underestimated. “There are things you can only learn by going through a manufacturing process as opposed to the build of prototypes. Instead of developing a technology and making changes as and when we need to, such as testing it, finding out it doesn’t work and building and testing again, we were putting in place standard operating procedures as to how to manufacture an assembly over and over again. We were also working with people on the shop floor to ensure manufacturing was correct and had to ensure quality control, not only on the finished ar ticle but incoming goods inspection. To fur ther complicate things, we were doing a slight iteration on previous units so we were not only manufacturing a whole batch,

Fablink UK

but also manufacturing an improved version of our system that had never been manufactured before.” Following these manufacturing developments, Vantage Power generated a document on lessons learnt, par ticularly with regards to the

difference between creating prototypes and manufacturing a product in bulk, as Alexander notes: “There were some assemblies designed that looked great on CAD and worked well as a one-off, but when it came to manufacturing more thought could have gone into how to lift

As a well-established 1st tier supplier of pressings, welded assemblies and complex assembled products, Fablink is well placed to support an OEM’s requirements, both in terms of development activities as well as ongoing production needs thereafter. Customers are able to use dedicated project office and development/build space at the group’s technical centre, based in Brixworth, Northamptonshire. A strong engineering team, coupled with a comprehensive supply chain management capability, ensures a thorough and focused NPI process, using core APQP principles. The group’s significant manufacturing footprint can then be tailored to create the optimal value chain required to deliver products to agreed QCDLM levels. 37

Embrace next-generation IT innovations with confidence

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No wonder so many forward-thinking manufacturers rely on Infor solutions: • 19 of top 20 aerospace companies

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Vantage Power

this equipment, move it around the shop floor or what packaging was required. This was a huge learning experience for us and next time we will be much faster.” Despite the teething problems surrounding first time manufacturing, the response to Vantage Power’s products has been positive, with the company selling its technology to a new bus manufacturer and gaining interest from companies taking a step away from diesel. “The backlash over diesel has accelerated over the last six months, with the Mayor of London committed to all buses having zero emissions by 2037 and cars and vehicles in the capital emitting zero emissions by 2050. This change has resulted in companies that are exclusively dependent on diesel looking for complementary technologies that will take them from diesel through to a hybrid or electric solution,” says Alex. “This trend is something that will be valuable to us as it is entirely feasible that the diesel market will be a fraction of the size it is now in ten years time. With this in mind these companies will be thinking about investing in new technologies


Vantage Power takes cloud on the road with Infor

as well as teams to bring this technology to the market and we are attractive to these companies.” Moving forward, the company will focus on increasing sales and maturing its technology with the goal of gaining increased interest and demand from the market in both the UK and beyond. “With foreign sales already on the near horizon, we feel expor ting could potentially go a long way for us once the market opens up and we develop a foothold. The oppor tunities are there but they aren’t without their challenges,” says Alex. “Over the coming years we will continue developing technologies that radically reduce emissions from buses; this is impor tant because these emissions are killing people as we speak, with 3.3 million deaths caused by air quality

issues. In five years time I see us making a volume of units that will make a tangible difference to air quality in a number of cities. This isn’t something a company like ours can do alone, so we will also be looking to partner with complementary organisations so we can achieve our ambition of decarbonising transpor tation and reducing NOx emissions,” he concludes.

Vantage Power Products: Hybrid powertrains and hybrid retrofit systems

Disruptive leader in retrofit hybrid engines, Vantage Power (VP) has successfully deployed Infor CloudSuite™ Industrial in just five months. Implemented by Infor partner Inforlogic, the cloudbased ERP application is expected to improve visibility throughout the supply chain, enhancing procurement as VP enters a stage of aggressive growth. Infor CloudSuite Industrial is also expected to improve financial reporting and enable off site access to critical production and financial information. Based in West London, VP manufactures complete hybrid powertrains that are retrofitted to buses already on the road. By adding remote telemetry capabilities to the hybrid engine, it offers customers a combination of live performance data to enable enhanced fleet management and maintenance, as well as better fuel economy and reduced emissions. Following a three-year period of intensive research and development, VP now sells its engines commercially and, as a result, has entered a period of rapid growth. Infor CloudSuite Industrial was chosen because of the strong manufacturing functionality of the application and the expertise demonstrated by both Infor and Inforlogic. VP took the decision to look solely at cloud-based applications. This was based on the ease of management offered by cloud technology, in particular that cloud would mean VP was always on the latest versions of the software, and that Infor would ensure security and reliable off-site access to the application. 39

Kitron ASA

Tailor-made Specialising in the contract manufacturing of goods with electronic content, Kitron helps customers benefit from greater flexibility, costefficiency, innovation and accuracy across the entire value chain


he origins of Kitron date back to the 1960s with the establishment of Stratronic and Electronic Bureau in Arendal. During the 1980s, Kitron’s business idea developed into contract manufacturing of electronics and went onto extend further, with the entire value chain surrounding the manufacturing and assembly of electrical products. Listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 1997, Kitron strengthened its market position and competence through a number of mergers and acquisitions over the years and has since become one of Scandinavia’s leading EMS companies.


solutions “Today we have a global presence, with operations in six countries spread over three continents; a workforce of 1350 personnel and a turnover that is expected to land between NOK 2150 million and NOK 2350 million in 2017. Furthermore, in December 2016 we became one of 57 companies listed on the Oslo Bors Benchmark Index – OSEBX,” says Israel Losada Salvador, COO at Kitron Group. Headquartered in Asker, the company’s core areas of expertise are in the defence and aerospace sectors as well as energy and telecoms, industry, medical devices and offshore and marine. “We are specialised in delivering solutions for companies that operate within market sectors demanding highly reliable products,” says Tommy P Storstein, VP Sales and Marketing at Kitron Group. He adds: “Our customers outsource to Kitron as we can deliver improved flexibility, cost efficiency and innovation power throughout the entire value chain. To give some examples, we make sure that our customers choose the right

components, at the right price, from the right manufacturer to ensure availability throughout the entire planned life-cycle of the product. We also optimise the product design to safeguard manufacturing efficiency by providing prototypes, which means the product complies with its intended use and all applicable regulations. Last but not least, we test the product to make sure it will not fail under operation.” Customers also benefit from Kitron’s global footprint, which includes operations in Norway, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania, China and the US; this presence provides strong coverage of Europe, Asia and North America and thus ensures the company can offer cost-efficient manufacturing and distribution models that enable customers to hit the time-to-market window for their products. “Thanks to our capabilities and strengths, customers such as Lockheed Martin and SAAB have outsourced to us to manufacture electronic modules for the F-35 and JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets, and GE has decided to let us manufacture its ultrasound

machines,” highlights Tommy. “Other proud references I can mention include respiratory machines for Getinge, electronic control units for Bombardier trains, control units for ABB robots and separation boosters to NAMMO for the Ariane space rockets.” To stay ahead of the competition, Kitron has invested more than NOK 230 million in its factories, as Israel notes: “We have expanded and upgraded our factory in Lithuania and built new factories in Norway and Sweden. On top of this, we have invested heavily in automation for all of our sites as well as manufacturing equipment such as five new surface-mount technology (SMT) lines.” With these investments in place, Kitron has increased operational efficiency and its capacity to support planned growth; it has also decreased operational cost, as Israel continues: “One example of this is that we have built a new ‘green building’ in Sweden in accordance with future needs and available technology; this has resulted in an increase in capacity for this site by 50 per cent while at the same time reduced the opex by 30 per cent.” Aware that ongoing success is down to understanding the true needs of customers

and the ability to adapt in a manner that will add value, Kitron gains insight into each client’s specific intentions as well as the business conditions they operate within. “At the same time, you need to have a deep application knowledge of the customer’s products and processes in place to be able to add value beyond manufacturing. Only then will you be able to grow the business through horizontal and vertical integration,” comments Tommy. Further strengthening the company’s ability to meet the needs of customers is its development of an operational excellence plan, which is based on having a clear strategy, accountability and real time business intelligence. “Combining this

TMS Precision

TMS Precision has been a trusted partner to Kitron Group since 2012, becoming its leading vendor in high precision and complex machining parts and assemblies. TMS provides the full solution for the machining parts, including design, prototype, manufacture, coating, assemblies, packing and shipping. TMS management has worked with Europe customers for many years and are very professional in understanding English revision drawings and the potential requirement to adhere to different internal standards. TMS is a Chinese manufacturer, but the quality and service is similar to European suppliers. Customers are happy to work with TMS and it would like to expand its business into more production areas. 41

Kitron ASA

NCAB Group

NCAB Group is a leading global producer of printed circuit boards (PCBs). Its mission is to produce PCBs in the most sustainable way for demanding customers, on time with zero defects and at the lowest total cost. NCAB calls its production method ‘integrated PCB production’, which in practice means that it takes full responsibility for the entire PCB delivery process, and works closely with both customers and factories. The NCAB Group is a truly global organisation, with offices all over Europe, the United States and China, and it works according to its company values: Quality first, strong relationships and full responsibility.


with state-of-the-art equipment and systems ensures that we deliver a flawless product in timely fashion at the best possible cost for the customer,” highlights Israel. “This strong focus on offering services that will add value for our customers in combination with our operational excellence programme has given us noticeable results,” Israel continues. “Despite a general decline in the oil & gas market, which has impacted Kitron with more than NOK 200 million reduction since 2014, we have been able to generate growth on both the top line and profit for the last 14 consecutive quarters. In fact, the last financial report showed a staggering 15.2 per cent growth in revenue and 37.5 per cent growth in EBIT profit for the second quarter of 2017 in comparison to the same period in 2016.” As the business conditions for the EMS industry continue to evolve, so too will Kitron’s diverse range of customers and the company’s ongoing understanding of their developing needs. “This means that what our customers are appreciating as of today, it will be expected and taken for granted tomorrow. An example of this is expectations for yearly price reductions,

which offers opportunities for companies like Kitron as we have the ability to adapt to new requirements and have processes in place for continuous improvements,” says Tommy. “Hence, adding value for our customers will add value for Kitron and our shareholders. The share price development of Kitron is solid proof that we have been able to deliver according to our commitments to the market, with the share price increasing by 418 per cent since 31st December 2014!” With a strategic agenda in place, Kitron is in an enviable position as it seeks to accelerate organic growth further, develop operational improvements and seek out targeted mergers and acquisitions. “We have clear and credible targets set for each area, which we have consistently met and even exceeded in some areas,” concludes Israel.

Kitron ASA

Products: Manufacturer of electronic goods

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd

Mahindra Truck and Bus Division


performance Boasting an entire line of integrated trucking and bus solutions, Mahindra Truck and Bus Division is working to embrace the significant changes that are ongoing within the Indian automotive and manufacturing industries in order to strengthen its already enviable reputation 43

Mahindra Truck and Bus Division

KLT Automotive & Tubular Products Ltd. A part of KLT Group, which has its key assets invested in the fast-growing Indian automotive sector, KLT Automotive & Tubular Products Ltd is the market leader in India in the manufacture and supply of automotive chassis to OEMs. Commanding a 40 per cent market share in the outsourced chassis manufacturing market, KLT Automotive Ltd has strong, historic relationships with marquee clients including M&M, Tata Motors, General Motors, Daimler, Volvo Eicher, Man Trucks and Ford South Africa. KLT Automotive possesses state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in five locations in India – Palghar, Urse, Halol, Rudrapur and Thiruvallur – and one in Babelegi, South Africa. From these facilities, it manufacturers a range of products including chassis, Tipper Body, Load body and Tubes, chassis frames for MUVs and Pick Ups, and chassis frames with hydroformed parts, load body, Tipper body & Tubes. As the largest supplier of chassis assemblies to premier domestic and foreign OEMs, KLT Automotive is best positioned to capitalise on the growing trend among automotive OEMs to outsource chassis manufacturing. With its handson management team, together with technical know-how that has been gained through more than 15 years of industry experience, KLT Automotive has the capabilities needed to manufacture tubular, ladder type and C-in-C chassis assemblies & Hydro-formed long member chassis assemblies. The only company in India to boast roll-forming technologies for chassis long members, KLT Automotive also has the ability to manufacture hydroformed tubes, a process technology shown to be superior to welding as it significantly reduces manufacturing costs, as well as the weight of the end product.


dopting the name Mahindra & Mahindra Limited (M&M) in 1948, three years after it was first established, this multinational automobile manufacturing corporation, headquar tered in Mumbai, is one of the largest vehicle producers in India. Part of the Mahindra Group, a $19 billion group operating in many of the world’s most impor tant industries, M&M has several business units itself, each focused on a different automotive segment. “Mahindra Truck and Bus Division was formed in 2005, originally as a joint venture between M&M and Navistar International,” begins Dr. Venkat Srinivas, Senior Vice President, Principle Chief Engineer and Head of Product Development at Mahindra Truck and Bus Division. “Having demerged in 2013, the division has since gone on to develop product lines in both the truck and bus segments, with vehicles ranging from 3.5 to 9 tonnes GVW in Light Commercial Vehicle, 25 to 49 tonnes GVW/GCW in Heavy Commercial vehicles, and Regular as well as School Buses with seating capacity between 15 to 55 people.” 45

Mutual Industries Ltd Mutual Industries Ltd (MIL) has evolved over the past three decades to become a custom engineered plastic parts and system supplier to automotive customers like Mahindra & Mahindra. In this time MIL has managed to become recognised as a key supporting partner of it’s customers globally due to it’s technologically advanced and environment friendly processes. Continuous improvement and a thirst to deliver innovative and technologically updated solutions were the drivers that led MIL to incorporate the in-house processes of the design and development of plastic moulding tools, moulding process technologies of injection and thermoforming. The finishing technologies of aqua printing, three dimensional overlay methods and an autonomous robotic paint shop complete its product basket. Supported by its four plants, and with processes that match global quality standards, MIL is the first choice for innovation in the field of plastic component development.


Mahindra Truck and Bus Division

By creating trucks that are designed for several different applications, from transit mixers and bulkers, to car carriers and refrigerated containers, the division provides an entire line of integrated trucking solutions, suppor ted fur ther by proven reliability and quick manufacturing turnarounds. Its HCV range has been engineered specifically to meet the requirements of its customers in the Indian market, and in meeting the varying needs of passenger transpor t, cargo and specialised load applications the division has reached a point where today more than 28,000 of its HCV trucks are on India’s roads. Meanwhile, in the LCV market segment the division holds a market share of 9.8 per cent, a positon it is set to fur ther strengthen as it looks to add considerably to the 150,000 LCV vehicles already produced. Mahindra Truck and Bus Division’s new range of heavy commercial vehicles are being manufactured at its new green field plant in Chakan, which itself spans over 700 acres. Its entire range of LCV load vehicles and buses on the other hand are manufactured at its

facility in Zaheerabad. Both ranges are further suppor ted by a rapidly expanding after sales service and spares network which operates across 84 dealerships, 120+ authorised service centres, 2900 roadside assistance points and 2069 spares retail outlets. “Our Chakan plant possesses a fully sustainable manufacturing setup,” Venkat states. “For one thing, it is what we refer to as a ‘zero-water requirement’ plant, where we have a lot of drain water harvesting taking place to make the plant completely self-sufficient when it comes to its water needs. It is a relatively new facility, inaugurated in the last few years, and will form the basis for all future facilities when it comes to its sustainability. This way of thinking owes a lot to the Mahindra Rise philosophy that exists throughout the group, which centres around the core theme of creating a successful, sustainable, responsible business for all. Inside, its production facilities are all state-of-the-ar t, automated and fully functional so as to achieve maximum efficiency, reduce waste and ensure first-class performance. Our production lines are also 47

ALP Nishikawa Co. Pvt. Ltd.(ANCO) ANCO is a joint venture between ALP Group and Nishikawa Rubber Co., Japan. ANCO is India’s leading manufacturer of EPDM/TPE rubber sealing systems and an OEM supplier to all major auto manufacturers. Its product range includes door mounted main seals, body mounted main seals, glass run channels, trunk lid seals, windshield profiles, outer and inner belts, roof ditch seals and hood seals. ANCO is continuously working to bring the latest sealing technologies to India, and to exceed the expectations of its valued customers in quality, cost, development and delivery.


suppor ted by a modern, fully functional trim and chassis line, and an on-site press shop.” India’s manufacturing sector is in something of a period of flux at present, with a number of changes and developments occurring at national level, which are affecting all manner of industries. As Venkat explains, however, these changes have the potential to result in considerable benefits for companies that respond accordingly. “Logistics distribution in

Mahindra Truck and Bus Division

the country has been hampered in several ways in recent years, but moves are definitely being made to alleviate this. On 1st July 2017, the government’s newly announced goods and services tax came into effect, which is designed to tighten the rules governing the transpor tation of goods across state borders. By allowing only those businesses with all the compliant documentation to transport goods in this way we believe it will lead to more efficient movement between states. “At the same time, the government has assured that any future changes in regulations and legislations will be enacted while giving due notice to companies to respond to these. This is par ticularly impor tant considering that the country introduced Bharat stage (BS)-IV earlier this year and has already mandated to bring BS-VI into place by April 2020.” Venkat and the rest of the Mahindra Truck and Bus Division family have some very ambitious plans of their own for the business in the coming years. “We have already announced plans to increase our portfolio of trucks and buses as we look to fill some of the gaps we have identified in the market and in our own offering, and this will pick up pace in the next couple of years,” he describes. “At the same time, we will continue to gear up towards the introduction of BS-VI standards in 2020. “We are also excited about some of the new innovations and technologies being brought to market. For our par t, we recently launched a new telematics platform, DigiSense, for use in our trucks. This technology is going to aid our customers by letting them keep track of their truck, monitoring its performance and allowing them to communicate with us regarding any aler ts of early warnings of failures. Such advances have us excited about what is happening in our industry and we see changes like these, and those relating to regulations and legislation, as not necessarily being challenges, but oppor tunities that we can utilise to take the business forward. While we are conscious not to bite off more than we can chew, we


We have already announced plans to increase our portfolio of trucks and buses as we look to fill some of the gaps we have identified in the market and in our own offering, and this will pick up pace in the next couple of years

have a great degree of optimism for what the future holds and our ability to grow and strengthen the business.”

Mahindra Truck and Bus Division Products: Trucks and buses 49

Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd (MVML)

Influencing Indian

Part of the multinational Mahindra group, Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd (MVML) embodies its parent group’s call to action by challenging the status quo and driving positive change




mbarked on in 1947, and a formidable company today, Mahindra pioneered the first utility vehicle (UV) to the Indian market. Fast forward 70 years and the company remains the country’s leading maker of UVs. Braced by its world-class research and development, engineering and manufacturing facilities, Mahindra today offers unequivocal vehicle solutions, from SUVs to pick-ups and heavy commercial vehicles to electric vehicles. Mahindra has a number of automotive manufacturing sites spread across India, strategically located at places including Mumbai, Zaheerabad, Haridwar, Bangalore, Nasik and MVML Chakan near Pune. Challenging the status quo and driving positive change, Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd (MVML), part of the Mahindra group, encapsulates its parent group’s call to action. Established in 2007, MVML is a 100 per cent

subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive Sector and was conceptualised as the largest automobile manufacturing plant of M&M. It was set up as a symbol of Mahindra’s commitment to world class manufacturing. Spread across a colossal area of 700 acres, MVML has been designed from the ground up in order to bring the best in technology, operational excellence and environmental sustainability. It boosts currently a capacity of 350,000 vehicles per year, and a future-ready expandable module setup. M&M’s Mahindra Truck and Bus division (MTBD) has an entire line of integrated trucking solutions from transit mixers and bulkers to car carriers and refrigerated containers that helps customers profit by giving them the advantage of quick turnaround times and reliability, along with the assurance of Mahindra excellence in every aspect. Its Blazo series of HCVs (produced

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

at its Chakan facility (MVML)) has already reached more than 28,000 trucks on road, within a reasonable period, and clocked over 12 Crore kms. The company offers five years or five Lac Km transferable warranty, which is an industry first and a cost effective AMC. Donning a prideful smile, Vijay Kalra Chief Executive Officer of MVML and Chief of Manufacturing, Operations for Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive Sector begins by saying, “When it comes to our automotive activities in India we are a highly diverse company, able to manufacture a rich portfolio of vehicles. I can say with a great deal of confidence that when it comes to our manufacturing facilities and their capabilities, especially MVML Chakan, they are among the best in the industry. The majority of the vehicles we produce are for the vast market that India is and for export to countries such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Italy, as

well as what we call ‘India-like’ markets - that is Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal etc. “Our Kandivali Plant (Mumbai) is the mother plant with capacity to make 85,000 mini trucks annually along with aggregates like Engine, Transmission, Axle etc. for itself and feeding to other locations. M&M has more than 60 per cent market share for this category of trucks, which shows the strength we command in that sector.” The facility at Nasik is cradle to the Mahindra Scorpio, a four-wheel drive SUV that continues to be much loved by the public, breaking sales records 15 years after it was first introduced. “At present, the state-of-the-art Nasik facility has the capacity to produce close to 210,000 vehicles per year and we intend to introduce two more ‘ground-up’ products over the coming years to it, which we believe will bring us great success in the future,” continues Vijay. Beaming with pride stands the Zaheerabad

facility, home to the popular Jeeto model, which has production capacity of close to 100,000 small commercial vehicles and has helped capture a 50 per cent market share of the small commercial segment. Keeping in mind that its environment is its heritage and a legacy that the company has inherited, M&M’s focus on cleaner modes of transportation compliments its efforts to be an increasingly sustainable manufacturer. The company has ambitious plans to further the success of its Mahindra e2o electric vehicle, manufactured in Bangalore, committing to the development of more electric and electric hybrid models in the years to come. “The efforts we have made in regards to sustainability have gained recognition both in India and abroad,” Vijay enthuses. “Every three years we produce a promise statement which, along with our business, aims to sets out the tone for our 51

Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd (MVML)


Rather than adding additional bricks and mortar infrastructure, we will be investing in ways to greatly improve our capabilities and efficiencies, and this will mean investing considerably in automation


priorities. I am happy to share that our latest promise statement includes a target to achieve a further 25 per cent improvement in water and carbon footprint.” Mahindra has been keen on achieving higher output from the same amount of space, thus keeping a tab on its overall footprint. Elaborating further Vijay says, “Rather than adding additional bricks and mortar infrastructure, we will be investing in ways to greatly improve our capabilities and efficiencies, and this will mean investing considerably in automation.” Reckoned to surpass China as the world’s most populous country by 2022, India remains a land of huge potential for growth according to Vijay. “When I look at most of the developing cities in India, there is still a large percentage of the population who have never owned, or even driven a car, and this remains a massive aspiration for them. We typically find that these people begin with a two-wheeler before progressing to a small car as their personal circumstances allow. Where things differ now is that we are seeing a good number of customers now progressing up the chain for larger vehicles, such as SUVs and so forth. All the while, we remain a strong brand with a hugely loyal customer base, and having achieved positive traction when it comes to sales of SUVs, UV’s, small trucks and light and heavy commercial vehicles, we can also now turn our attention to any gaps in the market that we believe we can fill, such as medium commercial vehicles, which

we intend to add to our portfolio in the near future,” he says. Keeping a ‘Customer is King’ mind-set, Vijay concludes: “We will continue to look at how we can further adopt lean manufacturing methodologies to our processes, making ourselves more flexible and agile so that we can ensure that we are always on hand to offer the right products to the customers, at the right time.” Being cognizant to the infrastructure challenges that come from an ever-growing population, the Indian government has unveiled plans to facilitate the building of as much as 30 kilometres of new road per day. No other country in the world has taken on such an ambitious road network plan and the denouement of greater connectivity between cities will be for all to see. This will undoubtedly spur on a renewed level of demand for transportation options, something that supports Vijay and M&M’s belief that they are at the right place, and on the right path to long-term prosperity.

Mahindra Vehicle Manufacturers Ltd (MVML) Products: Personal, commercial and electric vehicle manufacturers

Geared up for


One of the largest manufacturers of landing gears in the world, Héroux-Devtek is the supplier of choice for a host of blue chip companies in the commercial and military aerospace sectors


aving begun its journey in 1942 as Héroux Machine Parts Limited, 2017 marks the 75th anniversary of the company today known as Héroux-Devtek. Originally specialising in the machine tooling of aircraft components, one of the early milestones of the company was being tasked with the manufacturing of landing gear for the Apollo Lunar Module in the late 1960s. In 1986, Héroux Inc. became a publically traded company and following two decades of targeted acquisitions it took on the name Héroux-Devtek in 2000 following the purchase of Devtek Corporation. “Today we are a leading international company when it comes to the design, development, manufacture, integration, testing, and repair and overhaul of landing gear and actuation systems and components for the aerospace market,” begins Héroux-Devtek UK Managing Director, Gaétan Roy. “With 1400 employees working in our 13 facilities worldwide, we are the third largest landing gear company in the world, supplying both the commercial and military sectors. In addition to this we also manufacture hydraulic systems,

fluid fluid filtration systems, electronic enclosures, heat exchangers and cabinets for suppliers of airborne radar, electro-optic systems and aircraft controls.” In the more recent past, Héroux-Devtek sold its Aerostructure and Industrial Products operations to focus specifically on landing gear, and subsequently acquired the company APPH in the UK, an integrated provider of landing gear and hydraulic systems and assemblies for original equipment manufacturer and aftermarket applications. This development comes at the same time as the announcement that Héroux-Devtek had been awarded the contract to supply the complete landing gear for the Boeing B-777 and B-777X, the largest contract the company has been awarded to date. “From humble beginnings 75 years ago, the company has grown into a key solutions supplier to most of the key industry players in the commercial and military aerospace sectors,” adds Director of Business Development, Hugo Lorrain. “In North America, we do business with the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop 53


Universal Tool & Production Co Ltd (UTP) UTP engineers, manufactures and delivers highly complex components to the most exacting companies in the world, where reliability and durability are critical. Héroux-Devtek demands the finest possible tolerances using exotic, high tensile materials to ensure product reliability in extreme conditions with maximum operational safety and sustainability. As a Héroux-Devtek supplier of choice, UTP is an expert in collaborating with design engineering teams to offer practical manufacturing solutions that meet these challenging demands, delivering outstanding customer service and absolute product integrity. Specialising in lower volume production, prototype and pre-production projects, UTP delivers excellence on budget, on time, every time.

Turnparts Engineering

Established in 1980, Turnparts Engineering Ltd prides itself on a strong reputation for ‘Total Customer Satisfaction’. Accredited to AS9100 Rev C, Turnparts Engineering provides a flexible precision engineering service. Turnparts Engineering has the capability to work in three, four or five axis, all supported by the highest quality standards and equipment. Turnparts Engineering is equally competitive in both small and large batch manufacturing across all disciplines, on both complex and semi complex parts in all materials. Make Turnparts Engineering your supplier of choice.

Héroux-Devtek Gripen Main Landing Gear

Grumman, Sikorsky and Bombardier. In Europe, we are equally proud to be working closely with BAE Systems, Leonardo, Saab, Airbus Helicopters and Dassault, while from a global perspective we work with companies including Embraer in Brazil, HAL in India and KAI in South Korea.” Asked about what it is that gives Héroux-Devtek a competitive edge in the marketplace, Gaétan sees it as being twofold. “First of all, our two joint engineering design and test facilities, located in Canada and the UK, are increasingly making us a partner of choice for the design and qualification of complete landing gear systems. The advantage of having engineering capabilities in two different time zones, serving a different customer portfolio, allows us to be closer to our customers. Moreover, since the tools and technology are the same, we have the opportunity to collaborate between our two engineering offices, allowing us to share the workload and taking advantage of a longer workday, in addition to sharing best practices and lessons learned. “The second aspect is our manufacturing and operational capabilities. Héroux-Devtek grew though acquisitions and for every transaction, the approach has been to create centres of excellence so that each facility can focus on what they are the best at. For example, we are strategically investing in the automation of surface treatment equipment and machining with a flexible machine system (FMS) to foster competitive centres of excellence. We simply buy the best available equipment to efficiently produce the right product in the right facility. “I also believe that our entrepreneurial culture helps us to create a hands-on stimulating workplace. This is a key advantage when we need to operate into a nimble and flexible environment especially for development programmes. “This is why, shortly after the recent UK acquisition, we put in place an operational improvement plan to transform our Runcorn facility into a center of excellence for finishing and assembly of small to medium landing gear. Some significant investment was made with the

Gripen Nose Landing Gear

implementation of a full integrated MRP system, the expansion of the facility and deployment of operational best practices and extensive training. As you can imagine, this did not happen overnight and we are very proud of this transformation. It has been a two-year journey during which our employees, our suppliers and our customers have been very supportive.” Each of the company’s site has a different core capability, split across three different divisions which can operate independently. Each of the three divisions (UK, Canada and USA) has a complete landing gear finishing centre allowing it to carry out all the coordinating activities such as Programme Management and Supply Chain along with the plating of parts, assembly and testing of landing gears. Each centre has its own network of internal machine shop feeding parts to the finishing centres. In a multiple operation environment such as this, senior management oversight is crucial in order to ensure that everything integrates seamlessly, 55

Vincenzo La Gatta S.r.l. Vincenzo La Gatta S.r.l. started its business relationship with Heroux-Devtek in 2013, supplying landing gear subassemblies on Embraer Legacy 500 and Dassault Falcon 5X programmes. Since 2016 the company has been involved in the SAAB GRIPEN NG programme as the supplier of the actuators for the main landing gear and main landing gear doors. These units have been delivered to Heroux-Devtek in a fully dressed and tested configuration, confirming the capability of our company to supply complete systems and positioning Vincenzo La Gatta as a strategic supplier for landing gears and actuators.


and that the company benefits from all the possible synergies and opportunities. Héroux-Devtek’s lean structure allows it to perform efficient periodic programme and operational reviews, and execute its plan inline with its customer’s priorities. In short, the concept the company embraces is the idea of possessing maximum local flexibility and maximum global mobilisation in order to meet one global objective. “Our UK operation has been at the forefront of our global strategy to increase revenues on key platforms,” Hugo states. “Our marketing efforts are aimed at winning additional buildto-print and built-to-spec work in order to balance the business risks and investments. Consequently, we have been very successful at winning new contracts. For example, we have been awarded a design and manufacturing contract by Saab for the their latest Gripen variant, the Gripen E. “We have also been awarded the landing gear design and development for KF-X, in collaboration with our in-country partner Hanwha. This contract allows us to once again

Gaetan Roy, Managing Director, Héroux-Devtek UK

Hugo Lorrain - Business Development and Programme management Director, Héroux-Devtek UK


New Héroux-Devtek facility

demonstrate our technical expertise, whilst developing new business relationships with partners and OEMs in Asia. Finally, we have been awarded a build-to-print programme on the KC-390 for Embraer in Brazil to make virtually all the structural parts on the landing gear. These work packages further confirm our position as a world leader.” Based on the key market statistics, such as traffic forecasting and aircraft demand, Héroux-

Devtek believes it is still in a growth cycle. As design and development programmes make their way through the various steps leading to production ramp-up, the company will generate more revenues from proprietary programmes and also will generate more free cash flow as development costs have mostly been incurred. With its revenue-based balance between the commercial and defence markets, geographic diversification and solid business relationship with many of the world-leading OEMs, Héroux-Devtek is well positioned to capture any business opportunity that may arise. “Héroux-Devtek is dedicated to building a sustainable future with our state-of-the-art facilities, talented employees, and positioning on several leading programs, a growing number of proprietary products and a solid relationship

with global OEMs,” Hugo adds. “Another key element of this strategy consists of growing our sales to proprietary products. Five years ago, such products accounted for about ten per cent of our sales. With the acquisition of APPH at the beginning of 2014, it rose to approximately 25 per cent on a pro forma basis, and in our fiscal 2017 budget it represented about one third of our revenues. “In a nut shell, our focus will be on executing the entry into production and the ramp up of new programmes in order to deliver a C$500 million milestone in fiscal 2021 based on our existing contracts. Our financial strength allows us to remain very active on the acquisition front. We are always looking for acquisitions that would complement current activities while also further enhancing our product portfolio and expertise.”


Products: Landing gear and actuation systems

New facility layout in Runcorn (UK)

Addison Engineering Founded in 1980 and based in the North-West, Addison Engineering moved into a purpose-built facility that was opened by the Prime Minister in 2014. Addison Engineering continues to expand with new prestigious customers and expansion programs in capacity and capability, fully aligned to our customers’ needs. Utilising the latest machine tools and technologies, our highly trained, multi-skilled workforce specialise in the production of high precision, quality manufactured components, assemblies and super finished (no-grinding) components, supplying to Aerospace, Automotive, Military, Mining, Gas and Oil Sectors, throughout the UK and Worldwide, all fully compliant to ISO9001, Aerospace-AS9100 and Pharmaceutical-ISO13485. Addison Engineering’s machining portfolio’s continuing expansion includes state-of-the-art Mazak 5 axis and Doosan VT900 CNC purchased in 2017, various CNC machines, allied with multi-axis, multi spindle horizontal and vertical lathes to support both tier 1&2 Aerospace and Industry Primes. Addison Engineering will actively pursue new partnerships, capacities and capabilities in-line with our customers requirements. 57

SPI Global Play FEC created in underwater theme and concept, Sweden

Glass fiber slide with photo-realistic printing

Success at play Slide in dinosaur theme


art of the Global Leisure Group, worldwide suppliers of play and leisure solutions, SPI Global Play has been at the forefront of the manufacturing and supplying of indoor, outdoor and water adventure play equipment since 1972. With a reputation for quality and innovation, it is Europe’s leading designer and builder of Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) and operates today from 25 different sales offices located around the world.


With design offices in seven different European countries, and production units in the UK, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Slovakia and Sweden, the company is able to deploy installation crews to any location in order to quickly and professionally deploy its equipment. “Every project we take on involves delivering turnkey solutions to our clients,” explains Mikael Wettergren, Chief Executive Officer of SPI Global Play. “When we start working with a client we begin with a concept and together we design the ideal solution for the best end result. “Every solution we create is custom made for our clients, who typically can be separated into two broad categories. The first group are those looking to incorporate our solutions into their existing business space in order to attract a particular type of customer, usually families or teenagers. These customers include fast food chains, such as McDonalds, retailers like IKEA, and can also include hotels and airports. The second category are what we refer to as ‘destination clients’, for example major attraction parks or entertainment centers that people attend, pay an entrance fee and spend the better part of a whole day.” Each client, be it from the retail, food, hospitality or leisure industry, will begin the

Self-confessed ‘play experts’ SPI Global Play strives to meet the future needs of its clients through the development and manufacturing of innovative play solutions

process by presenting SPI Global Play with an ideal end result for their project. From there the company takes the reins, designing and selecting the play items, activities and the look of the FEC in question, before presenting the finished design to the client. “As well as being the market leading manufacturer in our field when it comes to market share,” Mikael continues, “we also consider ourselves to be way ahead of the curve in terms of innovation. “We have several research and development departments at our disposal, two of which are located in the UK, one in Belgium and one in Italy. The two in the UK are focused on the creation of new products, from electronics to play equipment, and the subsequent testing, approval and certification of these. In Belgium, the team specializes in the development of solutions for our fast food and retail clients, creating products that are tougher and more durable in order to stand up to testing environments. Meanwhile, our Italian team works on new concepts for shopping malls, attraction parks and other clients looking to utilize FECs within their business space.” These departments continue to be responsible for numerous ground-breaking concepts and products. Among the most recent to be developed is an adventure golf product

for use in both indoor and outdoor activity centers. A visually beautiful piece of equipment, designed and manufactured in the UK for the entertainment centre company Namco Funscape in Tamworth, it has just recently been installed for immediate use. Another development that the company is very excited about, which took two years to perfect and is a first for the industry, is a newly created technology that makes it possible to merge and print directly onto glass fiber slides. Whereas designs would previously have needed to be painted by hand onto the slides, SPI Global Play’s new technique allows a client to specify the design, pattern and color they wish to see, which is then photo-realistically printed and applied under the glass fiber protection to the slide. This also means that the design is not susceptible to wear and tear, thus reducing maintenance costs. “In terms of market segments, we are seeing particularly high demand coming from our clients within the fast food, retail and attraction park sectors,” Mikael says. “While Europe remains very much our home market, and as such performance here remains strong, we are continuously discovering that our largest sales volumes are coming from clients based in Asia. They have a

very specific requirement for European products and are more than willing to pay for the quality, innovation and safety that our company offers.” Turning to the future and it is clear that SPI Global Play has in place a tough, aggressive plan to achieve growth of between 30 and 40 per cent on an annual basis going forward. “Our goals have definitely been set at a high level, but we are confident in our ability to achieve them,” Mikael states. “We will do so by exploring potential opportunities to merge with other businesses inside our market segment, should the conditions suit, while also pursuing our own organic growth in both established and emerging regions. This will involve identifying potential sites for new production units, as we have most recently done in Slovakia where we are now experimenting with steel and wood production, creating completely new products for our clients to enjoy.”

Adventure golf in Namco Funscape, UK

Mission room with lasers in Cleopatra theming, Norway

SPI Global Play

Services: Manufacturing Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) 59

Jiffy Packaging

Jiffy padded bags


perfection T

Formed in the wake of the creation of the revolutionary Jiffy Padded Bag in 1964, Jiffy Packaging has continued to innovate and influence the postal and packaging market ever since

Laminate range


he days of goods being posted in brown paper tied with string may well be a distant memory, but prior to the mid 1960s this primitive means of delivery, by today’s standards at least, meant that the safe and secure posting of fragile items was the biggest challenge facing individuals and businesses. The answer to this question came in the form of the Jiffy Padded Bag®, manufactured by Jiffy. It was this ground-breaking invention that led to the establishing of Jiffy Packaging Company Ltd. (Jiffy Packaging) in 1964. In the subsequent years, the company would make significant additions to its product range, beginning with a range of embossed, pin-welded paper protective packaging materials, and going on to incorporate closed cell, low density polyethylene foam and bubble lined bags. Most recently, in 2014, the

company was acquired by Italian-based company Airpack S.p.a.. Today, from its UK headquarters in Winsford, Cheshire, the company is responsible for the manufacture of bubble film, bubble lined mailers, Padded Bags®, sheet foam, technical foams, and a range of converted bubble and foam products. “While our quality product offering has remained fairly consistent in recent years, our route to market and the nature of the customer profile has evolved dramatically,” begins Max Weller, Jiffy Packaging’s Managing Director. “If you look back to the 1990s, we were predominantly selling our products to packaging distributors, but since then we have adopted a much more direct approach, forging relationships with large wholesalers, retailers and certain industry sectors on a direct basis. In the meantime, we have also worked hard to capitalise on the rise

Max Weller, Managing Director

in mail order distribution and internet shopping, which have become massive sources of growth for the business.” Ask a person in the street what they associate with the Jiffy name and the first answer you invariably receive is its Padded Bag. To be able to retain this level of recognition for a product that has remained mostly unchanged for more than 50 years is quite the achievement, and one that is not lost on the Jiffy Packaging team. “To be recognised for the quality of our Padded Bag is of course a great thing because it underpins what we do and who we are as a company,” adds Sales and Marketing Director, Fiona MacDougall. “What we are trying to do at the same time is to demonstrate how much more there is to Jiffy Packaging as well.” Jiffy Packaging’s base products are mailers, bubble film and polyethylene foam, but from these it is able to offer multiple, targeted lines possessing different characteristics in order to serve specific markets or customers. “Each of our base products are unique and differ from those of our competitors in their own way,” Max continues. “Our mailers are of course famous in their own right, due to the way we laminate the bubble film to the paper to provide greater strength and puncture resistance. Our bubble products, meanwhile, are co-extruded with a nylon barrier that seals each air pocket, giving longer lasting protection and performance, and offers the benefit of being ‘easy-tear’. Finally, the foam we produce can be made to varying densities depending on the application, again, creating a greater level of performance where it’s needed.” The rise in the level of competition faced by Jiffy Packaging has led to an influx of alternative products into the market. Unfortunately, there are examples of such products that have looked to latch onto Jiffy Packaging’s success, making the protection of its intellectual property

Fiona MacDougall, Sales and Marketing Director

more important than ever. “Over recent years we have seen a gradual increase in people assuming that Jiffy is a generic term to describe a type of product, rather than a trademarked brand,” Fiona reveals. “In response to this, and in order to protect our coveted brand name, we launched a brand protection programme in 2015 to target internet sellers that were,


To be recognised for the quality of our Padded Bag is of course a great thing because it underpins what we do and who we are as a company 61

Jiffy Packaging Foam extruder

either innocently or deliberately, passing off the Jiffy name to market a non-Jiffy product. This programme has been a great success, resulting in a dramatic reduction in the number of products being illegitimately sold under the Jiffy name.” Another area of important focus for the company today, and one which is also of great significance for its customers, surrounds environmental awareness. Leading the way in its efforts is its Earth Aware product, banded and flow wrapped bundles of bubble lined mailers that remove the need for outer corrugated packaging. “Earth Aware is a product that has grown considerably in interest in recent times,” Fiona says. “By being able to band these in bundles of 50 we increase pallet quantities, while the removal of corrugated packaging reduces associated handling costs. This is another example of how we as a company are able to respond to the needs of our customers through the creation of niche solutions.” In May 2017, Jiffy Packaging announced that it had been named in the Business Superbrands listings for 2017. Published annually since 1995, this listing of the UK’s strongest brands is chosen by a council of B2B marketing experts and 2500 individual business professionals. Sitting alongside some of the most significant, well-known and much loved British brands, Jiffy Packaging is understandably keen to build upon this latest accolade. “We have certain growth targets in place for the company, one of which is to establish ourselves as a £30 million business in terms of yearly turnover,” Max concludes. “Airpack recognises that to achieve this requires investment, and this will continue this year as we introduce a new high-speed bubble extruder and new format mailer line to our facility, adding to the new foam extruder that we received in 2015. We will also further our own efforts to target new industry sectors that we identify as being sources of growth for us, be it in construction or manufacturing for example, while continuing to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the retail sector and the online marketplace.”

Jiffy Packaging

Products: Postal and packaging solutions


Specialised Covers Ltd

Covering all


By never settling for anything less than perfect, Specialised Covers has evolved from an idea spawned in a Yorkshire garage into an internationally recognised name in the tailored vehicle cover market


number of companies can claim to have been formed almost by accident, but it is unlikely that many came about in such circumstances as those that led to the bir th of Specialised Covers. Its story begins over 35 years ago, at a time when its founders, Doug and Carole Long, who remain involved with the company on a daily basis, were owners of both a Ferrari and a collection of birds, both of which made their home in the couple’s garage.

Tired of constantly cleaning up after the birds, Carole’s response was to create a car cover from an old decorating sheet. Taking both the car and said cover to a Ferrari owners’ club meeting, Doug was met with multiple requests to make similar covers for other owners, which acted as the catalyst of what was to come. Not long after, Doug and Carole would be approached by a UK Director of BMW who asked if they could make 200 of their car covers for the launch of BMW’s new

Doug and Carole Long 63

Specialised Covers Ltd

five series. With this, and demand continuing to come from elsewhere, the pair stepped into manufacturing car covers on a full-time basis. “Since 1981, Specialised Covers has grown into a family-run, Yorkshire company with more than 60 employees,” explains Managing Director of Specialised Covers, Gavin Hughes. “This dedicated team of car, caravan and motorcycle enthusiasts are at the core of our business, and are the reason why we remain as passionate about protecting and preserving vehicles as we were when we first opened, and why we will always provide the best possible solutions, with a service to match. “Our covers are high quality, bespoke products, and not what you might describe as ‘off the peg’. Every cover is manufactured using a pattern, in the same way a tailor would create a suit. Every customer is invited to leave a Trust Pilot review, and we are delighted that we are continually rated as ‘Excellent’. We produce products for some of the world’s most prestigious vehicle manufacturers, including Audi, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, McLaren, Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover. We also work with several Formula 1 teams and the Bloodhound


SCC Project. We have also produced covers for the Royal family.” All of Specialised Covers’ products are designed and manufactured at its premises in Shipley, West Yorkshire, and are all sewn by hand in its factory. In addition to using traditional tailoring hand cutting methods, it also possesses a state-of-the-ar t digital CNC cutting machine, which cuts most of the non-woven material used. The fabrics that the company uses are produced in Europe, Egypt and India, with many having been developed exclusively for Specialised Covers. “The service we provide is second to none and goes beyond the actual manufacturing of the products themselves,” Gavin continues. “Our team is available via phone and online to answer any questions and provide information that our customers require. As well as having a dedicated, experienced sales office, our design team is on hand to create bespoke patterned products when requested.” In 2016, the company registered an increase in year-on-year turnover of 20 per cent, a fantastic achievement that was, in par t, driven by its expor t business. “We already expor t to

over 30 countries outside of the UK, including several in Europe, the United States, Australia and UAE,” Gavin says. “Up until now, however, we have found ourselves growing organically, through word-of-mouth as opposed to being proactive in these areas. Nevertheless, these are very impor tant marketplaces for us and thus our plan is to look at the best route to market in more detail going forward.” Specialised Covers’ international presence and its domestic facilities are growing in line with its sales and future expectations. “We recently purchased the premises behind us and we are currently in the process of redeveloping this into a custom-made factory, which will be used solely for production,” Gavin reveals. “This will merge into the current factory and result in the doubling of our workspace. By adding these 18,000 square feet of new production space we will be able to offer more capacity to our growing client base, and in turn tender for larger contracts. “We have successfully secured £370,000 wor th of funding from the Textile Growth programme, which was set up to provide grants for projects related to new or improved

Mansam Products

premises, plant, machinery, equipment, energy efficiency, workforce training, research and development, and product creation. That has also been very important to us in terms of facilitating the growth of the business and it will help to create 25 new jobs over the next year, bringing new people on-board at a very exciting time for us.�

Specialised Covers Ltd Products: Protective covering for cars, caravans and motorcycles

Mansam Products is a one-stop wholesale supplier of coated fabrics for resellers or manufacturers of textile products who need waterproof fabrics (bags, covers, tarpaulins, soft play, bouncy castles), vinyls (upholstery), transparent PVC sheeting (e.g. for tent or other soft windows) or waterproof linings. We also supply a wide range of high quality trimmings like zips, webbings, hook and loop tapes, buckles, eyelets, sewing threads, bungee or other cords, elastics, bindings, rings, hooks, reflective or other tapes, and much more. We are celebrating our 70th Anniversary this year and are delighted to have contributed to the success of Specialised Covers over the years. We wish Gavin and his team all the best for the future. 65

Weckerle Companies

A beautiful


Led by its pioneering divisions, Weckerle Machines and Weckerle Cosmetics, Weckerle is a globally successful player within the colour cosmetics industry


riginating in the early 20th century, the global cosmetics market has skyrocketed over the course of the last century, reaching a point where it was judged as being worth as much as $460 billion in 2014. With this figure projected to reach $675 billion by 2020, it is clear that the industry shows no sign of slowing down, thus providing enormous opportunities for the many companies that exist within it. One such player is Weckerle, a successful, global entity within the colour cosmetics sector, that operates across two key business divisions, Weckerle Machines and Weckerle Cosmetics. The former was responsible for the introduction of the world’s first fully automated lipstick


moulding machine, which helped it become the leading manufacturer of filling machines in the early 1970’s. Within ten years its machines were in use across the globe and remain so to this day. Weckerle Cosmetics Eislingen, which took its present form following the acquisition of the production site of Dr. Scheller Cosmetics in 2009, specialises in customised decorative cosmetics, skin care and oral care, which it produces via its three business divisions, Contract Manufacturing, Premium Cosmetics and durodont. The Contract Manufacturing division serves national and international brands within the beauty and healthcare industry with a product range that includes mascara, eye liner, eye shadow, primer, foundation, lip gloss, lipsticks and nail polish, as well as a number of skincare

products, such as moisturisers, hand creams and body lotions. Founded in 1993 as a retail partner for major brands, Premium Cosmetics became a Weckerle Group subsidiary in 2009. Since then it has produced decorative cosmetics and skincare products for discounters, drugstores and fashion labels. Lastly, the durodont brand has been in existence for over 60 years, with the company durodont GmbH being founded by Weckerle in 2009. Its product range includes numerous types of toothpastes, enamel protection products, mouth sprays, polishing pastes and plaque dyes. “What we are able to offer through the wider Weckerle Group makes us particularly unique within our industry,” explains General Manager, Bernhard Starzer. “The history surrounding

International Cosmetics & Beauty Review

Weckerle Machines means that we have excellent connections throughout the entire cosmetics chain. This allows us to more easily introduce our innovative cosmetics products to market, pairing them with our highly sought-after machines to guarantee a universally high level of quality, whatever the product. This quality assurance is provided wherever in the world we are based, whether that be in Europe, the United States, South America or China, where we established an affiliate company in Hangzhou in 2009.” Innovation has always been at the heart of the business and every year the company has looked to bring new ideas and concepts to market. “With our lipstick filling machines, we have gone from offering units with a standard push out mould to incorporating various new technologies, such as blow out moulds and silicon moulds in order to diversify our capabilities and product offering,” states fellow General Manager, Randolf Lehmann-Tolkmitt. “We have also introduced different filling techniques, for example those that allow for lipstick products with several colours and shades incorporated. We have recently added to this further with the development of a triple core function that allows three colours to be mixed into one lipstick. Our aim is to provide the new generation of consumers with the next big trends and products when it comes to lipsticks and cosmetics, which is why you will always find our employees working with new ingredients, new colours and pigments, and effects to create hundreds of new formulations every year.” From a manufacturing perspective, the innovative minds of Weckerle’s employees have also helped create a revolutionary new multistick filling system. Effectively this is a completely new magnetic transportation system, which also incorporates cooling technology to create and package the perfect lipstick. The new system is also not limited to lipsticks in that it can also be adapted to fill mascara and lip gloss products. This is a completely new concept when it comes to filling systems and one with such a superior level of flexibility and efficiency that the company hopes it will become the new norm in the future. An area in which the Weckerle Cosmetics Eislingen business has been making strong headway in recently has been the natural cosmetics segment. The division has more than 20 years of experience in developing products, including organic and vegan lines, certified by the likes of Natrue, BDIH, Ecocert and Cosmos. “We have definitely seen in recent years that customers, especially within Europe, have 67

Weckerle Companies

Randolf Lehmann-Tolkmitt

Bernhard Starzer

become more interested in what goes into the products they use,” Randolf says. “By being able to provide this information, as well as the appropriate certificates from leading figures in the industry, our natural cosmetic products have increased in value to become an increasingly important area of our business.” While cost pressures and increased competition in the market remain challenges for the company, Bernhard and Randolf are buoyed by the fact that business across all of Weckerle’s divisions and units remains strong and sustained. “Being the leading name when it comes to quality and innovation is the primary goal of the company and we will achieve this simply by being better today than we were yesterday, and better tomorrow than we are today,” Bernhard adds. “As part of our plan to further diversify and expand the business, we will continue to increase our efforts within our premium and natural cosmetics, and our private label line,” Randolf concludes. “We see a huge amount of future potential when it comes to private label products and we are ready to bring together our 50-plus years of experience and knowhow to ensure that it becomes a vital part of our business in the years to come.”

Weckerle Companies

Products: Cosmetics and oral care


Khimaira Ltd



Having recently changed shareholders and CEOs, Khimaira Ltd is sitting pretty as a well-reputed manufacturer of high quality, innovative seats and upholstery for buses and coaches, boats, rail vehicles and the aviation industry


ith roots in the automotive industry, Khimaira originally operated as Valmet Automotive’s seat factory before the company decided to outsource the seat manufacturing and sold the factory to Lear Seating in the early 1990s. Following this, a new company, Khimaira, was founded in 1994 by Olli Nurmilo, Pekka Poskiparta, Taisto Lehti and Pertti Pouru; the company has since helped its customers with upholstery components and seat manufacture. Used on land, sea and air, Khimaira’s seats are easily convertible and able to endure the most demanding of conditions. Furthermore, the company’s seats are safe, ergonomic and

comfortable, while also being light-weight and modern. Manufactured in accordance with each customer’s individual requirements, the company’s products are also, when necessary, developed in partnership with the customer, from preliminary design to completion. “Our level of service and commitment to help our customers to achieve their goals is a key contributor to our ongoing success. Our white collars know our production, products and possibilities as well as our customers’ operation; this helps them to offer help in all phases of co-operation, so we really do put effort in to satisfy our customer’s needs as well as their targets that we can then help them to achieve,” says Mikko Poutanen, CEO of Khimaira Ltd. 69

Khimaira Ltd

Major customers of Khimaira include those in the vehicle manufacturing, furniture and defence sectors, as well as those in the rail vehicle and boat sectors, however the company’s bread and butter comes from the coach and buses market, as Mikko comments: “Throughout our history our main customers have been bus and coach manufacturers, tram manufacturers and military vehicle manufacturers, with Khimaira responsible for the manufacture of passenger seats for Volvo buses for more than 20 years. Today our main customer is Scania and 80 per cent of the turnover within our company comes from major bus and coach manufacturers such as Volvo and Scania. At the moment we mainly sell to Europe, which will remain our main market area in the future; we do however also see opportunities in Asia and the US coming up.”


Beginning operations as CEO of Khimaira in 2015 following the acquisition of 32 per cent of shares in the final quarter of 2014, Mikko brought his experience as CEO of a successful process and equipment installation and maintenance firm into the company. “During

my time as CEO of a process and equipment installation firm for the food industry, Khimaira became familiar with my name and contacted me. I decided to join Khimaira as a partner having seen the potential from market research, its history and the processes I saw during visits. Since coming on board we have almost doubled our yearly turnover between 2015 and 2017, with 2016 being a year in which we went through an acquisition process and I became owner of 60 per cent of the company and gained a new partner who owns the remaining 40 per cent. “Following this transaction, we have been undergoing changes such as developing new branding; this will be launched at the Bussworld 2017 Kortrijk trade fair in October, where we will also launch new seat models that are aimed at buses and coaches. These will include technology such as USB chargers, 12V sockets, mobile phone and tablet computer holders, passenger sensors and, most importantly, crash safety based on our own technology.” Key to the company’s growth is its focus

on lean manufacturing, which enables employees to respond quickly to changes or requirements and to deploy these needs onto floor level effectively. “We have built our own manufacturing system and development models to streamline our processes for cost reduction. Our way of working together with customers is very transparent; in co-operation with Khimaira, our customers know how the prices are formed and how we are able to affect these prices together,” says Mikko. Seeking to continue this growth trend, the company has recently become involved in a co-operation agreement with Singaporebased brand AirGo, which has developed a revolutionary seat for the aviation industry. “This co-operation agreement supports our idea of bringing new solutions for the mass transportation industry that would serve the passenger experience better – something we will do by including superior ergonomics that are based on 3D scanning technology. Our common target is also to develop products that produce savings for our customers over

their lifetime, while both companies have assets that we believe will give us advantages when working together,” highlights Mikko. “Seats developed together with AirGo Design will complement our product range by the end of 2017 and the goal for these seats is nothing less than to revolutionise the branch that is transportation passenger seats.” By developing an operational model that has enabled it to cut costs during manufacture, Khimaira is keen to gain a larger market share over the coming years. “We are targeting the global market, while in Europe our vision is undoubtedly to be the market leader in Nordic countries and the most profitable company in this business in Northern Europe,” Mikko concludes.

Khimaira Ltd

Products: Manufacture seat and upholstery solutions


From the centre of Austria, KNEITZ has provided textile interior competence to the automotive and transport industries for many years. Great design value, customer driven services and superior quality are the key targets for this 130-employee strong company. Now a part of the Austrian Getzner Textil group, KNEITZ benefits from new investment power, increased flexibility and customer responsiveness, as well as an accelerated drive towards innovation in manufacturing, processing and design. As a result of this its targeted growth of 40 per cent shall be achieved within the next five years. 71

ADEY Professional Heating Solutions



Recently awarded its second Queen’s Award for innovation, ADEY Professional Heating Solutions’ (ADEY’s) ground-breaking magnetic filtration products protect the central heating systems of its growing list of users



rior to 2003, former British Gas trained installer Chris Adey was enjoying a successful career installing heating systems. While there is no disputing the fact that he took great pride in how he made a living, a theme of his work saw Chris returning home at the end of most days covered in a thick black by-product found within people’s heating systems. It was a comment by one of his customers, suggesting that maybe he invent something to eliminate this by-product, that prompted Chris to begin experimenting with ideas of his own. The result was the creation of the first MagnaClean filter, which introduced magnetic filtration to the heating industry. “Having initially shopped the concept around to some of the more established water treatment providers, Chris ultimately took the decision to set up his own company

around it in 2003,” begins ADEY Professional Heating Solutions (ADEY) Chief Technical Officer, Dr. Neil Watson. “Such a revelation was the MagnaClean filter that within a year Chris had signed his first large scale contract with British Gas, which started installing it around the country. Today we estimate there to be more than four million ADEY products installed in the UK alone, and we are also selling in 26 European markets, with businesses also established in the United States and in China. “The realisation by Chris and his management team of the need to move away from being simply a product manufacturer and becoming what is effectively a one-stop-shop wanting to clean, treat and maintain heating systems was hugely important to our success,” Neil explains. “From what was essentially a business operating out of a garden shed, it has grown into one that announced a turnover of

£37.2 million in 2016, and aims to target £54 million by 2018. This will be achieved through a combination of increased global expansion and the development of our award -winning product portfolio.” In 2016, the management team effected a management buyout of the business with financial backing from LDC. Initially ADEY was very much a product manufacture supplier concentrating on magnetic filters. The incredible growth of the business coincided with its decision to develop a whole range of chemical products that complement the cleaning and treating of heating systems. This essentially transformed ADEY into a solutions provider to the marketplace. “We developed a best practice approach for cleaning and treating heating systems, one which involved some unique, innovative products already within our range,” Neil continues. “This quickly gained traction within the industry, resulting in a number of awards being presented to us, including the H&V News Awards prize for service and maintenance initiative of the year in 2015.” In fact, it was only the day prior to speaking with Neil that he and the team were welcoming the Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter DBE onto their site as she presented ADEY with its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation. “This year we have also won an H&V News Award for commercial product of the year for our DualXP filter,” Neil enthuses. “We are also a finalist in two categories at the Lloyds Bank Business Awards; mid-Market Business of the Year and the Samsung Innovation Award, and also a

finalist in the PWC South West business of the year award, later this year.” The company’s success has very much been built on its ability to create quality, innovative products that have been designed to meet the practical and daily working needs of professional installers. “Chris’ philosophy was always that an engineer was the best person to know whether or not the product they were using was the absolute best in terms of quality,” Neil says. “Today we maintain that quality focus and we have a team of excellent design engineers creating the next wave of filtration products, supported by our commitment towards investing in research and development, to the tune of around £600,000 a year.” With a market share of over 70 per cent of the entire filter market in the UK, the company is very much the leading player in this field. Nevertheless, there are still a number of goals that it wishes to achieve, and much more growth that can be realised. Much of ADEY’s focus at present is directed towards chemical products, a range of innovative solutions available in a sphere where innovation has been lacking in the last few decades. “We have been making chemicals for three years now, gaining good traction in the process by capturing nearly 30 per cent market share within the UK,” Neil adds. “What began with two chemists working from our chemical laboratory in Sittingbourne, Kent, has since grown to a full-time team of seven, with two supporting students.” The Sittingbourne laboratory is also the location of ADEY’s water treatment testing service. The only laboratory service in the UK to be accredited by UKAS, it is supported by a 73

ADEY Professional Heating Solutions

Edgewest Plastics (UK) Ltd

Founded in the mid-1980s, Edgewest Plastics has the respect and appreciation of its now highly impressive customer base. Over the past ten years, Edgewest has formed a very healthy partnership with Adey Professional Heating Solutions aiding with both tooling and component design. State-ofthe-art production facilities with machines ranging from 50 tonnes to 650 tonnes, enable Edgewest to provide a wide range of moulding capabilities. Other activities include assembly and post moulding processes such as pad-printing with the ability to print up to ten colours. Edgewest is ISO 9001 accredited.

portal designed and developed by the company to provide customers with same-day sample results, which is a significant reduction in the seven-to-ten-day time scales offered by most of its competitors. Turning to the years to come, particularly those leading up to 2020, ADEY’s attention is split between achieving both organic growth within the markets that it is already present and geographic expansion. “We definitely see the United States as being a very significant market for us, as well as China, which itself has one of the fastest growing heating markets in the world,” Neil concludes. “Closer to home, we see the future of the heating industry moving into smart technology, what with large installation organisations and major boiler manufacturers looking at more ways to monitor and control heating systems remotely. For our part, we are progressing nicely down a journey towards being able to provide maintenance solutions for the future in the form of products and devices that will be able to alert a heating engineer to what is going on within a heating system and, if necessary, advise how to correct it remotely. This is an area that is quite high up on our agenda as we move forwards.”

ADEY Professional Heating Solutions

Products: Magnetic filters and water treatment


Sambro International

License to thrill

By working closely with licensors and investing heavily in equipment and technology, Sambro International (Sambro) has developed an enviable reputation as an innovative designer and manufacturer of high quality products


eginning operations 20 years ago as a business that acquired end-ofline clearance stock before selling it on to retailers mainly based in the UK and Ireland, Sambro made a strategic decision to become a licensed manufacturer of products in 2005. “We could see the market was changing and decided to switch our attention to manufacturing under license for the likes of HIT Entertainment and HASBRO. We then progressed into working with Disney and Nickelodeon over a period of time,” says Tom Duffy, Managing Director at Sambro International. “Today our customer base is varied due to the fact we operate across retail pyramids and place our clients into a number of different

sectors within them. For example, within the retail pyramid you have the mass market, volume discounters such as Poundworld and B&M, then there is the grocer pyramid, which includes the likes of Tesco and ASDA. We also produce a range of products for toy specialists and midmarket department stores; customers within this pyramid include the likes of Debenhams, Smyths Toys, The Entertainer and Toys ‘R’ Us. This only includes our UK client base, however we have similar retail pyramids in Europe,” he adds. At the heart of Sambro’s success is a dedicated in-house design team and a commitment to innovation, which has helped it achieve accolades such as ‘European Licensee of the Year’ from Disney Consumer Products continued on page 78 75

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A collaborative approach gets the results for a new ERP system Successful IT projects are not just about the tech, it’s a combination of planning, process and people. The NAV People has a proven formula of collaborative teamwork with clients that delivers the right results every time. Working closely with The NAV People, Sambro International upgraded its ERP systems to support its business end to end – from design concept to customer delivery – and to track those all-important sales. The NAV People have grown from 6 employees to 140 in just 8 years!


RP systems are tricky beasts – if handled well they outperform all other company systems, but get it wrong and the business can falter. For companies like Sambro, keeping the plates spinning to marry up design, production and distribution in order to meet sales targets is a tough challenge. Add to that the complex issue of tracking and managing licensing fees, and the difference between profit and loss becomes a task that relies on systems even the strongest IT evangelist might hesitate to take on. So when Sambro faced these challenges and needed to upgrade their ERP systems, they called upon The NAV People to work with them. At the core of any successful ERP solution are integrated systems that can work together seamlessly. But that’s taking a big leap forward to the end results – for The NAV People a successful project means preparation and planning right from the start.

Planning, planning, planning

Minimum disruption, maximum impact Following a successful dry run implemented by the joint teams, where the upgrade was tested against the business requirements, the go-live date was agreed. With all going to plan, there were no last minute panics or problems – so no crazy hours (other than those planned!) or increased costs. In fact, the only weekend working was the scheduled dry run and system live date – purely to smooth the transition for the business operations. The end result is that Sambro’s fully integrated ERP system now supports the business from start to finish. The addition of MobileNAV provides enhanced functionality for its warehousing operations, enabling the tracking of stock movements and closing the loop from production to distribution and sales using the latest handheld technology. As they say, the proof is in the pudding – a joint vision and teamwork (and that includes some downtime) really does get good results.

The team at The NAV People quickly identified that it was important not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Upgrading the ERP systems did not necessitate a clean start, but instead meant identifying with the sharp end of the business what worked and needed to stay. Pre-workshops with the business teams, led by The NAV People team and Sambro’s IT Director, quickly outlined the approach for the way forward. The joint project team identified that Microsoft Dynamics NAV provided just the right toolset to integrate and automate many processes, which would streamline operations and increase business efficiencies.

IT leading the way While The NAV People strongly advocate, and work by, their philosophy of a collaborative approach, it also depends upon strong leadership and commitment from the in-house IT team. For Sambro, the success of the project was not just the solution, but also the result of the drive and acceptance of the agreed process by the current IT Manager (now IT Director). Early buy-in, open discussion and a shared vision of the outcome (and some fun along the way) resulted in a finished project in under three months. From first discussions in September 2016, to completion and go live date in early December (a week earlier than planned), Sambro’s new ERP system was up and running.


The NAV People foster a fun, informal atmosphere in the office… featuring nerf guns to let off steam!

Schofield Advert - 210x297mm with 6mm Bleed.pdf




Interspan Freight Here’s a snippet of what one of our major European customers has to say about us…… We have worked with the Interspan team for five years. They have managed a high proportion of the European Freight mainly down to their competiveness, network partner coverage and the ability to deliver a K.P.I performance of 99100 per cent. They are highly experienced in their sector and work very well within our network of business partners. As a team, Interspan are professional and once in their hands we can trust that our delivery will go to its intended destination on time and in full. As a business we manage by exception and on the occasion that things do not go as planned, Daniel and the team have managed the position swiftly and effectively with a focus on recovering any potential failures ensuring customer S.L.A‘s are adhered to. Communication flow is exceptional and is supported by regular review meetings, and as joint businesses we are always looking at continuous improvement.


2010 and Nickelodeon’s Licensee of the Year in 2017. This expertise enables the company to react quickly to customer requirements, for both licensed and bespoke products, which include toys, stationery, bags and accessories, arts and crafts, homeware, outdoor and fashion items. In terms of brands, the company is currently selling products with the likes of Thor, Avengers, Batman and Disney Princesses emblazoned across them;

these are available to customers from its realtime website, which enables the company to be a one-stop-shop for licensed products where retailers can assemble a cross-category range from thousands of products. “At the moment we have seen huge demand for JoJo Siwa products, which is a project we have been working on with Nickelodeon. With the franchise taking off, we must now ensure

Sambro International

we deliver speed-to-market and maximise out of the upward curve of that license,” says Tom. “However, we have also seen growth in other existing categories thanks to innovation and have also started to work in the arena of plush toys, which involves tapping into new buyers and retail.” Indeed, in 2017 Sambro announced it was to deliver a range of Sesame Workshop licensed items across the UK, Iberia, Benelux, the Nordic countries and CEE after being named the plush toy partner for the iconic Sesame Street brand. Delighted with this partnership, Sambro will be launching a collection of Sesame Street hand puppets to inspire imaginative role play alongside an extensive range of plush toys, from basic soft toys to electronic feature toys, with the goal of increasing the brand’s presence in both the UK and Europe. Having doubled its sales over the three years leading to 2016, the market-leading company was acquired by Elysian Capital in February of 2016. Since then, Sambro has continued to be run by the same management team and maintains the same operations while also benefiting from the financial strength of this partnership. With Elysian Capital behind it, the company will be able to achieve its ambitious growth plans through further organic growth or acquisitions. “When private equity enters a business they do so with a view of selling it,” says Tom. “With this in mind, the company looks at the current structure and identifies where more specialist support is needed. Elysian Capital is also keen to support product development and our own unique IP so it makes money available for that and encourages us to really set the business apart from the competition. The company also saw the work we have been doing in advance of them coming in, in terms of IT systems and moving the business to the next level, and Elysian

Capital continues to support this as it is very keen on us continuing to grow. “We have looked at a number of acquisitions but didn’t feel they were for our business at the time, however Elysian Capital is a keen supporter of organic growth through territorial gains. To strengthen our presence we are opening a showroom and office in Germany and are in the process of opening a facility in the UK,

which will give us greater access to a number of key retailers thanks to its location a mere 20 minute drive away from London. Because some of the challenges we face involve gaining a stronger presence in fast fashion, which is linked to retailers such as Primark and F&F in Tesco, we will soon benefit from having have these companies on our doorstep.” Recently ranked 60 in the eighth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table, the future looks full of opportunity for a company that has already succeeded in gaining a solid reputation and ever-increasing customer base in locations as far as the Middle East. Moving forward, the company’s strategy is clear and simple: to remain a collaborative and open partner that is forward thinking and keen to take on new initiatives.

Sambro International

Products: Manufacture toys, bags, stationery, arts and crafts, and homeware 79

Auto-Sleepers Ltd


awaits Taking great pride in every aspect of building innovative and modern motorhomes, Auto-Sleepers has developed a reputation for excellence in its chosen field


uto-Sleepers Ltd history began in 1961, when the Trevelyan family were searching for a touring holiday with a difference. Using their resources, they built their own motorhome based on a Morris J2 van, which then took them to the South of France for their holidays. Gaining valuable lessons from the prototype, the family incorporated design refinements into a second model, which attracted the attention of Henlys of Bristol. From the first order of five more models, Auto-Sleepers was born and today continues as a family-orientated firm that is staffed by people who are passionate about high quality, premium motorhomes. Based in Willersey in the Cotswolds, the company uses its 54 years of experience to meet the needs of customers who are seeking the very best in British-built motorhomes. Taking great pride in hand-craftsmanship and design expertise, it is clear that a huge deal of time,

care and effort goes into the development of each Auto-Sleepers motorhome; the furniture, fittings and fitments are of the highest quality, with a modern and stylish look that is coupled with innovation. Furthermore, because the company’s designers use and live with its motorhomes, there is an increased understanding of what works to make the best possible use of interior space. Thanks to these strengths, Auto-Sleepers has developed a coveted reputation in the market for producing ‘Motorhomes of Excellence’. “Auto-Sleeper Group is currently owned by the Trigano Group in a shareholding with Geoff Scott and Mike Crouch, the CEO and Managing Director of the group respectively, which also includes the UK’s largest dealer network in Marquis Motorhomes and Caravans, who operate from 12 dealerships nationwide. Marquis Motorhomes and Caravans are not only our biggest customer, but also the biggest

Assembly line


customer for many of our competitors, which sees the group responsible for almost 20 per cent of the new motorhome registrations in the UK,� says Dave Williams, Sales Director at AutoSleepers Ltd. Taking great pride in every aspect from design to build, the company manufactures on the Peugeot Boxer, Mercedes Sprinter and Fiat Ducato chassis to produce aspirational motorhomes and van conversions. Auto-Sleeper vehicles are renowned for peerless refinement, combining class leading specifications with

thermal insulation for year-round use, and engine upgrades as standard specification, plus they strive to meet or even exceed the demands of the premium motorhome market and set the benchmark for others to be measured against. “We are currently working closely with Peugeot to expand into the camper sector with a conversion based on their Traveller chassis, which is due to be launched at the NEC Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show in February 2018. The new camper measures 5.3 metres in length and remains under two

Mercedes Winchcombe lounge

Peugeot Broadway interior 81

Auto-Sleepers Ltd

purchase an Auto-Sleeper product through any of our dealers is welcome to bring their motorhome back to the factory for their annual service checks or any warranty work,” says Dave. By offering an invaluable service and refusing to rest on its laurels when it comes to innovative products and quality, Auto-Sleepers looks set to remain at the forefront of the motorhomes market for many years to come. “We are at our existing capacity, but have plans in place to invest £500,000 during the next 12 months to increase our manufacturing capacity by 20 per cent to meet the increasing demand for our motorhomes. With a desire to keep raising the bar, listening to our customers serves us well and provides solid foundations for sustainable growth,” Dave concludes. iTravel concept vehicle

Auto-Sleepers Ltd

Products: Manufacture and sell motorhomes and van conversions

metres in height, making it perfect to combine as an everyday car during the week whilst being a superb, fully specified camper at the weekend. The market for dual-purpose vehicles is going from strength to strength with Mercedes, Ford and Volkswagen all promoting similar vehicles, so this represents a great opportunity for both Auto-Sleepers and Peugeot,” explains Dave. The level of care that goes into the finest of details and an ongoing focus on responding to market trends are just two of the reasons Auto-Sleepers has enjoyed double digit sales growth for the last five years, as well as receiving a number of awards. Recent notable wins include two ‘Owner Satisfaction Awards’ in 2017, as Dave comments: “The owner satisfaction awards involve the independent surveying of motorhome owners, which are then assessed and collated to identify the winners, making them the most sought after of awards in our industry. We also do well when organisations such as the Caravan and Motorhome Club undertake surveys, with Auto-Sleeper regularly named as a brand their members aspire to own in the future.” In addition to building and designing luxurious motorhomes and van conversions, the company also delivers impeccable aftersales services; this includes replacement parts, caravan servicing, accident repair or mechanical MOTs. “Our service centre further strengthens our unique approach to business as customers who


The Sertec Group Ltd


performace With more than five decades of experience, The Sertec Group has become renowned as a specialist manufacturer of automotive components in aluminium and steel


ounded in 1962 and an engineering business with a focus on the manufacture of press tooling for the automotive industry, The Ser tec Group Ltd (Ser tec) has grown since its inception to represent a major force within the UK manufacturing industry. Key to the company’s success is its ethos of exceeding customer expectation through attitude, determination and hard work, a way of working that began with founder Harry Mosedale approaching the Standard Triumph Motor Company in Liverpool and gaining par t

of a large contract as a trial. Asked to deliver the completed pressed components by the end of the week by the company, Harry returned the very same day. Impressed, the Standard Triumph Motor Company told Harry to return the next day with a van, and thus the first automotive contract was won. With determination, a positive attitude and a drive to work hard in its DNA, Ser tec today is a the largest independently owned manufacturer of its kind in the UK. By focusing on quality manufacturing and maintaining a commitment to excellence in all activities, the group has grown to 1500 employees across its five manufacturing sites and generates sales of more than ÂŁ200 million. Operating from two factories in Coleshill, one in each of Aston, Saltley and Tyseley in Birmingham as well as a tooling business in Guangdong Province, China, the company specialises in the delivery of products that range from stamped components in both steel and aluminium; another major par t of its operations surround the complex assemblies that utilise robotic and manual welding. On top of this, the group employs the latest automatic riveting technologies that are required for aluminium structural assemblies and also supplies tubular assemblies such as exhaust bright trim and wire formed products. 83


The Sertec Group Ltd

With quality and customer satisfaction at the hear t of Ser tec, it is no surprise that the group has gained a notable customer base, complete with world-leading names such as Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Scania, Tenneco, Denso, UYS, Unipar t, Arvin Meritor, TRW, ZF Lemforder and GKN. By working with industry leaders in the automotive sector, Sertec has gained a strong market presence, with products being delivered to markets in China, the US, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Holland, France, Belgium and Brazil. Currently producing more than three million components per week across its five operating sites in Birmingham, the company made the strategic decision in 2016 to secure a £20 million funding package from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) and Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking with the goal of being able to better serve customers and support its management team in its ongoing expansion plans. With this new funding, the group has been able to accelerate its production and expansion plans as a continuation to the heavy investment across all operating centres during 2015. Following the implementation of new robotics, presses and site upgrades, the group went on to complete a brand new £16 million press shop at its Coleshill factory in 2016. This major investment will enable Sertec to suppor t Jaguar Land Rover’s exciting development of new vehicles and also to develop its product range as well as its customer base and international footprint. This deal also complements Sertec’s on-going restructure programme, which includes the founding Mosedale family retiring from the business and a strong executive management

team taking over. With a combined 83 years of experience at the helm, the group is ready to continue Ser tec’s story and push forward to bigger and better developments. One example of these developments is Sertec’s decision to increase its manufacturing footprint with an agreement to lease a brand new logistics facility in close proximity to its head office in May 2016. The new facility enables the group to reallocate its existing storage areas to the production of finished goods and have a standalone distribution centre that suppor ts Ser tec’s plans to improve sales to both existing and potential new customers overseas. Six months after securing the £20 million funding package, the group acquired WILD Automotive, a manufacturer of technical components and assemblies with operations in Birmingham and Redditch, to create a £250 million turnover company. With bases in Hungary and Germany in addition to its operations in the West Midlands, the acquisition of WILD Automotive is viewed as a perfect fit for Ser tec as it will help propel its European expansion plans.

Alongside these investments in facilities and equipment, the group is also investing in the future of its employees with the launch of the Ser tec Learning Academy, which is based at the group’s Wincaster House headquar ters. Covering all aspects of the manufacturing process with regards to the supply of automotive components, not only for new star ters but also for existing employees, the new academy ensures Ser tec can up-skill its workforce and further develop the business. As the restructuring of Sertec continues, the group is in a strong position to push ahead with expansion plans that will strengthen its expor t operations and boost activities in both Europe and fur ther afield.

The Sertec Group Ltd

Products: Specialist manufacturer of components in steel and aluminium for the automotive sector

ZANI ZANI is an Italian manufacturer of mechanical and servo presses. It has delivered presses all around the world since 1960. In the last few years, ZANI has worked hard to create a strong and reliable partnership with Sertec, providing a lineup of 15 new presses, three of which are located in its new facility in Hungary. These presses cover a range starting from 250 to 800 tonnes, 2 or 4 con rods, progressive and transfer. Most of them are equipped with slow down movement of the ram and moving bolsters for easy and fast tool management. 85

Bigneat Ltd



Bigneat’s equipment protects laboratory personnel from airborne hazards as well as offering process/sample protection during laboratory procedures, batch and on-line production processes


ormed in 1972 as a new start up, Bigneat is today firmly established as an award-winning, world-class manufacturer and leading global provider of clean air, hazard containment and safety systems to scientific laboratories and industry. The company’s business strength is based on a capability and expertise built up over many years in the design and manufacture of high performance air movement and air conditioning systems, which use Carbon and HEPA filtration technology for the capture and removal of airborne hazards (both fume and particulate). The business forms part of the larger ‘Bigneat Ltd, Group of Companies’, which comprises Bigneat, Solent Manufacturing and EFCO Furnaces. In its formative years Bigneat manufactured a ‘standard’ specification range of ductless fume cabinets, powder weighing cabinets and laminar flow cabinets, but over the years it evolved its product offering, with bespoke manufacture beginning in 1988. By the mid 1990s significant growth was being seen in the research and development departments of the laboratory automation sector, particularly in drug discovery sciences. Bigneat was also approached by a leading liquid handling company


and asked to develop a range of enclosures to provide containment and process protection for their robotic systems. This led into another new speciality for the organisation. Thanks to a continual evolution and willingness to adapt to the needs of the market, Bigneat now leads the world in containment technology and laboratory safety enclosures. Its range continues to expand, and today it also includes bio-hazard cabinets, MSCs, modular clean rooms, on-line packaging humidity control, PCR workstations, powder weighing hoods and ventilated filtration chemical stores and controlled atmosphere storage. The sectors that come to Bigneat for solutions include biological, chemical, electronics, food, government, nanotechnology, pharmaceutical, photonics, universities, schools and in industry, for QA/research laboratories and sterile production areas. Having developed a number of bespoke projects for blue-chip clients in the manufacturing

space across the world, including a contract with Jaguar Land Rover to produce an enclosure to help measure emissions in its research lab, Bigneat has created a working approach that embraces a true ‘spirit of partnership’. The Jaguar Land Rover project was especially complicated, however Bigneat was able to design an enclosure which fulfilled all the client’s requirements, and its suggestions lead to the concept of converting an existing room into a cleanroom using the make-up air from the same plant that was running the enclosure. This ensured that very fine control of the various compartments would be possible within the cabinet with minimum plant running costs. Bigneat’s Managing Director, Robert Monks, sees a wide range of possibilities for the company following the successful conclusion of this project. He explained that: “The requirements we fulfilled for Jaguar Land Rover are not merely

the requirements of the automotive industry but of many areas of the pharmaceutical industry as well, which is a large part of our business.” He says that his company will be taking the expertise developed with the JLR project and applying it to a wide range of applications in such varied areas as blood and cell culture incubation, micro-economic plant and seed propagation, as well as numerous potential areas across the pharmaceutical industry. It is clear from the example project discussed above that the technical skills of Bigneat’s people and their ability to work closely with customers represents one of the core strengths of the business. In fact, such is the quality of the team at Bigneat that when the company was announced as a winner of a Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2017 – the UK’s highest accolade for business success - Robert was quick to extend his gratitude to his staff and acknowledge their contribution: “I would like to take the opportunity on receiving this most prestigious business award, to personally thank all of our dedicated employees for their hard work, enthusiasm and commitment in driving our business forward,” he said. “It is an absolute honour to be recognised

by Her Majesty the Queen for the success we have achieved over the past few years. As a UK manufacturer, committed to providing industry around the world with technically excellent, safety hoods and enclosures, we pride ourselves on our long-standing heritage and our customerfocused ethos.” The award was given in recognition of Bigneat’s Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales over the past three years. The organisation’s export growth strategy involved examining differing regulatory requirements from domestic and European markets in overseas countries, undergoing assessment as appropriate to satisfy local product certification and establishing new and productive relationships with key distributors in these countries. In the case of the USA, a subsidiary, Bigneat North America, LLC, was set up to provide dedicated after-sales, service and maintenance. Following this acknowledgement of outstanding quality, Robert is confident that the success Bigneat has already seen will continue: “I feel Bigneat’s position, with a broad range of quality products and with excellent overseas distributors, means future growth prospects are very positive,” he stated.

Bigneat Ltd

Products: World-class manufacturer and leading global provider of clean air, hazard containment and safety systems 87




An expert in the manufacture of heating, cooling, storage and processing vessels, Fabdec is benefiting from the continued growth in demand for real ale and specialist beers as well as the recent boom within the UK’s dairy market



ounded in 1960 in Ellesmere, Shropshire, to manufacture refrigerated milk tanks, Fabdec has grown over the years to become the leading developer of stainless steel heat transfer products and dairy management systems for those in the dairy, brewery and heating sectors. Well established in the markets it serves, Fabdec began selling overseas in 1985 following a slow-down in the UK; in order to continue growing, the company looked at opportunities overseas. Seeing a demand for high quality, bespoke manufacturing within the export market, the company went on to grow a strong presence in countries such as Germany, Russia, France, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Africa and Japan. On top of these locations, it has exported to Eastern European countries such as Slovakia, Hungary Belarus and Poland. Following the introduction of a new tank range that fits comfortably into a shipping container, Fabdec has also gained new customers in the US and Israel. With approximately 50 per cent of its business in exports, some of the reasons Fabdec achieved success in these countries stems from market research, the building of local relationships and due diligence on partners, agents and suppliers. However, the most integral part of Fabdec’s

ongoing growth in both the UK and further afield is its portfolio, which is complete with a high quality, diverse range of product technologies for professional milk production, duplex stainless steel water heaters and heat transfer products, and hygienic stainless steel vessels for the brewery industry. With the appetite for craft beers and ales growing over recent years, Fabdec has benefited from a steady increase in brewery sales throughout the first six months of 2017, which have doubled that of the same period in 2016. So far this year, the company has produced stainless steel tanks and vessels for UK based microbreweries such as Aston Manor, Hedgedog, Kite, Wilderness, Spire, Great Orme and Brightside. With both microbreweries, micropubs and Fabdec alike sharing a passion for quality, the company is proud to be trusted in the delivery of these significant investments with the goal of creating distinctive beers. Products within the brewery range include designed and manufactured hygienic stainless steel vessels that are developed to meet individual requirements. When it comes to size, shape, fittings and accessories, Fabdec can accommodate these requests through product engineering and manufacturing facilities. Moreover,

all designs can be modelled in 2D and 3D as well as finite analysis and electrical schematics through the utilisation of the most cutting edge design software. In more detail, this portfolio includes duplex stainless steel, scale resistant, fermentation/ conditioning vessels that boast unique thermaplate technology cooling jackets, conditioning tanks with anti-vacuum/pressure, relief valves and a full CIP system; duplex stainless steel copper wort kettles, with heating options for 1/3 hp electrical/gas burner with immersed coil/ indirect coil for oil or propane, a conical hop seed filter and vent with condensate ring trap. Other products include hot/cold liquor tanks, plate heat exchangers and KOOL-PAK ice builders. Fabdec is also enjoying a boom in the UK’s dairy sector, for which it assists in improving the productivity of the dairy farmer and makes day-to-day operations easier and safer. Products within this range include milk cooling systems, which offer the dairy farmer the ultimate in milk cooling technology and a solution for every stage of the milk cooling process. For example, the DX-FF bulk milk cooling tanks are designed to offer extreme efficiency and outstanding reliability through the utilisation of state-of-the-art technology that ensures the quality of milk is maintained. Other products include the Hi-KOOL vertical milk cooling tank, which offers a further option for milk cooling and storage on the farm, and the Uni-Heat agricultural unvented water heaters that provide hot water on demand for bulk tank washing. Meanwhile, the company’s milk parlour systems improve efficiency and lower operating costs; the modular systems can also be tailored to meet the specific requirements of a farm and to also work alongside existing parlour systems. Also available to customers is a comprehensive range of tank cooling spares and KINGSTON parlour spares that ensure customers find the solution they need, and a portfolio of cow management systems. For the third part of its portfolio, Fabdec has become an established supplier of choice when it comes to stainless steel water heaters and

heat transfer products in the UK. Serving both markets within the UK and around the world, Fabdec has maintained its strong position in this market through ongoing innovation; the most recent example of this is the company’s range of unvented water heaters that use 3S technology or the self-sustaining air-gap system. This includes a patented device, which replenishes the internal expansion in the cylinder automatically without requiring service or recharging. Another notable product in the company’s water heating range is the SMART-HEAT range, which is available from 22 to 2000 litres as a standard range and up to

six condensing units that can be connected to a single SMART-HEAT. With more than 10,000 installations, this product has become the established name in heat recovery systems. Having capitalised on the reinvigorated dairy sector in the UK, the company is looking to grow its dairy presence in the US over the coming years. On top of this, Fabdec will also aim to penetrate new markets such as China and Africa, where opportunities are appearing for a company not only experienced in product technologies for professional milk production but is also wholly committed to delivering optimum quality systems and products. In other areas of the business, the company will aim to grow a stronger presence in Europe with its heating products and will continue to tap into the craft beer boom in the UK.


Products: Heating, cooling, storage and processing vessels and systems 89

Ebac Group Ltd John Elliot, Chaiman Ebac Group Ltd

Banging the drum for British


Having achieved success in the water cooler and dehumidifier industries, British manufacturer Ebac Group Ltd has continued to expand into the washing machine arena


ounded by its current chairman John Elliot in 1972, Ebac Group Ltd began as a one-man business; over the years it has grown into a flourishing international firm thanks to the development of innovative products in the dehumidifier and water cooler markets. Based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, the company is today split into four segments: Ebac Foundation, Ebac Ltd, Ebac Industrial Products and 50 per cent of XEL Design. Ebac Group Ltd is also the market leader for water coolers in Europe and Britain’s leading manufacturer of dehumidifiers; chest freezers and washing machines are other products manufactured by the company. With innovation at the heart of Ebac’s operating philosophy, its dehumidifiers have led the market for more than 25 years, while its water coolers continue to re-define the perception of these products both at home and in the office. Well known for its expertise in bespoke airconditioning and refrigeration solutions for industry, the group was also the first to produce and retail Brita Filtered Water Coolers that were ideal for the domestic market. On top of this, Ebac offers management services and financing solutions for businesses and start-ups in the bottled water industry. Also key to the company’s ongoing growth and success is its best of British approach to manufacturing and the fact Ebac operates as a foundation that is owned by a Trust. With no shareholders, all profits are returned to the company to promote growth, provide jobs and support local communities. One way this return of profits has strengthened Ebac over recent years is its expansion into the washing machine market. Having spent five years and £6 million of its own funds, as well as a £1 million Government grant, to


bring washing machine manufacture back to the UK, the company opened its new production line for the manufacture of washing machines in 2015. Established with the goal of tapping into a market of £2 million sales per year, this decision followed the closure of the last two plants to make washing machines in the UK in 2009. During October 2016, Ebac officially launched its new range of washing machines; as expected, these products were robust, reliable and cost-effective and proudly represent British design and manufacturing capabilities. During the final quarter of 2016, sales of washing machines were higher than anticipated, a trend that has continued throughout 2017 so far, as Tony Hird, Sales and Marketing Director at Ebac Group Ltd comments: “There has definitely been an appetite from consumers to buy British made washing machines, which appears to be driven from a combination of patriotism and an understanding that buying something made in the UK helps the UK economy and British families.” He continues: “In fact, our post-sale research has highlighted that there is a preference for some consumers to choose a British made washing machine, and whilst that is a great USP for Ebac, there is also an expectation that comes with Made in Britain. The product has to be better-than-average quality, reliable and with a range of the latest features that you would expect from a modern washing machine. We seem to be meeting and even exceeding these expectations as product satisfaction levels are very good. “When you begin a project like this, you can never be 100 per cent sure how the market is going to react to your brand and product. We did a lot of research and product testing, but the real test is when a consumer

decides to spend their hard-earned cash on your product. So far, signs are encouraging, but we have a long way to go. The washing machine market is very competitive and dominated by some big brands. Yes, the product has to be good, and we must never lose sight of that, but Ebac has some significant USP. Buying any product in Britain just makes sense. It improves our economy, provides jobs for British families both directly and indirectly, and the more we sell the more we can re-invest in making more products and employing more British people.” Within the company’s washing machine range is the E-Care + eight kilogramme 1600 spin, A+++, dual fill product, which boasts hydro fin and jet power cleaning, dual fill for lower utility bills, a drum cleaning programme for easy maintenance; efficient, durable and low noise motor technology. Dual fill is offered as an alternative to traditional cold fill machines, which offers customers shorter wash times and lower energy bills; the machines also have a ten-year warranty, which has further boosted popularity. Meanwhile, in other areas of the business, Ebac has performed well, with a new contract secured to manufacture and supply bottled water coolers to the US as well as a new in-store distribution of its dehumidifiers with two major UK electrical chains. Looking ahead, Ebac is keen to continue its success story in all areas, with the aim of achieving profitable growth to circa three times its current size. “We will achieve this through expansion of our water cooler business into the US, the exporting of dehumidifiers into Europe and the growing of our washing machine sales in the UK. However, over the next 12 months, we will continue to expand our washing machine sales by working with independent retailers throughout the whole of the UK while also building on our brand as a British manufacturer of quality products,” Tony concludes.

Ebac Group Ltd

Products: Manufacturer of dehumidifiers, washing machines, chest freezers and washing machines 91

ATG Access (AGT) Below: Crash tested bollards

Right: Central reservation grey flags



By constantly rethinking security solutions, the employees of ATG Access have repeatedly proven that no site condition is too difficult when it comes to creating safer spaces for everyone


rior to 1992, ATG Access (ATG) existed as part of the Alan Taylor Group, designing and manufacturing small, security bollards for residential and commercial car parks. With this technology quickly appearing on the radars of British insurers and local authorities, it was not long before ATG was working alongside the Department of Transport, together with local automation company VPSP, to successfully design the first automated bollard system that was fit for use on a public highway. Following a management buy-out in 1992, ATG was approached by the British government to work alongside it to design and certify automated bollard systems suitable for the mitigation of vehicle borne explosive devices. In the time that followed the company successfully developed a number of automatic bollard systems for highways use and in 2005 the first government certified system was launched in ATG’s portfolio. “We have continued to be steered through both pioneering product development and growth through export markets,” explains ATG Sales and Marketing Director, Gavin Hepburn.


ATG’s main office and manufacturing facility can be found in Haydock, Merseyside, while its network of distributors can be found in 30 countries, four of which carry out manufacturing under license in the United States, UAE, Singapore and India. From these facilities, the company creates the widest range of bollards and barriers in today’s security market. These range from simplistic, telescopic products to sophisticated automatic bollards. ATG has also invested in a large number of impact tests to certify high security perimeter security and access control products. With the largest range of impact tested products in the perimeter security industry, it is understandable that ATG is heavily involved in global product testing regimes including ASTM, PAS 68 and IWA 14. “Our engineering and innovation team are working constantly to provide new and tested solutions to solve our client’s problems,” Gavin continues. “Several of these challenges have resulted in important, game-changing solutions for perimeter security, including the world’s strongest bollard, which successfully arrested a 30,000-kilogramme truck travelling at 80

kilometres per hour, and the world’s shallowest bollard, which is capable of fitting within a foundation of 112 millimetres and still arrest a 7500-kilogramme vehicle travelling at 30 miles per hour. In addition, we have also devised temporary event security solutions to protect pedestrians against ramming attacks, with no anchoring or excavation required.” ATG has recently been involved in the development of another product that has the potential to be a game changer. The Surface Guard is the first system of its kind and has been designed to protect pedestrians from targeted vehicle attacks, having been shown to successfully arrest a 2500 kilogramme vehicle travelling at 30 miles per hour. Modular in design, and compact and easy to store, the system is lightweight and quick to deploy with no heavy machinery required. The Surface Guard is even quicker to remove and causes no damage to the road surface as no anchoring is required. Conscious of avoiding creating a ‘fortress feel’, the system has been designed to complement its surroundings and allow pedestrians to flow freely into the designated area. Therefore, the system

Below: Stainless steel bollards

Left: Sentinel road blocker

meet customer requirements has been altered, and in doing so we have managed to achieve a much more lucrative positioning strategy.” ATG is very proud to be a proponent of British engineering on the global stage. International markets continue to see the British kite mark as being a sign of quality and engineering finesse, and ATG is privileged to be able to promote this to customers around the world.

“In order to achieve continued growth in the years ahead, we have an ambitious strategy which includes the possibility of mergers and acquisitions, entering new export markets and pioneering product innovation,” Gavin enthuses. “Continued expansion in Europe is one of our key sales objectives over the next year and this will be achieved by working with new distributors in France and Germany that are able to represent the ATG brand well. “At the same time, the development of new products will open up additional export markets to the company and help ATG to re-visit mature markets with new innovations. The security market and the environment in which it operates is changing rapidly, therefore it will be something that we need to monitor carefully in the coming months in order to ensure that we remain ahead of the competition, where we belong.”

ATG Access (AGT)

Products: Bollards, road blockers and vehicle barrier systems

is aesthetically pleasing, while ensuring that it provides a resilient deterrent. “Historically, the security psyche was that preventative measures needed to be hidden so as not to cause concern for the general public,” Gavin states. “More recently the public’s attitudes have shifted and they now, understandably, want to be aware of security measures in order to feel safer in a public environment. As long as these measures do not prohibit movement and access to public areas, obvious measures are no longer unwelcome.” Over the last three years, ATG’s board have transformed the way in which the company trades internationally resulting in annual revenues increasing in this time period by 31 per cent. For the 2017 trading year further growth of 36 per cent is expected to be achieved. “In our pursuit of success,” Gavin says, “we have taken a number of important steps, including increasing our routes to market through the establishment of further manufacturing under license agreements, relocating experienced and knowledgeable members of staff, and placing greater focus on historically under-performing markets where strategies have been put in place to collaborate with more distributors. “Furthermore, the board of ATG helped drive forward a brand repositioning initiative to offset the commoditisation of high security equipment in well established markets. The way in which we approach the high security market and adapt to 93


Full of


The UK’s only manufacturer of cappuccino and espresso machines, Fracino’s reputation for innovation and world class manufacturing standards has resulted in the brand gaining an increased presence on the global stage


or Adrian Maxwell, Managing Director of Fracino, a brand leading, multi awardwinning manufacturer of coffee machines, a lot has happened since he last spoke to Manufacturing Today Europe in October 2016. “Things have evolved substantially over the course of the last year,” he states, “during which time business has improved dramatically and we have been working hard to transform our operations to reflect our new brand identity.” The phase ‘if you don’t put anything in, you won’t get anything out’ has arguably never rang so true as it has done for the company over the last 12 months, what with considerable investment being made across the board, resulting in sales increasing by 15 per cent across 2016, and a further ten per cent increase anticipated for 2017. “Since the end of last year, we have added a third production line to our factory, increasing our production capacity to almost 5000 machines per year,” Adrian explains. “We have also recently installed a third CNC sliding


head lathe, having reached capacity last year by producing approximately 750,000 parts with our two existing machines, as well as three new vertical storage systems for component storage and finished part production.” Further recent investments also include the ordering of a new welding machine, which was due for imminent delivery at the time of writing, and a £250,000 extension of its front of house, its showroom and its staff facilities. “Anything that helps us increase production capacity will incur investment costs, but we are happy to facilitate this and to continue reinvesting in the business as we believe it is the only way we can expand,” Adrian continues. “The same approach applies to the way we are now marketing the brand, spending more on promoting ourselves at exhibitions and conferences.” The results of these efforts are already reaping rewards for Fracino, with the brand beginning to establish itself across key global markets, which is a feat in itself considering that the company

only began exporting its machines six years ago. “In addition to our strong standing in the UK and Ireland, the promoting of our strong, reliable, high quality and competitively priced machines has allowed us to establish a foothold in a number of important regions,” Adrian enthuses. “Australia continues to be a very good market for us, with a container being sent there every six weeks on a rolling schedule, as has New Zealand, Dubai and Germany to name a few others. Meanwhile, we also have a slowly growing presence in South America and Korea. “Now we are turning our attention to the United States and Canada, actively pursuing UL certification in order to begin marketing our products there. We already have a significant level of interest coming from the United States and we see this as being a huge untapped opportunity for the Fracino brand. We are special in that we face hardly any competition in the marketplace when it comes to the gas fired coffee machines we manufacture, so in many ways we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible in the future.” Fracino specialises in building products that meet the unique needs of its customers. A perfect example of this was the creation of the SUB1, a bespoke, state-of-the-art espresso machine for

Left: Fracino’s bespoke machines include a luxury Romano in polished copper finish

SUBWAY® franchisee outlets. Designed to meet the changing needs of said franchisees, the SUB1 has since been installed in over 600 sites across the UK, Ireland and Poland. Following on from this success, the company was invited to build upon this with the production of a new machine suitable for higher volume SUBWAY® sites. The solution comes in the form of the SUB2, a machine that delivers the convenience of a ‘beanto-cup’ fully automated machine and has the capacity to produce two drinks simultaneously. In 2016, SUBWAY® named Fracino as its innovation partner. “Having manufactured the first prototype of the SUB2 we placed it into a store in Nottingham in close proximity to the University,” Adrian reveals. “Needless to say, it was inundated with users at peak time, yet it proved its capabilities ten times over with drink consistency and quality exceeding expectations. Initially we anticipated demand for around 30 of these machines per year, but its exceptional performance means we are manufacturing double that amount at present, which is brilliant news for both ourselves and SUBWAY®.” Other recent product innovations include the development of a new gas fired hot water boiler, a one-of-a-kind system that runs off a gas burner and comes with automatic water filling and temperature control functions. Previously available examples of such solutions tend to be characterised by their large, cumbersome size and their need to be refilled manually. Fracino’s response to this has been to design a compact, 200-millimetre-wide water boiler that, when connected to the same water line as the coffee machine itself, provides the user with around 35 litres of boiling water per hour. Further introductions to market are likely to include a new high-end domestic lever machine for the homeware market and a brand new ‘bean-to-cup’ machine, complete with touchscreen technology, which is being designed for use in office blocks. With the UK pound remaining weak against the Euro, Fracino is enjoying the competitive edge this gives its machines over those made on the continent, which have become more expensive to export. “One of the things we will continue to do is to forge relationships with more big brand names and chains, such as the likes of Brewers, Enterprise Inns and Pizza Express, as we look to build on the success we have had with SUBWAY®. At the same time, we will ramp up our international presence, which we see as being our biggest source of growth going forward. This will be a steady process, but with our existing capacity allowing for an estimated 20 per cent increase in production, together with our willingness to invest, we are in a healthy position to move into the next phase of the development of the Fracino brand,” Adrian concludes.

Fracino’s PID machine boasts state-of-the-art production methods


Products: Cappuccino and espresso coffee machines 95

HTS maskinteknikk Highly effcient Gildemeister lathe producing smaller parts in high volume



Specialised in delivering quality, precision components to customers in the subsea, aerospace and defence industries, HTS maskinteknikk continues to diversify and evolve to meet changing market demands


stablished in Drammen, Norway in 1981 as a precision machining workshop, HTS maskinteknikk (HTS) has spent more than three decades serving world class customers, both at home and abroad. An early adopter of CNC machinery and computerised measuring machines, the company was perfectly positioned to capitalise on the rapid increase in demand for high precision machining. As it did so, HTS evolved to enable itself to produce ever more refined products, many of which would go on to be supplied to customers within the subsea industry, including taking part in the development and roll-out of hydraulic couplers to leading EPC contractors. During the 1990s, the company further diversified by beginning the production of mechanical components used within the defence and aerospace industries. Today, HTS’ 80 highly skilled employees have access to more than 50 CNC operated machines


within the company’s 6000 square metre production facility. Combining its human capital, its capacity and cutting-edge technology, HTS is able to deliver flawless quality products with an impressive level of time-to-market speed. As well as being recognised specialists when it comes to critical machining and the welding of advanced materials, the company also offers a range of professional production technology advisory services. The embracing of technology, particularly the latest methods and innovations, has been key to HTS’ success over the years. “Our aim as a business is to always be among the best performers in our field when it comes to production,” explains Lars Harvik, HTS’ Commercial Director. “In order to do so we have made sure to utilise the finest production tools and techniques, as well as be quick to adopt what we consider to be the next generation

Lars Harvik

of solutions, for example sensor technology, robotisation, and learning about machining combined with 3D-printing through a formula student project this past spring.” Automation is a concept that the company has utilised for a number of years, but is also one that continues to grow in significance when it comes to production processes, particularly as it looks to further increase efficiencies within its facility, and increase production runs and the speed of manufacturing. It is also using such technological advances to respond to specific market demands from its customers. One of the things HTS has invested in is its Robo-Trex system, one that is opening the way for it to achieve the high-volume, unmanned production of small aluminium parts. HTS also continues to invest capital into increasing its capacity, with a recent order being placed for a new Hermle milling machine,

5-axis precision-milling on a 3D printed titanium suspension-part for NTNU Evolve participating in the formula student championships

complete with 12 pallet stations. “This will be the first time we have used a Hermle branded machine at our facility, but we are very excited about the possibilities it presents us with,” Lars continues. “We anticipate this machine further improving upon our operational efficiencies as we gear up for future market growth.” In the wake of the downturn that took effect within the oil and gas industry in mid-2014, HTS entered into a period of consolidation as it worked hard to transform itself into a leaner, flexible and more reactive business. “We have spent a great deal of time and effort optimising our organisation, making efficiencies across the board in order to become better positioned to take advantage of changing market behaviour,” Lars states. “As a result of these actions we are now taking advantage of a steady increase in orders that we believe better suit the more streamlined organisation that we are today. This includes an increase in interest when it comes to our expertise in welding within the small-bore segment. Our ability to assure a close to zero defect capability, as well as the way in which we handle the whole process from machining to welding and delivery, has helped HTS to generate more machining work over time.” Other efforts by the company to generate new opportunities at a time when orders from oil and gas companies have been harder to come by include embarking on a number of extensive travelling programmes, during which it has worked hard to network with prospective customers and follow up on promising leads. The result has been new contracts with an increasingly eclectic mix of customers, one of the most recent being CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. “Another move that we have looked to make in recent months is to enter into the production of aviation parts,” Lars adds. “Until now this has not fallen within our traditional scope of work, however we have seen an increase in enquiries of late and considering our track record when it comes to serving aerospace customers we see this as a good opportunity for HTS. We are currently the subject of an extensive audit programme ahead of obtaining AS-9100 certification, which we fully expect to obtain in due course, which will open up an exciting new branch of opportunities for HTS.” Showing no signs of slowing down when it comes to its travelling and networking schedule, HTS’ next stop, at the time of writing, was the 2017 Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) event in September. The world’s leading defence and security event, emanating from the ExCel in London, it brings

together the global defence and security sector to innovate and share knowledge. It is Lars’ hope that HTS’ presence here will again result in new orders and new long-term customer relationships. “Our expectation for the months to come is for market conditions to continue to gradually improve,” Lars concludes. “We believe that the signs are there that activity amongst our customers continues to pick up, however it is always hard to predict exactly where growth will come from when it comes to different market

segments, therefore it is imperative that we have equal focus across the segments we target. By doing so we will be able to capitalise on opportunities as they arise, further stabilising HTS in the years to come.”

HTS maskinteknikk

Products: Mechanical precision components 97

M Squared Lasers



At the forefront of technological advancement, M Squared Lasers is on a mission to improve our world through the design and manufacture of advanced, laser-based photonics, quantum technologies, and related applications


esigning lasers and laser-based systems, components and instruments, through the use of advanced photonics technology, M Squared focuses on three core areas: quantum technology, which it views as the next generation of technology, lasers for chemical sensing applications, and biophotonics, which uses lasers to observe biological and neurological phenomena. In particular, quantum technology is allowing M Squared to create newer, more advanced and previously unimaginable applications. Since it was previously featured in Manufacturing Today Europe in September 2016, the company has developed a quantum device to measure gravity. This device can detect and measure atomic interference; a manifestation of wave-particle duality that matter can display when it is in a quantum state at temperatures slightly above absolutely zero, the quantum gravimeter brings unprecedented levels of precision to


measurements of gravitational forces as well as the detection of gravitational fields of hidden objects. The gravimeter, which uses the company’s novel lasers, control and vacuum systems, was developed as part of a project known as ANAGRAM, co-funded by Innovate UK and part of the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme, with M Squared contributing laser engineering and system integration in collaboration with the University of Birmingham. “When the initiative around quantum technologies was announced, this helped underpin our own technology strategy. We had already been enabling the global quantum technology community for a decade through the development of our SolsTiS laser platform, which had been helping scientists around the globe probe complex quantum systems. We also wanted to become a system integrator, so we were in a prime position to drive the commercialisation of quantum technology and specifically the gravimeter from within

Dr Nils Hempler

our business and to position ourselves at the cornerstone of a formative global supply chain,” says Dr Nils Hempler, Head of Innovation at M Squared. “We started off with a collaboration with the University of Birmingham, aligning ourselves critically with their hub, which is one of the four hubs in the quantum technologies programme. We began our journey in-house with hardware development more than two years ago, and demonstrated the quantum gravimeter for the first time in July 2017. Considering how complex the technology is, it was an incredibly fast turnaround and a great achievement,” he adds. Using quantum technology to bring unprecedented levels of precision to gravitational measurements and the detection of gravitational fields of hidden objects, the gravimeter is anticipated to bring a range of social, economic

and environmental benefits in the coming years. Indeed, thanks to the gravimeter’s results, quantum gravity is paving the way for new applications in sectors like the oil and gas market, where it will help detect new deposits and survey unknown underground infrastructures such as pipes and cables. “Other sectors interested in the gravimeter include defence for both having the sensitivity to look into the ground and see exactly where to dig and also navigational purposes; if you imagine GPS is being tampered with and isn’t available any more, quantum technologies and gravimeters can be used for this. The technology can also be used on submarines, planes, boats or trucks, anything that is to do with navigation and any sectors related to this. Civil engineering is another sector, as companies will be able to see what is under the ground before beginning building of a house, for example,” explains Nils. Continuing to discuss other notable developments that have taken place since September 2016, Nils comments: “We have also focused on the development of our ‘Aurora’ Airy Beam Light Sheet Microscope, which can observe biological material at a cellular level, so we can look at individual and larger groups of cells. This is a really exciting market and we hope that one day it will help lead to cures for neurological and regenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Our work on the light sheet system was done in collaboration with the University of St Andrews and led to us opening a dedicated office in Surrey that now has a team focusing on commercialising next-generation light-sheet microscopes for medical applications. Our collaborative approach to projects drives technology forward and enables smaller, more agile companies like us compete with larger firms that are already established in certain markets.” With the European Commission planning to launch a one-billion-euro flagship initiative on quantum technology, which will put Europe at the forefront of the second quantum revolution, Nils sees major opportunities coming up in the near future: “We believe quantum technology has the potential to supersede digital electronics in the same way that digital electronics superseded analogue technology. We think we are on the brink of a major shift in how we live our lives and we are very much involved in this development.” Looking at the upcoming developments and opportunities for M Squared, Nils concludes: “Since September 2016, we have been very successful, growing to circa £15 million in revenue and achieving 48 per cent growth. This success has led to increasing our staff, with 20 scientists and commercial staff being added to our company, bringing us to 100 employees. This

growth in size is part of our plan to become a truly scalable business; this is something we will continue to do over the years to come as we remain committed to improving our capabilities to ensure we are prepared for the future and always at the cutting edge of laser and electronics technologies.”

M Squared Lasers

Products: Advanced laser platforms, lab instrumentation and novel photonics systems and applications 99

Vanden Recycling

The perfect


A dynamic international waste management company, Vanden Global’s specialist knowledge of plastics and their recycling applications make it the perfect partner for those seeking to achieve maximum value

Product samples from production, having been collected for testing


ince its inception in 2005, Vanden Global has gained a reputation for excellence and dedication when it comes to the handling of more than 100 grades of recoverable plastics through integrated logistics, processing and tailored recycling solutions, from waste generation to finished products. Not only a collector of waste, the group also consults on and helps implement services such as source separation, secure destruction, processing methods and the presentation and packaging of goods in advance of them going to market. Key to the group’s growth is its diversity and determination. Originally a business focused on finding scrap material in Australia and Europe and selling it to customers in China, Vanden Global deliberately went out of its way to develop multiple streams with a range of customers in a number of por ts. By doing the opposite to many companies that founded their entire business on selling one material stream to one customer in one por t, Vanden Global has gained a worldwide presence and the trust of customers in a number of strategic locations. With recycling bases in Australia, Finland and the UK, the group’s


professional team of locally based purchasers are on hand to consult on each customer’s product range and help achieve the optimum level of value for it. Discussing the development and services of Vanden Recycling UK is Managing Director David Wilson: “We star ted in 2011 as a purchasing division for our parent company Vanden Global, a Hong Kong based recycling company that provides raw materials to China based manufacturers. Vanden Recycling UK was initially a single person business, run by myself, sourcing suitable plastic scrap; today we’re 28 staff, with a back office in Lisburn, a commercial team spread across the UK and Ireland and a reprocessing plant in Cambridgeshire.” He continues: “Since our establishment I would say the biggest change is in our customer base where we have developed our own client list outside of our parent company and now supply materials widely throughout the UK, Ireland and the rest of the EU. In terms of our services, it is summed up in one phrase: ‘Transforming waste into commodities.’ The scrap and commodities we deal with are largely, but not exclusively, plastics. We can provide a wide range of solutions at both ends of this chain of events, so for example with manufacturers

Packing waste destruction

PET preform (these are plastic bottles before moulding into final shape. These are off spec rejects)

is getting processed by us and then returning as infeed to the original manufacturer,” says David. “Our commitment to quality star ts right from the first conversation we have with a producer of plastic waste. We constantly question ourselves: Do we understand what the material is? How is it stored and can we turn it safely into a usable commodity? How do we best ensure preservation of cleanliness and purity of material as we collect and transpor t it? We run multiple processing lines to prevent cross contamination and ensure consistency of supply by entering into longterm collection contracts with waste producers,” he adds. Not only established to enhance Vanden Recycling UK’s capabilities and quality standards in the UK, the Cambridgeshire facility is also the group’s prepared response to China announcing to the WTO that it is banning the impor t of plastic scrap. “The ramifications of this development are not yet fully understood. It’s a sizable shift in the world of plastics recycling, removing a large percentage of global reprocessing capacity. However, China’s policy change is also an oppor tunity to fundamentally change the relationship between UK recyclers and manufacturers. Let’s grab it,” David concludes.

Vanden Recycling Products: Recycled plastics

with scrap that they need to dispose of, we can provide professional advice, collection services by using bespoke stillage’s, disposal/ destruction cer tification and, where that scrap is packaging waste, PRNs. Meanwhile, for manufacturers looking for raw materials, we can provide high quality post-industrial regrinds in PE, PP, PET, ABS and PS.” Despite being in its infancy, Vanden Recycling UK has gained a strong customer base having invested heavily in equipment, staff and health & safety while also retaining the same focus on delivering a quality service since day one. One such investment is the company’s new plastic processing facility, located near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire; opened in February 2017 the site is equipped with a technologically advanced shredding, granulation and baling plant and also has a front-end material inspection and preparation area. Material being processed at the site is primarily focused on post-industrial plastic waste from the vacuum forming, blow moulding, printing, retail, injection moulding and logistics sectors. For some customers, Vanden Recycling UK will provide a new way to maximise value by offering to take plastic scrap and process it so it is ready for re-use by the same client. This customer-centric approach to operations has extended fur ther, with Vanden Recycling UK recently investing in a new CRM system that will be an impor tant tool in finding the best solution for scrap suppliers and the best value, most consistent supply for manufacturers. “We’ve just entered into our first large-scale closed loop contract where a manufacturer of a raw material has put us in contact with users of that material in the UK. We’re now collecting production scrap, which 101

Turkish Aerospace Industries



Turkish Aerospace Industries offers products and services in the aerostructure, aircraft, helicopter, UAV system and space system segments


he centre of technology in the design, development, manufacture, integration and support of aerospace systems for military and commercial aerospace clients, Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has established a respected presence in the global market since its establishment as part of a joint venture in 1984. Set up following the Turkish Government’s foundation of Turkish Aircraft Industries in 1973 with the aim of building its own aircraft, TAI began operations as the co-producer of F-16 aircraft in Turkey. Following the success of this project, the company went on to begin co-production of the SF-260 Trainer and CN-235 Light Transport Aircraft in 1986. “With the AS-532 Cougar Helicopter co-production in 1997, we started increasing our experience in rotary wing platforms. This increase in experience and competitive skills enabled us to start working with the major passenger aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus; the first commercial aerostructure


projects with these companies began in 1998,” comments Mr Temel Kotil, President and CEO of Turkish Aerospace Industries. Restructured in 2005, TAI became a 100 per cent Turkish shareholding company and went on to take steps in becoming a world brand aerospace company. In 2008, the company participated in the Airbus A350 XWB Passenger Aircraft project as a risk sharing partner and also worked on the Joint Strike Fighter F-35 programme. With capabilities developed on the design and manufacturing side of the business, the first flights of the indigenous MALE (Medium Altitude Long Endurance) Class UAV ANKA and Trainer Aircraft HÜRKUS took place in 2010 and 2013 respectively. “We have achieved very important milestones, such as the development and acceptance of the ANKA Block A-MALE Class UAV and the launch of the GOKTURK-2 LEO Satellite on December 18th 2012. We have also worked on the design, manufacture and delivery of several structural parts to AMSL as

an industrial partner of the A400M Transport Aircraft,” highlights Kotil. Serving customers both in Turkey and on an international scale, TAI is well-known and respected for its technologies and commitment to delivering ultimate customer satisfaction. Having made strategic investments in recent years, the company continues to invest in new technologies and advanced composite manufacturing facilities. For example, the Satellite Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) centre is a new business area for the firm, which it believes will be instrumental for Turkey’s roadmap into the aerospace sector. “Our main aim is to increase our presence in international markets and become one of the important players in the world with our indigenous systems. Our main export strategy is to enhance our market position through high value generated indigenous products as well as keeping constant aerostructure work streams to sustain our business. The USA and Europe are a significant part of our aerostructure business,

while at the platform level our key markets are the Middle East, North Africa, Middle Asia, Asia-Pacific and South America. To expand our export market, we are establishing cooperation with the aforementioned territories with our indigenous products such as ANKA, ATAK and HÜRKUS as well as our engineering capabilities in system design, modification and/or modernisation of aircraft platforms such as F-16 and C-130,” says Kotil. Focused on R&D, TAI has more than 1000 design engineers and certified contractors within its facilities working on new and exciting innovations. For example, the company recently revealed the new T625 multi-role helicopter following airframe production in the summer of 2016. “The airframe was produced with the goal of providing better fuel consumption, which subsequently leads to longer endurance and range. Our prime example of this is the use of the retractable undercarriage, the main components of which consists of a shut-off valve, hydraulic reservoir, landing gear selector valve and filter manifold. The first flight is expected in September 2018, which will be followed by certification by both the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the European Aviation Safety Agency. There are then plans for international export following the launch of this product to Turkish customers,” explains Kotil. Another notable project TAI has recently been involved in is the A400M programme, which was initiated to develop a transport aircraft to replace the aging C-160 transport aircraft with the participation of Turkey, Spain, Germany, France, the UK, Belgium and Luxembourg in 2003. With all participants committed to buying a number of aircraft, Turkey put down an order for ten, and, within the scope of this industrial participation, TAI took on the design and production responsibility for the forward centre fuselage, ailerons and spoilers; paratroop doors, hatch doors, tail cone, upper shell on the rear fuselage, emergency exit door, lighting and water/waste systems as well as the fuselage harness.

“Our participation has had a positive impact on the relationship we have with Airbus, with TAI becoming a reliable and cost-efficient design and production partner to Airbus, not only for the A400M but also for passenger aircraft programmes,” says Kotil. “In terms of the A400M’s success, we believe in the next 20 years there will be at least 200 more orders of this aircraft thanks to capabilities such as air-toair refuelling, airdrop and Medevac.” Moving forward, TAI aims to gain more engineering projects to ensure further business growth in line with its target of becoming a

$5 billion company with 6000 employees by 2023 and a $6 billion, 8000 employee company by 2025. With long-term expertise, strong partnerships and an impeccable reputation in the market, there is no reason for TAI not to succeed in its goals.

Turkish Aerospace Industries

Products: Manufacturer of major components, aerostructures and indigenous systems 103

Porvair Filtration Group Vyon cutting machine

Going A

global By continually investing in R&D, Porvair Filtration Group has remained at the forefront of innovation and become renowned for delivering world-class products that solve complex filtration and separation challenges for its diverse customer base


wholly owned subsidiary of Porvair PLC, Porvair Filtration Group is a specialist filtration and environmental technology group that is focused on the development, design and manufacture of filtration and separation solutions. With customers in industries such as aviation, chemical process, water treatment, energy and life sciences, Porvair Filtration Group is committed to developing new and better solutions in line with market trends and the changing needs of clients. As such, a significant portion of the workforce is dedicated to product and process development, which has in turn resulted in the development of a number of new bespoke products based on its established porous polymeric material, known as Vyon, as well as its sintered metal media, Sinterflo. With between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of annual sales made with products that are less than three years old, the company has become known for its innovation. Several of these technological advances stem from the range of porous materials that are based on sintered polymers and metals for a range of biomedical, pharmaceutical and industrial applications. The R&D teams enhance Porvair Filtration Group’s core knowledge of porous materials and develop new products that ensure the company is further able to address the more demanding expectations of these high value markets. The company’s Segensworth division, meanwhile, is well-known in the aerospace and nuclear filtration markets, for which it supplies filters and filtration systems for extreme conditions when it comes to temperature, pressure and corrosion. Discussing how the company has developed since it was previously featured in Manufacturing Today Europe magazine in July 2015 is Tom Liddell, Managing Director at Porvair Filtration Group: “We are quite a diverse business as you can gather, so characterising our progress by reference to any one market is not possible. In general terms, as a net exporter from the UK, the business has benefited from the weak pound in improving margins or competitiveness in overseas markets when trading in foreign currency. However, just touching on a few of our markets, the industrial/chemical process market has been generally good for us and has rumbled on along forecasted

Stainless elements

routes somewhere between five and ten per cent growth per annum. The continued slowdown in the oil sector, has hit our gasification business in particular although there are some signs of recovery. The aerospace market is another big driver for Porvair and that has continued to show strong growth, particularly with the introduction of the new products this year. “For example, we have a particular strength in filtration for fuel tank inerting systems. This system is used for producing a blanket of nitrogen enriched air over the fuel tanks in order to prevent spark ignition. It’s a safety-related device that has been installed in recent years on-board all civil aircraft and our products are critical in removing contaminants to protect the separation membranes. Porvair’s latest products in this application incorporate ozone and VOC removal within our filters, which improves the lifetime of the system and reduces operating cost. The new technology is a significant development for us and has increased the amount of content that we are selling into this particular application.” In June 2017, the company showcased its leading fuel tank inerting filter technology at the Paris Air Show, where it demonstrated the reasons why this key component has been integrated into the largest commercial passenger aircraft to ever be built in China. Indeed, Porvair Filtration Group is supplying a filter to the fuel tank inerting system (FTIS) that was produced by Parker Aerospace, which recently celebrated the first flight of the new COMAC C919 in Shanghai. The use of the filter in Parker’s FTIS forms a significant part of China’s biggest ever commercial passenger aircraft and is custom-designed to meet the exact specifications of the project to ensure standards for safety, reliability and maintainability are sustained or established. In the same month, the company was honoured with the large business subcontractor award from Bechtel, the largest construction and civil engineering company in the US, for its outstanding contribution and commitment to the Bechtel team. The company was singled out for its work on developing a one-of-a-kind radial flow HEPA filter that is capable of meeting requirements of both ASME AG-1 code and the harsh conditions of the nuclear waste treatment plant at Hanford in Washington State. Following these developments, the company was awarded major nuclear waste clean-up contracts across the US, where it is deploying advanced filtration technology across the affected sites to deal with high and low level contamination that was left over for the national defence plutonium and uranium production efforts during World War II and the Cold War era. This range of contracts is in line with the company’s aims of growing a stronger footprint in the US, as Tom notes: “We are quite a small business (turnover approximately £50 million) so we are choosing to grow in the US via organic or inorganic investment in this region. We have acquired two businesses in the last four years and we have invested heavily in facilities and infrastructure to improve their capability. We have also recently relocated our US headquarters, which has delivered at least a two-fold increase in potential manufacturing capacity. Having spent over £5 million on facility upgrades over the last five years, we are now looking to consolidate our position and focus on delivering a return on these investments.” While the US remains a key strategic area to grow, Porvair Filtration Group will also seek to achieve gains from its recent joint venture in India and new business in China. To make these goals a reality, the company will not only focus on investment in sales channels and resources but also through product development and improved efficiency.

Fuel tank inerting filter

Porvair Filtration Group

Products: Manufacturer of world-class filtration systems 105

Bartec Auto ID Limited

Handling the


British business Bartec Auto ID Limited is responsible for the creation of highly technical and robust tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) to the benefit of customers found all over the world Left: Tech 500 Below: Tech 300


eginning life in 1992 as a British owned developer of automatic identification products and systems, Bartec Auto ID Limited (Bartec) was subsequently responsible for the creation of a diverse range of products, including access control readers, hospital baby alarms, and in-cab computers to track beer kegs and gas cylinders using barcodes, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.


“In 1998, our RFID technology was spotted by Schrader Electronics, who asked us to make a production line reader system for its tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS),” begins Bartec Managing Director, Colin Webb. “Over a 12-month period we successfully developed the first antenna system to tackle the issues of interference at low and high frequencies from reflections and crosstalk, something that even Renault had previously been unable to overcome, as well as enable the sensors to be read from within the car wheels on the final assembly line, before finally programming the car engine management unit. Following this success, we went on to supply our solutions for the likes of Daimler Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.” In 2005, it was legislated in the United States that TPMS would become mandatory on all vehicles supplied as new after November 2008. This resulted in the formation of Bartec USA LLC and installation of these systems in manufacturing plants across the country. “The TPMS production line antennas have, to date, been fitted in 186 car assembly plants around the world, and are also fitted to many wheel and tyre lines to check the integrity and function of the TPM sensor after fitment to the wheel,” Colin explains. “The company has also

developed a range of handheld TPMS tools that can check the sensors’ functionality and support the repair of the car when broken. Over 120,000 of these tools have been supplied to North American and European tyre and repair shops, and to OE dealerships, making Bartec the world leader when it comes to TPMS tools and systems.” At the heart of Bartec’s manufacturing operation is its ISO9001 accredited integrated management system, which combines all of its systems and processes into one complete framework. This enables it to work as a single unit with unified objectives. The seven common elements needed to attain the aforementioned accreditation – structure and responsibility, training, awareness and competence, document control, records, corrective and preventative action, and internal audits – provide the backbone to delivering quality products. Meanwhile, the company’s manufacturing resource planning system allows it to monitor and maintain the entire manufacturing process, and its recent implementation of ISO27001 provides its customers and suppliers with the reassurance that information security is taken extremely seriously. Recently, the company has launched a

18 months alone as the company accelerates its progress. “Bartec is that rare breed of British owned business, financially strong, highly innovative, operating in markets with a high barrier to entry and driven by legislation,” Colin continues. “We are already exporting to 29 countries and our experienced management team have a strong plan to extend our business into new markets with new products. “Our aim is to achieve £20 million in sales by 2020. With more than 100,000 tyre shops and many OEs worldwide that are satisfied customers and rely upon us to bring them further products to support their growth. Fortunately for all concerned, we have a number of new innovative and unique products under development for launch in early 2018, which we believe will repeat the success we have had with TPMS.” range of innovative tools for the automotive aftermarket, including electronic tread depth readers, and tools for electronic park brakes, DPF regeneration, oil warning light resets, smart battery management, key cloning, tow bar electronics and emissions testing. A number of these tools were on display at this year’s Automechanika exhibition in Birmingham. “The majority of our business remains exports and being relatively unknown in the UK we used this exhibition to raise our profile,” Colin explains. “While this was the first major UK automotive aftermarket exhibition we have shown at, we do attend lots of overseas events each year where we are consistently reminded of the importance of listening to our customers, taking heed of their needs and advice.” This attention to its customers’ requirements has this year resulted in Bartec being named within the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2017’ report. “I was personally delighted to see the company receive this accolade as it reflects and recognises the inspirational people we employ,” Colin proudly declares. “Our people inspire each other, myself and our customers on a daily basis. We truly value our employees and they have responded to this by committing fully to our customer service values. I think it says a lot when you consider that we now employ 118 staff across our business, while the number who have left us over the past ten years can be counted on a single hand.” A world leading technology business, Bartec continues to grow at a fast pace, expanding its range of products through a combination of its own development and acquisitions, with two smaller complementary businesses having been purchased in the last

Bartec Auto ID Limited

Products: Tyre pressure monitoring systems and tools 107

FFEI Limited A look inside the Graphium hybrid digital inkjet label press

The image of


As companies require increasingly more sophisticated solutions within the digital imaging and digital inkjet arena, FFEI has the design and manufacture capabilities to meet its customers most complex needs


he roots of FFEI Limited trace back to Crosfield Electronics, an engineering firm founded by John Crosfield in 1947 that specialised in printing press control systems. Becoming famous in the 1970s for introducing the first digital colour scanner for digitising high quality photographs, Crosfield went on to be acquired by De La Rue in the late 1970s. Growing rapidly in the 1980s, the company continued to innovate; in 1987 it was sold to a joint venture between DuPont and FUJIFILM and benefited from significant investment in manufacturing and product development capabilities. “In 1997, FUJIFILM made the strategic decision to acquire all of our assets to create FUJIFILM Electronic Imaging Limited as a wholly owned subsidiary that was responsible for developing and manufacturing advanced digital imaging products for its Graphic Arts business. FUJIFILM invested £50 million in the company as it focused on setting new high standard in product development and manufacturing quality,” says Andy Cook, Managing Director at FFEI Limited. “In December 2005, our business premises were totally destroyed by the Buncefield Oil depot explosion. Luckily we had a well-tested disaster recovery process, which enabled the business to be fully operation in a temporary facility in one week. As a result of this event, FUJIFILM and the company management put together a new company strategy and business plan, which opened up the possibility of an MBO.”


Andy Cook, Managing Director of FFEI

He continues: “Having become managing director of the company in 2001, I knew the organisation well so in 2006, some ten months after the explosion, I led an MBO to take the company back to being privately owned; this is how FFEI Limited remains to this day. This development has a big positive impact on the company, which is now 100 per cent owned by three of the directors who are actively involved in the day-to-day running of the company.” Since the MBO, FUJIFILM has remained an important business partner for the company, with FFEI Limited continuing to provide innovative products and services to; the company also went on to achieve two Queen’s Awards for innovation for some of its more successful product developments. Celebrating 70 years since the formation of Crosfield and 11 years since the MBO in 2017, FFEI Limited has become the go-to company for those seeking sophisticated and innovative solutions. Whether the challenge is to create software functions that enhance workflow, develop a product that can accurately jet billions of ink droplets a second onto exotic materials or even create ultra-high resolution micro scanning mechanisms to research human tissue cells, FFEI has the capabilities to meet these complex requirements. Based in Hemel Hempstead, the company houses environmentally controlled technology suites for each product area; operated by expert staff, FFEI Limited can ensure all products reach the stringent standards that

The new Printbar Uncovered technology

Graphium hybrid label press in production

functionality that is aligned to their own goals and competitive advantage. “We will be demonstrating this system at the upcoming Label Expo show in September 2017 at Brussels. This is the world’s largest show for the labels and packaging industry and we expect to have two companies showing their version of the Printbar at the show, both with unique features and branding targeted at their own clients,” says Andy. Benefiting from companies experiencing ever-increasing numbers of product innovation from competitors, FFEI Limted is an attractive option to global players and smaller firms alike as they seek to outsource the process of product development. “Outsourcing not only reduces cost, but also speed to market,” explains Andy. “In 2017 we have doubled the value of development projects we have won, which will create new revenue streams within the next 24 months. “Our success comes from having excellent core digital imaging technologies, which can rapidly be productised into reliable and price competitive products or systems. Our vision is to build on this success and capability to become the partner of choice for product development to these global brands. Looking ahead, we plan to double the number of industries and partners we are engaged with over the next five years and continue to invest in our organisational capability,” he concludes.

FFEI Limited

Products: Manufacturer of digital inkjet and imaging solutions

its clients have grown to expect. “We have a quite unique business model where we undertake the full product development process, productisation manufacturing and supply responsibilities including regulatory and technical support roll out,” says Andy. “Current products include an ultra-high resolution digital pathology slide scanner for one of the world’s largest life science companies, along with several industrial inkjet label and packaging systems for global commercial print companies. “Furthermore, one of our mainline inkjet systems, Graphium, has become a market leader in the growing hybrid printing label market, where very high quality colour inkjet printing is combined with traditional flexo printing to create short run labels for the packaging markets. We have also developed products for printing on plastics used in the furnishing industry, including one of the world’s largest suppliers of edge bands used for highend fitted kitchens.” The most recent innovation for the company is Printbar Uncovered, an inkjet printing system that can be integrated into an existing printing press. This product is being marketed to the printing press manufacturers to enable them to offer digital printing capability to customers. For this product, FFEI Limited allows the press manufacturers to own label, add features and 109

Express Bi-folding Doors ‘The Courtyard’, Leicestershire. XP Glide S, bespoke curtain walling, XP View, Skyline roof lantern, 600 series windows

A doorway to a better


With premium quality products and efficient service at the heart of everything it does, Express Bi-folding Doors has become a leading manufacturer and installer of architectural aluminium and glass façades


n the space of a single decade Express Bi-folding Doors (Express) has undergone significant growth. From its beginnings as a father and son team, who set up the company in 2007, this family owned business has since grown to the point where it employs over 200 people nationwide. Now firmly established as the largest specialist manufacturer and installer of bespoke aluminium folding, sliding doors, aluminium windows and roofing products in the UK, Express anticipates making a turnover of around £24 million this financial year.


“Every individual involved in the development of the business has always given 110 per cent of their effort to make it a success,” begins Steve Bromberg Junior, Express’ General Manager. “Today we have showrooms in Glasgow, Harrogate, Romford, Redhill and our flagship location ‘The Home Space’, which sits within our 200,000 square feet manufacturing facility in Leeds. This facility is made up of three units, the latest of which will be fully operational in a matter of months.” The company’s newest unit, which at the time of writing was being kitted

out, will be used primarily for stockholding, while also acting as a dispatch area. It is hoped that the latter will provide the infrastructure needed to allow Express to begin taking on more commercial projects. Express’ ISO accredited operation includes the specialist manufacture of aluminium bifolding doors, in-line sliding doors, bespoke panoramic windows and roofing systems. Servicing the whole of the UK, the company has completed thousands of installations including commercial developments, and residential and

‘Rutland Road’. Full renovation project in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. XP Glide S, Curtain wall atrium

‘Oakdale Manor’. Remodel and extension. XP Glide, XP View, XP10, aluminium front door, glazed atrium, lean to roofing

new build projects. Such is Express’ reputation that it has worked with many of the country’s leading architects and its products have been featured on television programmes such as Channel Four’s ‘The Home Show’ and ‘Grand Designs’, and Channel Five’s ‘I Own Britain’s Best Home’. “The vast majority of our products are manufactured in-house, allowing us to take full responsibility for the quality of everything we make,” Steve continues. “We believe we have the most impressive production facility of its kind in the UK, which houses the most advanced CNC machinery available. We strive to stay at the cutting edge when it comes to our machinery and we estimate to have invested around

£1.5 million in this to date, creating efficiencies, eliminating human error and speeding up the entire manufacturing process.” Express’ team of highly trained engineers utilise said machinery in order to produce a high volume of premium quality bespoke products every week. Further quality control processes exist at each stage of a product’s life cycle, through to final assembly where it is then checked by the company’s QC department against details of the initial order. Then, once installed, a dedicated after sales and customer service team ensures that the process has been completed to the customers’ complete satisfaction. “Customer feedback is of great importance to us as it not only allows us to make improvements to our own processes, it also plays a key role in determining the future needs

of the market,” Steve states. “This feedback, together with information on what our competitors are doing and what is going on in Europe, which tends to be a couple of years ahead of the UK in terms of trends, allows us to stay ahead of the game.” A quick browse of the company’s website, which itself has recently been redesigned, will provide you with a multitude of case studies and examples involving Express’ work. When asked to highlight a few that stood out to him, Steve highlighted Oakdale Manor, Rutland Road and The Courtyard. The former involved the entire transformation and renovation of a family home, with Express’ range of bespoke products used throughout, including aluminium windows, French doors and a distinctive aluminium front door with a glazed atrium above. At the rear of the home, a bold new extension also showcases its work with floor to ceiling glazed doors, a fixed picture window and shaped gable frame. The Rutland Road project saw the company providing all of the rear elevation glazing and the huge sliding patio doors on the front wings of a customer’s house. The full rear elevation of the house is made up of its premium XP Glide S doors, with a curtain wall atrium complete with glazed returns. This has created a huge panoramic window across all floors of the property. Last, but certainly not least, The Courtyard is a luxurious semi-build home, built and finished to the highest standards, made up of two separate buildings bridged by fixed picture windows and large XP Glide sliding doors. The rear elevation was completed in the same style with shaped curtain walling installed into the roof gables, while the flat roof extension 111

Express Bi-folding Doors Express Bi-folding Doors’ manufacturing facility in Leeds, West Yorkshire The Home Space. Sister company ‘Express in the Home’ kitchen

this we hope to achieve our primary goal, which is to become a national brand with a name and reputation that people recognise and respect.” floods the interior with light thanks to the company’s most prized skylight, the Sky-line roof lantern. With a new website live, a new showroom being prepped for opening in London and a Contracts Manager and Sales Director now in place to support the commercial growth of the


business, these are exciting times for Express. “Our vision for the business is focused on the building of our assets and the increasing of our profitability,” Steve concludes. “As a result of our rapid growth to date we have accumulated a lot of capital which we have invested back into the business, and we will continue to do so. In doing

Express Bi-folding Doors

Products: Aluminium roofing systems, windows, folding and sliding doors




MANUFACTURING Editor: Libbie Hammond Sales manager: Joe Woolsgrove

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Manufacturing Today Europe Issue 144 September 2017  

The latest edition of Manufacturing Today Europe

Manufacturing Today Europe Issue 144 September 2017  

The latest edition of Manufacturing Today Europe