DK Rewinds: maintaining and manufacturing spares for traction motors

May 6, 2017

DK Rewinds a Smethwick family business founded in 1976 by Mr Harbhajan Singh Bhogal, has two sites in the area, employing over 60 full time staff, including three electrical engineering apprentices.

It provides a “One Stop” repair and rewind service for traction motors in the utilities, rail (below) and industrial sectors.

It has a dedicated staff and specialist equipment providing a comprehensive maintenance service for those three sectors.

Its extensive CNC machine shop manufactures spares for many different types of electric motors in use all over the world today.

 The British rail freight company English, Welsh and Scottish Railway Company (EWS) was taken over by DB Schenker but trains still carry the EWS liveries and logos

The company was visited last year by London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Val Shawcross, who met staff and talked about their work.

Balvinder S Bhogal, managing director and Val Shawcross

DK Rewinds supplies components and undertakes repairs to keep London Underground trains operational. It specialises in repairing the traction motors that power Central Line trains, producing new components for motors that match the originals so that faulty trains can be quickly fixed and brought back into service.

Balvinder Bhogal said: “We have been working with Transport for London for 30 years as a key supplier. This has enabled DK Rewinds to invest in our workforce, which includes training apprentice and graduate engineers. The work we receive from TfL is very important to the Midlands and the region benefits greatly from these business links.”

The latest news: DK Rewinds attended the Freight in the City’s summit, Improving the last mile’, on 1st March 2017 at Edgbaston Stadium.

 

 

 

k


Subcon Lasers: ‘in the forefront’ due to continual investment in the latest technology

April 16, 2017

Subcon Laser Cutting, based in Nuneaton, invests in the latest technology available to keep at the forefront of a rapidly changing and challenging manufacturing environment.

Business Desk published news of its acquisition of the UK’s first 8kw fibre laser cutting system with Cooline technology, which helps to cut fine detail into thick material and is controlled remotely using the latest iPad technology. This machine, installed at the end of 2016, was supplied and made by the Trumpf Group in Germany and the investment is already opening up opportunities including new orders from India, with further enquiries from Belgium, Switzerland and Italy.

Production Engineering Excellence Magazine, which covers the latest technological developments relevant to production engineers and managers, reports that Subcon Laser Cutting received the CET Coventry & Warwickshire ‘Excellence in Manufacturing’ award. The winners were announced at a gala dinner and presentation night at the Ricoh Arena in October.

This interesting photograph shows Subcon’s 5 Axis Laser Cutting TruLaser Cell 7040. Though  other laser cutting services will only work on flat sheet, bar and plate, the 5 axis service is involved with creating high quality 3D parts. It is highly regarded by the automotive industry because it is versatile – can work with anything ranging from prototype/body to supporting all kinds of production lines.

Tom Mongan, general manager of Subcon Laser Cutting, speaks in similar vein to the one of the co-founders of this website, Peter Davies (Professional Polishing, Smethwick), who noted that although the usual downbeat attitude to manufacturing persists, when he attends business gatherings the attitude is buoyant, with news of orders coming in.

Mr Mongan said: “Depending on what you read or who you listen to, they say UK manufacturing lags behind our EU counterparts in productivity and investment, well not from where I am standing and I would like to know who is providing the statistics and information”.

p

p

p

p


Zaun, another successful West Midlands manufacturer

February 25, 2017

.

zaun-logo Zaun, which makes high security and perimeter systems steel fencing, has an extensive range of perimeter fencinghigh security fencingsports equipmentautomatic electric gatessecurity bollards and hostile vehicle mitigation products. It designs and provides equipment for homes, housing estates, business premises, commercial properties, parks, public space and the perimeter of play and sport areas.

The company was originally based in Rupert Street in Birmingham, importing mesh from Germany, but relocated to a larger five-acre site on Steel Drive in Wolverhampton and has 44 employees according to its Owler profile, though its Linked-in site says, confusingly, that it has 51-200.

After this move, it invested in the Paul Holloway Manufacturing Facility (named after a former employee). This now houses the world’s largest mesh weaving machine which produces the firm’s ArmaWeave, its most intruder-resistant product for the high security market. In 2016, Zaun bought a new tube laser cutter, a further mesh welding line and automated other key processes to enhance its manufacturing capabilities and cut out waste. Additional bailers and squashers have boosted recycling while a new forklift truck has improved materials handling.

  • 2012: Zaun was the largest supplier of temporary high security fencing systems to the London Olympics
  • 2013: it protected the top secret Bilderberg Conference at The Grove Hotel near Watford;
  • 2013: its equipment was used at the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland;
  • 2014: it provided fencing for the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague
  • and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games,
  • 2015: Zaun was awarded the coveted Security Industry Product of the Year
  • 2015 Award from Security Industry E-Mag

zaun

Zaun celebrated its 20th anniversary in November 2016.

.

.

.

.


Walsall-based Albert Jagger decides to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability  

January 27, 2017

jagger_logoWalsall-based Albert Jagger is a large manufacturer and suppliers to the commercial vehicle bodybuilder, boat builder, agricultural and engineering industries in the UK.

It has consolidated its supply chain by acquiring Prestwood Engineering. one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. Prestwood employees are being retained and will join the100-strong workforce at Albert Jagger.

Prestwood, also based in Walsall, is one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. It specialises in low and medium volumes for the spare parts and after-market industries, supplying countries worldwide.

jagger-building

Corporate finance partner Andy Kay said: “The strategic thinking behind the deal was to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability and was the result of a strategic review of the business we conducted with the directors.” Mr Kay was supported on the deal by CCW partner Johnathan Dudley and corporate finance manager Chasz Coulsting, who said:

“Albert Jagger have taken a long hard look at the events of 2016 and made the decision to bring some of their manufacturing closer to home. Prestwood Engineering was an ideal fit and provides both increased and varied capacity as well as economies of scale and distance.”


Webster and Horsfall of Hay Mills: on the Times’ SME 2016 FastTrack list

September 14, 2016

 webster-h

 webster-h-jpeg

Part of the FastTrack citation included this paragraph: “Founded in 1720, this family firm works with Birmingham University to develop its wire technologies for customers in the oil, gas, pharmaceutical and automotive industries. Led by chairman Charles Horsfall, 60, it lifted overseas sales to £2.4m in 2015, through online marketing and trade shows”.

Our 2014 history of this company which took us up to 1945, omitted news of its nineteenth century innovations – under Joseph Webster –  in the manufacture of music wire in the first half of the century which led to dramatic improvements in the quality of the sound produced by the concert piano of the age allowing the virtuosity of pianists such as Chopin and Liszt to attain even greater heights

In its account of the laying of the transatlantic telegraph cable there was no record that an earlier attempt to lay the cable had failed due to the inferior wire used in its construction, and that Webster and Horsfall was ‘the only company in existence’ able to manufacture wire of sufficient quality to ensure the success of the cable (1866). The Hay Mills Foundation Trust* has, within the archives, a complete record of the company’s part in the enterprise.

A post-war update is provided by the 2007 Telegraph obituary of its chairman, Col. John Coldwell-Horsfall

Following an extensive account of his military career, we read: “In 1946 Horsfall returned to England to take over the running of the family firm, Webster and Horsfall of Hay Mills, Birmingham. The firm, a manufacturer of Atlantic cable, mining ropes and many types of industrial wire, was in severe difficulties at a time of rising post-war demand. Horsfall immediately embarked on a programme of modernisation, scrapping old plant, reducing overmanning whilst maintaining good relations with the trades unions, and taking no salary himself until the firm was back in profit and had cleared its debts. It was back in profit by the end of the year, and by 1966 was enjoying the prosperity it had had in its heyday under his father”.

Proposals to help safeguard jobs within the company, as well as regenerate one of the most deprived areas of the city

In 2014 we reported that work was now underway to redevelop their ten acre Tyseley site as an industrial park with industrial, storage and distribution space. The buildings of architectural interest on the factory site, including the former workers’ housing on the Fordrough and a former schoolroom, will not be affected by the redevelopment proposals. Charles Horsfall, chairman of Webster & Horsfall, believes the proposals will help safeguard jobs within the company, as well as regenerate one of the most deprived areas of the city: “The development of our Tyseley site will generate an income stream from our surplus land to help us do this”.

*The Hay Mills Foundation Trust

webster-hay_mills_school_room_birminghamThe three hundred year history of manufacturing steel wire and wire rope in Birmingham and the histories of the people who worked here is being brought to life at Hay Mills.

Working with the archives of Webster and Horsfall, Birmingham’s oldest manufacturing business, in James Webster’s schoolroom (right) volunteers are delving into employment records and the worlds of music, transport, armaments, telecommunications, mining, oil, food production and health showing how the developments and inventions created here have been at the centre of some of significant and historic industrial events over the last three centuries.

The chairman said: “Our goal is to reach our 300th anniversary, in 2020, fighting fit” –  and it is possible that, with over 114 employees, this British SME with its fast-growing international sales will one day be too large to qualify for that title and so for this website.

 

For more historical information, go to http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/nra/lists/GB-800819-Webster.htm

 

 

 


Brooks Forgings

July 21, 2016

Brooks Forgings, established in 1960, is a leading UK supplier of hot-forged and machined fastener components. Its head office is in Cradley Heath and its manufacturing base (below) is in Lye, Stourbridge.

brooks manufacturing

Its in-house manufacturing capability enables the company to produce standard and special-forged fasteners to meet their customers’ specific requirements.

The company’s dedicated warehousing facilities (below), currently housing over 2500 laden pallets. Manufactured components are held in stock, enabling immediate despatch, for customers requiring orders on a ‘call off’ basis.

warehouse-brooks-forgings

Each warehouse is equipped with fully calibrated weighing equipment, label printers, stock tracking capabilities and packaging materials.

brooks forging hot cell

Brooks offers a complete and comprehensive package of services to its customers, providing project management and technical advice, incorporating design, prototype development and manufacturing through to final product supply. This improves lead times, eliminates reliance on sub-contractors and ensures full traceability and quality of components.

 

It is a single manufacturing source of forged fasteners for clients worldwide

 brooks2 forging header

 

 

 

 


Crofts & Assinder

May 29, 2016

crofts logoEarlier this month Pamela Pinski wrote about Crofts & Assinder Limited based in Lombard Street, Digbeth, “the birth place of industry in Birmingham”.

On the company website we read that in 1875 George Crofts and Frederick Assinder started trading as brass founders in Lombard Street, Digbeth (below: the latest premises).

They specialised in the design and manufacture of cabinet handles and fittings and now use a range of materials including: brass, steel, cast Iron, zinc (mazak/zamak) ceramic, glass, acrylic, plastic and wood. Their products have been used in Rolls-Royces, London’s Ritz and Waldorf hotels, the White House in Washington and the Titanic.

crofts factory

Chief executive, Alex Crofts, the great-great grandson of founder George Crofts has pressed for more schools, and more students, to take an interest in manufacturing and engineering when it’s perceived as an undesirable career choice? Changes to educational funding have meant that the teaching of practical skills in some schools and colleges is reducing, meaning that students miss out on the chance to experience new skills and learn about our industry as a career. He writes about this subject which is taken seriously by other producers featured on this site:

”To address the skills gap, we should look closer to home. It’s important that we don’t forget our existing staff and we invest our time and money in order to teach them new skills. Moreover, individuals who have worked in a company for many years possess traditional skills, which are just as important as modern and technically advanced skills”.

“[T]he UK Commission for Employment and Skills 2016 survey revealed that ‘the modest economic growth of the past four years has been met by an unprecedented shortage of skills, leaving thousands of vacancies unfilled’. In my opinion, the lack of skills could be down to the decline in students wishing to pursue a career in manufacturing.

” . . . [I]ndustry must work closely with teachers and career officers in schools and colleges to offer work experience placements and apprenticeships, which provide a true taste of the industry. Whether it’s through career talks and fairs, work experience, workplace day visits or career sessions with motivational speakers, it’s our job to support and inspire the next generation of young people.

In recent years, Brumhour reports, Crofts has made significant investments into their product design range and now offers an exclusive bespoke design service. This has been followed by a 40% rise in export sales across Australia, France, Benelux, Germany, China, North America and Russia.

For more information, see the Crofts & Assinder website here.