Suffolk-based Thermoreg Products Ltd’s thermostatic valves are used around the world, wherever the temperature of a fluid needs to be regulated.
The company’s ‘buy local’ (www.thermoreg.co.uk
) policy means that castings are sourced from nearby manufacturers and foundries, then machined, assembled and painted in its 9,000ft2
factory in Mildenhall.
Denis Smith began the business in 1979 with just a manual lathe and a mill.
It has since undergone significant growth, particularly in the last 15 years, and Mr Smith’s daughter — Abbie Chapman — attributes this to marketing.
“We focused on improving our Web site, which brought in a lot of business, and then we took the decision to invest
in our first CNC machine — a Haas VF-2 vertical machining centre.”
That machine — still run daily — has been joined by two more Haas vertical machining centres (www.haas.co.uk
) — the most recent of which is a VF-4.
This has an 8,100rev/min direct-drive spindle, a 20-station carousel tool changer and a capacity of 1,270 x 508 x 635mm.
“The valves we machine range in diameter from 3/4in to 6in, and the castings weigh up to 150kg. The VF-4 can tackle even our largest pieces, and it has cut some of our cycle times by 50%.”
The factory recently took delivery of its fourth Haas machine — an ST-15Y turning centre.
Thermoreg’s success has enabled Abbie and her husband — Thermoreg valve tester Kevin Chapman — to realise their dream of running a Top Fuel drag racing car.
Mr Chapman said: “I’ve been watching drag racing for 40 years. The car we bought was made in the USA, just like the Haas machines.”
The Thermoreg Racing Team competes in the European Funny Car series; it was the runner-up in its first year and was crowned European Funny Car Champion