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This Gildemeister Twin 32 Lathe machine was built in Germany in 2001. This machine is operated throu
This Gildemeister Twin 32 Lathe machine was built in Germany in 2001. This machine is operated throu...

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New capabilities ‘put a spring in the step’ at William Hughes

Posted on 25 Jan 2022 and read 509 times
New capabilities ‘put a spring in the step’ at William HughesWhen Sertec made the decision to close its springs and wire forms division last year and put the assets up for sale, Emma Burgon, engineering director at Dorset-based William Hughes Ltd, spotted an opportunity to not only bolster her company’s existing capabilities, but to introduce new ones.

She said: “Because of the transfer of assets, we have acquired lots of extra machines. This means we have been able to increase our welding capacity — growing from eight weld cells to 12 — and we will be adding a further four bending machines, taking us up to 10 in total. We are also planning to move some plant to our facility in Bulgaria.

In some instances, the machines William Hughes has acquired are more modern than existing assets. Ms Burgon added: “We already have Itaya machines, but they are 10 years older than the Sertec machines, which also have some added functionality, so we are going to swap them out. We also picked up five coiling machines.”

The company’s toolroom at its Stalbridge site has now been repositioned within the factory to create more space for its specialist automotive spring-making projects, and to house the newly acquired machinery.

Ms Burgeon continued: “Two years ago the tool room was very quiet, but towards the end of 2020 everything exploded with lots of new orders.”

William Hughes now has six welding frames, two of which required completely new tooling and one with tooling that needed extensive modification in order to comply with the company’s standards.

She added: “We also added a three-axis XYZ vertical machining centre and an EDM wire eroder, which we are in the process of refurbishing. We have never had an EDM capability before, and although it is a new technology for us, our toolroom manager is convinced that it will really speed things up as it can pre-cut blocks prior to CNC milling.

As a result of its existing sales efforts, the new machines and the additional capacity, William Hughes has recently won significant business for welded-assembly work and contracts for six new wire frames for two of the world’s leading Tier One automotive suppliers.

Ms Burgeon concluded: “Our additional capacity and capabilities, not just here in the UK, but also in our Bulgarian and Polish plants have put us in good position moving forwards.”