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BPL invests £1 million in new 500-tonne press

Posted on 02 Apr 2024 and read 336 times
BPL invests £1 million in new 500-tonne pressLeft to right: Russell Hartill (Worcester Presses), Matt Adams, Joe Thornton (general manager) and Wayne Russon (all BPL Engineering Group)

One of the UK’s leading sheet metalwork specialists has extended its long-term partnership with Worcester Presses with a new £1 million investment. BPL Engineering Group,, which employs 40 people at its ‘state of the art’ facility on Catesby Park in Kings Norton, has installed a 500-tonne straight-sided, twin-crank Ching Fong to support its move into more medium- and high-volume work.

The press comes with a large bed, works high up the stroke, and is fitted with a unique 1m, three-in-one Tomac coil line, giving it the capacity to take on large parts destined for cars, lorries, and aeroplanes.

Matt Adams, operations director at BPL Engineering Group, said: “This latest Chin Fong is our biggest mechanical press to date and gives us the additional capacity to take on complex progression tools in medium to high volumes. There is a lot of opportunity to service new contracts with automotive clients and this machine will hopefully help us engage in new sectors looking for complex metal stamping where we can offer bespoke tooling solutions.”

He continued: “Installation, including a new isolated pit to cut vibrations, is now complete and we are looking to start running products off in the next few weeks. Four people will be trained to operate it, including several apprentices. We know what we are getting with the Chin Fong — great reliability, superb accuracy, and strong performance.

“However, it is the relationship we have with Worcester Presses, which is the real reason we keep turning to this press manufacturer. Russell Hartill and his team understand our business and the market opportunity and then put together tailored turnkey packages that not only meet, but surpass our performance expectations. The service and maintenance offers are also top class.”

Prototype to production

BPL Engineering Group offers access to toolmaking, press work, five-axis laser cutting, fabrication, robotic welding, assembly, and inspection services - all in prototype to production capability. It produces prototype parts and medium and high-volume components that are eventually used in cars manufactured by Aston Martin, Lotus and JLR, while the last few years have seen a major increase in the amount of work carried out for clients involved in aerospace, defence, medical and rail.

Worcester Presses managing director Russell Hartill said: “We are more than just a press supplier, and this is highlighted in the way that we have supported BPL for the last eight years. We have known the company since 2016 when Matt and Mick Adams had a requirement for a 300-tonne hydraulic press, and since then we have provided a further five presses including a 600-tonne hydraulic and now this latest 500-tonne progression set-up. All of this reinforces the success of the partnership.

“None of these machines have been off the shelf. The company had a specific production requirement or an opportunity, and we have worked closely with them to identify the best press and coil line, supported with installation, training and ongoing servicing. Each addition has made a positive difference and I look forward to the latest Chin Fong delivering the anticipated boost in sales.”

Worcester Presses has enjoyed a similar growth pattern to BPL, seeing sales for its range of hydraulic/mechanical presses and ancillary equipment rise by more than 50% since the pandemic. A significant part of this growth has come from the firm’s ability to tailor its standard equipment range to suit customer need, offering turnkey packages that include coil lines and tool protection and monitoring software.

Thanks to investment in CNC machining and the recruitment of two engineers, its Dudley factory also has the capability to provide an expansive spares and repairs service.