Framlingham-based Hatcher Components invests to match quality of top truck makers

The new temperature controlled area at Hatcher Components.
Picture: Hatcher Components

The new temperature controlled area at Hatcher Components. Picture: Hatcher Components - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk-based truck components manufacturer has made a “significant” investment in new technology to underpin quality standards.

Hatcher Components, which specialises in cab conversions to provide sleeping accommodation for drivers and kits to improve truck aerodynamics and fuel consumption, has introduced temperature control technology at its production facility at Parham, near Framlingham.

The company provides components for cabs made by leading commercial vehicle manufacturers such as DAF, MAN, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Scania, Volkswagen, Volvo and Iveco, and the investment had been made to ensure that its products match the build quality and finish of the original vehicle.

Managing director Matt Herbert said: “Many of our customers are very aware of the importance of how their brand is portrayed, including their fleet.

“When our clients take delivery of new vehicles it is undesirable to have their look even slightly impaired by an aerodynamic package or conversion that does not complement the build quality of the new vehicle.”

David Wright, production design engineer at Hatcher, explained that temperature is all-important when working with the glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) materials used by the company.

“It’s temperature that determines curing time but as factory temperature fluctuates so the reactivity of resins and gel coats need to be adjusted accordingly,” he said.

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“This is difficult to maintain in a manual production process - get it wrong and it can impair quality. By having process temperature control on our new production line the resin and gel face coat curing lines give a greater quality consistency.”

Combined with other investment in spray booth and mixing technology, the temperature control technology has helped to improve operational efficiency as well as maintain product consistency, added Mr Wright.

“It aids the handling and movement of raw materials. It’s all about controlling the process rather than the process controlling your productivity standard and consistency.

“Our aim was to optimise quality consistency with curing temperature stability. Our Customers will benefit from an improved product standard with the ever increasing raw material and energy costs being offset by better operational efficiency.”

Hatcher Components is part of the Framlingham-based Betts Group which also includes Broadwater Mouldings, a fibre reinforced plastics specialist at Ellough, near Beccles.