Ipswich/Woodbridge: Engineers from PIX Europe ‘proud’ to contribute to Woodbridge Tide Mill project

IPSWICH-based engineers say they are proud to have been a “driving force” in a major restoration project.

PIX V-belts have been installed in Woodbridge Tide Mill, the last commercially working tide mill in the UK.

The landmark building on the River Deben was recently reopened as a working mill following a �1.25m restoration project which took 18 months to complete.

The mill, once owned by Henry VIII, was the last commercially working tide mill in the UK.

It only ceased operation in 1957 when the 22 inch square oak main shaft broke.

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The renovations to the present building, which dates from 1793, includes a new wheelhouse, protection for the building’s foundations and interactive exhibits.

Many of the drive mechanisms had to be redesigned, while maintaining the layout and integrity of the original structure. The upgrade was designed, and the work carried out by engineering specialists DPM Mechanical and Electrical. As close neighbours to PIX Europe, in Ipswich, DPM worked closely with PIX to redesign and modernise all the drives in the mill, including the bed stones and sack hoist.

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PIX Europe operations director Stewart Booth said: “We were delighted to play a small part in restoring such an iconic building – the engineering challenges were fascinating, to say the least.”

Some drives were able to benefit from PIX’s new Muscle Belt range, which not only transmit more power, but are also maintenance free.

The new 4 tonne water wheel, which measures 20 feet in diameter, was built at the International Boatbuilding Training College in Lowestoft and is probably the first wooden water wheel of such a size to have been made in a generation.

David Manning, Managing Director of DPM, said: “We felt privileged to be working on such a unique part of British Heritage. Whilst, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult projects we have undertaken, it has probably been the most rewarding.”

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