Major investment for hydraulics firm

A LEADING East Anglian hydraulics specialist, with a history of more than 30 years' success in the industry, has invested in its first large-capacity manual/computer controlled combination lathe.

A LEADING East Anglian hydraulics specialist, with a history of more than 30 years' success in the industry, has invested in its first large-capacity manual/computer controlled combination lathe.

Ipswich Hydraulics Ltd has acquired a top-of-the-range Colchester-Harrison Alpha 1800XS unit made by Yorkshire-based 600 UK - part of 600 Group, Britain's largest manufacturer and distributor of machine tools.

Ipswich Hydraulics' managing director, Spence Deakin, said the move represented a major step towards achieving the company's goal of self sufficiency in carrying out all types of turning work in-house, made necessary by the declining number of specialist sub-contractors in the present economic climate.

The seven tonne machine also provides the company with the means to turn large components for applications in new industry sectors which it has already identified, especially in the growth area of large-scale, hydraulically-operated flood defence barriers and similar environment-based projects.


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“It is essential for us to invest in the right equipment for the future,” said Mr Deakin. “Our customers in all sectors demand work which is produced to the highest levels of quality and accuracy to increasingly fast turnaround times. Lead times are becoming shorter all the time.”

The computer numerically controlled capability of the machine offered an important advantage in successfully meeting these demands, he added, and because so many of the big sub-contractors in the UK had gone, self sufficiency was the way the hydraulics manufacturing industry was moving.

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During its early years the family-run company, founded by Mr Deakin's father, Mel, in 1978, concentrated on making hydraulic rams, cylinders and power packs, but more recently it has achieved an international reputation as a designer, manufacturer, supplier and installer of bespoke hydraulic systems for “turn-key” projects, for example in the dockside, marine and specialist vehicle sectors.

Many of the projects which incorporate systems manufactured by Ipswich Hydraulics are supplied to end-user customers abroad. Last year, in which the company celebrated its 30th anniversary, overseas sales topped 60% of its output.

One such high profile international contract was a mobile race-control unit for one of the world's leading and best-known Formula 1 motor racing teams.

Nearer to home Ipswich Hydraulics Ltd, which has around 10,000 square feet of manufacturing space at its base on Boss Hall Industrial Estate and employs 15 people, also offers its UK-based customers a full repair and re-manufacturing service for a wide range of hydraulic equipment.

The Colchester Lathe Company, now part of the 600 Group, was formed in Colchester in 1887. Production was transferred from Essex to Yorkshire in 1992 but the Colchester brand remains one of the top names in the industry.

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