September 22, 2010 - If manufacture in the UK is “dead”, nobody told AESSEAL plc: a producer of precision engineered mechanical seals and other machine equipment. Their Component Seals division alone (a small portion of group sales) is on track to break $10 million this year
The parent company, AESSEAL, has its largest manufacture plant is in Rotherham, UK. The secret to their success sounds very strange to the manufacturing industry: they say it’s all about service- and research and development. A statesman quoted the country’s mantra: “To deliver such exceptional service that our customers need never consider alternative sources of supply.”
Maybe the key to making manufacture work in a Western country then is to focus on precise engineering, service, and expertise, leaving the mass-produced, imprecise products to the developing nations. And of course, it helps to have an international presence: AESSEAL has offices in 32 countries, spreading their risk to specific currencies and economic trends.
Investment, the company says, is also crucial. For instance, the company has recently invested in two machines worth over $1.1 million each, and continues a very active research and development programme: reinvesting literally millions of dollars per year in further improving the designs. The company has 54 patents granted, with a further 46 pending, and operates 158 trademarks.
Mechanical seals are used in pumping equipment, to keep the material being pumped from contaminating the external environment, and vice-versa. Applications range from simple, mass-produced seals of the kind that keep your washing machine from leaking, all the way through to customised high-end, gas tight seals which play crucial roles in industrial refineries; preventing explosions and other serious hazards.
Component seals are pre-assembled, and designed to be fitted easily to specific makes and models of pump, and tend to be smaller, simpler and cheaper than their heavyweight counterparts. In this market, information is key: “We spend a lot on IT”, the company says, “we have custom software to help us match the exact right seal to the environment. Important factors in selecting a seal include the speed of the pump (shaft RPM), typical operating temperature, the pressure of both the material being sealed and the barrier fluid outside, the fluid... it’s all very technical, and has to be just right.” But most of all, the company says, “You need to be a world class expert on your product. It is where expertise meets manufacture that the UK can succeed.”
Sam Smith, Marketing Coordinator
Global Technology Centre
Tel. No: 01709 514236