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Penn Elcom Invests in Washington Facility
UK – Multinational flightcase hardware and 19-inch racking manufacturer Penn Elcom continues to invest in all its facilities to ensure the production process stays efficient, state-of-the-art and meeting the increased demands following the launch of global online sales portal, pennelcomonline.com in January 2016.
A range of new engineering equipment has been installed at the Washington, Tyne & Wear HQ over the last 18 months, including new metal brake presses, plastic injection moulding machines, riveting assembly lines and machinery to enhance processes like wood laminating, PVC / HPL, zinc plating and powder coating. There have also been upgrades to the warehousing and distribution departments.
Consolidating all these key manufacturing processes under one roof and minimising sub-contracting enables Penn Elcom to have a high degree of control over its products, which guarantees meticulous quality control and the high standards for which the brand is renowned.
“It also makes the company versatile, agile and responsive to client needs,” explained David Brown, MD of Penn Elcom UK.
The 105,000 square foot Washington plant is divided between manufacturing and warehousing and currently employs 133 full time staff, out of a total of 194 in the UK. The others are based at the Hastings facility in East Sussex, giving Penn excellent coverage and fast deliveries all over the UK and beyond.
The company also has major manufacturing bases and distribution centres in Mexico and China. These four facilities are the bedrock of a highly successful worldwide trade operation.
With annual global sales of around £60 million, about £14 million of this was generated in the UK last year, a 12% increase from previous figures.
The ten new power presses installed in Washington range in pressure application capacity from 80 tonnes to 250 tonnes. The total investment for this alone, including assorted periphery equipment like feeders, decoilers and monitoring equipment etc. has been over £400K.
It adds flexibility to the production process and enables a wide range of tasks from manual single stage operations to multi-stage progression production to be completed to the same Penn Elcom standards.
The new presses offer other advantages like reduced power consumption and add safety features like very reliable integral light-triggered guards (as opposed to the older physical ones).
David explains that Penn is also trialling a new monitoring system designed to allow one operative to run multiple presses simultaneously.
Around £50K has been ploughed into the CNC machining centre resulting in enhanced tool making capabilities. Sophisticated low volume runs can now be produced more cost-efficiently which is benefiting concept and custom projects, trials and design ideas for future product development.
The new injection moulding machine is also greener to operate and more energy efficient than previous models, with a greater production versatility.
An additional powder coating booth has been added to the processing line in Washington, so different and custom colours can be run without incurring any down time.
Substantial quantities of new racking infrastructure has resulted in the logistics and dispatch departments being able to further optimise the warehousing space and fine-tune quick and efficient organisation and movement of stock yet further.
Tied in to the ongoing investments and the success of the processes, explains David, is maintaining strong relationships with their raw material suppliers – like steel, other metals and wood – and keeping these as local and accessible as possible.
The UK’s manufacturing output is shipped across Europe via Penn Elcom’s German distribution centre in Emmerich, and regularly via containers to the North and South American depots.
18th July 2017
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