Twiflex Moves To New UK Manufacturing Site With £1 Million Investment From Parent Company Altra
Heavy duty brake manufacturer Twiflex, part of the global Altra industrial clutch, brake and couplings group, has moved to new manufacturing premises in Bedford, England. Altra has made a significant investment in new machine tools, planning, training and logistics to achieve a much larger and more flexible manufacturing facility that can accommodate the full range of Twiflex products, plus a wide range of clutches and brakes from allied Altra brands Wichita and Stieber.
Twiflex has moved its manufacturing base from Twickenham in Greater London to Bedford in the East Midlands providing better access to road and airfreight routes. The Bedford site is also owned by Altra, as opposed to the previous Twickenham which was leased. Twiflex has also opened a state-of-the-art sales, administration and technical support centre in Twickenham, retaining the original contact telephone numbers and staff.
The merits of such a move had been discussed for over three years; however, an extremely busy production period had prevented the move being practical before now. However, in 2009 the relative lull in sales orders presented the ideal opportunity to revisit these discussions and following a TUPE negotiation the manufacturing functions were transferred from Twickenham to Bedford in 2010.
Jonathan Cooksley Sales Director
“We were extremely fortunate to get the timing right for this move, order levels have bounced back significantly in 2010, growing by over 23% just as we completed the manufacturing changeover. The new multi-axis combination CNC machines have been integrated into an extremely efficient lean manufacturing process, based around multi-disciplinary manufacturing cells that now provide the engineering capacity to match the increase in production demand.”
Close to 80% of Twiflex sales are exported, the majority to heavy industry customers in the mining, marine and utility sectors. Several international markets are showing significant growth for the business that provides standard braking systems with stopping power up to 16millionNm of braking torque. Target countries include China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia and South America, all of which are investing in mining, heavy industry and infrastructure projects.
The forward order book is said to be substantial and the new production capacity has equipped Twiflex with the engineering resource to deliver going forwards. Sharing the larger production facility with sister brands Wichita and Stieber means that there has been a significant efficiency gain in terms of supplier logistics and export logistics as many of the product solutions serve the same markets and in some case the same customers.
Jonathan Cooksley adds, “The synergies are significant with solutions from each brand suiting different set-ups in similar applications, the difference between hydraulic or electric power, or a gearless AC system versus a geared DC system demanding a safety brake or a mechanical clutch. We are also able to meet a far wider range of product volumes, from one-offs to medium size production runs economically; hence our customers will be the ultimate beneficiaries or our expansion.”
The Bedford production site is one of eight Altra manufacturing plants within the EU, each of which is linked to the Altra global sales network and operates under the Altra lean production system which ensures both product performance, quality and availability of product to an international market are guaranteed.