Investing to stay ahead

Uploaded 26 Oct @ 11:17am

Preston-based Industrial laminates specialist, Attwater & Sons, has invested another £100,000 in two new CNC machines, maintaining the company’s position at the forefront of its sector.

The company has purchased two Haas TM-3P vertical milling machines to replace two older machine tools. In addition to working faster, the TM-3Ps also consume less power than Attwater’s previous machining centres, cutting energy bills and boosting the company’s green credentials.

The machining centres include 10-station automatic tool changers with a one metre bed, making it ideal for Attwater’s work in the aerospace, power generation and industrial sectors. Production director, Andy Goode, says the advanced Renishaw probing systems allow machine operators to find datum points more quickly and size the tooling considerably faster than previously, resulting in less down time.

He says: “We are very pleased with the results so far. The probing system is phenomenal, it simplifies the operation and is more efficient.” Attwater is currently marking its 150th year of manufacturing, having begun as a ship’s chandlers in Preston, Lancashire, in 1868. Since then, the company has grown to become a world-class manufacturer in many sectors such as marine, power generation and aerospace to name a few.

Motorsports is another key industry sector for the company, and one that is a particular passion for Managing Director, Richard Attwater, who recently fulfil a longstanding ambition of being part of the world-famous Dakar Rally.

During the Company’s 150th anniversary year, he joined long-time friend and fellow motorcyclist Lyndon Poskitt, overseeing media coverage along the full 5,700-mile journey between Bolivia and Argentina in January. Attwater Group has supported Lyndon in previous races, providing carbon fibre composites that help keep his bike strong yet lightweight.
Lyndon is a multi-skilled B.Eng educated, Chartered professional engineer who ‘cut his teeth’ in the aerospace industry where he spent 17 years working on multi-national projects. Proven experience in design and manufacturing engineering, airframe qualification, test engineering, flight test instrumentation, aerodynamic and flight systems test operations and integration management within a world leading defence and aerospace organisation. All of this along-side a life-long passion for motorcycles that has seen him racing all over the world in different disciplines of two wheeled motorsport for over 25 years. He has been building and modifying his own race bikes and engines since the age of 10, guided by his father Robin and self-taught, he has a massive amount of knowledge and experience about all things motorcycle.

Good to know as, although Richard was along for the ride, he was not able to offer technical assistance once the gruelling race began, as one major rule is that entrants in Lyndon’s class must carry their own spare parts and make all repairs themselves.

Instead, he recorded the event and beamed satellite video footage back to event organisers and Lyndon’s supporters every day. Lyndon, an experienced racer who has competed around the world, has earned a strong media following by posting regular updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter during previous events. This year, he raised enough funding through Kickstarter to add daily vlogging, helicopter footage and satellite uplink time.

Richard explains: “I have always wanted to see the Dakar Rally and be a part of it. Around 4,000 people are involved in this renowned event and it is the biggest race in the world, moving across the desert every day.

“With Attwater’s landmark anniversary, it is important to take pride in our work and celebrate our achievements. The Dakar Rally has long been a dream for me personally and professionally, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

Richard travelled with a cameraman to record Lyndon’s progress every day. He adds “We were there in the bivouac each evening and morning, watching him service his bike and capturing a true warts-and-all behind the scenes look at one of the world’s most exciting races.”

To date, Lyndon has covered over 150,000 km and 50 countries on this bike and raced in five International cross-country races over four continents showcasing what many people now see at the most capable and durable adventure motorcycles ever.

The Attwater Group began trading in Preston exactly 150 years ago and it has been a leading player in the development and manufacture of industrial laminates and insulation materials for over 80 years. Its products are used in countless applications throughout the world, including, aerospace, rail, automotive, marine, defence, white goods, switchgear and test equipment manufacture.

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