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Featuring Blackhill Engineering Services: Interview with Dan Baker, Business Development Manager

Featuring Blackhill Engineering Services: Interview with Dan Baker, Business Development Manager

Blackhill Engineering Services – The Provider of Choice

(The Following is a Promoted Article)

There’s nowhere quite like the UK for quality assurance in the manufacturing and engineering industry, asserts Dan Baker, Business Development Manager at Blackhill Engineering Services. And we are very much a part of that ethic. With outstanding technical aptitude and a willingness to improve and develop, Blackhill Engineering Services is a company which demonstrates a flexibility and proficiency which is certain to secure its future.

Originally established in the fifties as the choice engineering support services provider for the English China Clays quarrying group, Blackhill Engineering Services has since expanded and diversified its operations to the extent that it has becoming something of a one-stop-shop in large-scale machining and fabrication. Indeed, boasting the largest physical machining capability within the South West, and matching the capacity of some of the biggest and best across the UK, its expertise lies in big – and it has big ambitions to boot.

Since its privatisation in the late seventies and subsequent procurement by SC Group, the company has diversified its aims enormously and now supports a number of key industries, including: defence, marine, quarrying, construction, petrochemical, and powder-processing. Since establishing in-house design capabilities and establishing collaborative contracts with suppliers, Blackhill Engineering Services has developed a complete end-to-end manufacturing and engineering service, particularly well-suited to single unit or low volume production.

It’s to SC Group that the company owes much of its recent development; Blackhill Engineering Services has not only modernised and improved its existing offering, but quickly sought to explore new avenues and add further capabilities to what is already a plethora of expertise. As Dan Baker makes clear: Following SC Group’s takeover, one of the first things we did was seek ISO 9001 certification, recognising it to be a necessity in quality assurance sector-wide.

The company has since sought further accreditation and was recently audited for ISO 1090 in structural steelwork. With its successful accreditation, Blackhill Engineering Services will be able to build up to Execution Class 3, enabling it to work on projects such as multi-storey car parks, apartment blocks, or smaller roads and footbridges.

Not just providing an entry into public sector and larger contracts, ISO 1090 certification is also hoped to facilitate Blackhill Engineering Service’s future diversification aspirations. As Baker continues, The ISO 1090 encompasses many of the welding and fabrication standards required for working in the oil and gas, petrochemical and defence sectors and allows us to access those divergent markets. Ordinarily, you’d have to seek lots of different standards but with ISO 1090, we’re able to traverse sectors easily and, in the same vein, for us to get an aerospace certification certificate, it’s a much smaller step up.

And, indeed, not neglecting the nearby development of Hinkley Point C and its soon-to-be online presence, Blackhill Engineering Services is preparing for a new foray into the nuclear sector. This year, the company has readied itself for nuclear audit and is working toward certification with a view to welcoming the new business the development is sure to bring to the region.

With nuclear on the horizon, and the preservation of its client base across marine, defence, oil and gas, and renewables industries, Blackhill Engineering has made significant changes to its machining and fabrication capabilities, investing heavily in its tooling equipment with a view to maintaining the quality of workmanship evident across products, projects and sectors. The company is currently in the process of clearing one of the workshops in order to install a new travelling column. Due for completion in February 2016, the new feature on the production line will be completely CNC-controlled, and add further manufacturing capacity as well as further machining capabilities.

Certainly not confined to next year, however, the company is currently enjoying the use of state-of-the-art fabrication machines which, again, have the twofold ability to enhance quantity and quality. Dan Baker provides further detail: We’ve just put in six top of the range welding sets which are self-calibrating meaning you can programme the machine specific to the procedure required. Not only does it mean the quality of the welds is always controlled, but it also makes our fabricators better at their job. They can worry about what the materials are doing and getting the dimensions right rather than the actual settings on the welder.

In view of Blackhill Engineering Services’ progressive approach to manufacturing and engineering and its will to do more, and do better, the company has attracted a host of high-profile clients and succeeded in delivering pioneering products to some of the most challenging projects. Amongst customers such as the RNLI or the Supacat Jackal vehicle, the company has proven, time and time and again, its unparalleled proficiency in high precision machining at large diameters and sizes.

Our USP is size, corroborates Dan Baker. We can lift 60t units in a single go, and we can machine envelopes up to five cubic metres in size. The guys that we have been working these machines can’t be beaten in their knowledge and ability to deal with the larger diameters and volumes we encounter. We can therefore ensure our products are built with the highest of tolerances and that the customer gets top quality work.

Its task force is something the company holds in high esteem. It’s an ethic which has been inherited from parent company, SC Group, which observes a family-orientated approach to business with respect to the four companies within the group structure. Blackhill Engineering Services, specifically, strives to facilitate career progression for its staff and promotes training and development at every level. The current General Manager’s acceleration through the ranks from shop floor operative is case in point and the company continues to provide opportunities for those showing promise.

Priding itself on looking after its own, Blackhill Engineering Services retains that principle when working with suppliers. Actively seeking to source components as locally as possible, the company often makes use of materials from South Wales and therefore minimising its haulage miles. In-coming and outgoing deliveries of core material are also condensed according to destination with a view to using transport more efficiently and reducing the company’s carbon emissions.

Promising further diversification and development in the coming years, Blackhill Engineering Services is showing no sign of slowing down. And with superb quality products, and lean and focused processes, it’s a company with all the necessary faculties to straddle multiple markets with finesse.

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