"The main purpose of the visit to Bridon International Ltd. was to give two of the newer IST staff members an insight into how the most commonly used spring steel wire is made – and it gave this “old lag” a chance to see what new developments Bridon had put in place since my last visit to the plant (back in the late 1990s).
Bridon now have a super new office and reception complex down the road from the main production plant, as well as their new “Technology Centre”.
My first impression of the rod store was how little stock is now held in comparison to 15 plus years ago. Back then, the stock yard would have been full with enough material for about 3 months production (or more). Now, there is generally only enough for 1 week of production, so a real example of “Just-In-Time” industrial practice. Nowadays, the stock doesn’t spend much time in store and, as a consequence, the risks from accidental damage are greatly reduced.
Environmental practices were clearly more up-to-date and this was immediately obvious in the rod acid cleaning area. Air flows across the acid baths to extraction/purging equipment has significantly reduced the amount of fume in the air. Similarly, there was much emphasis on energy saving (more insolation in the heat treatment areas) and recycling of waste cooling waters.
Much of the wire production plant was very similar to that of my last visit, as the actual process of wire drawing hasn’t changed – probably the most noticeable difference was that there appeared to be fewer personnel on production floor as there was more automatic fault detection on the machines and so, consequently, less need for visual monitoring.
Alas, the former rope making plant was largely silent as that production has transferred to the Bridon Neptune Quay facility on the River Tyne.
I’m now looking for other companies to take to these two staff to so that they can learn more about our industry – Any offers?" Margaret O'Malley, Membership Services Manager
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