Gearing up for growth
Established in 1973, Control Gear Group has grown into one of the largest independent fluid power group of companies operating in the UK today.
Since its formation the company has expanded continuously ensuring an unrivalled portfolio of quality products and services that encompasses compressors, pneumatic and hydraulic control equipment, filtration systems and replacement elements, spray equipment, process pumps, hydraulic/industrial hoses and most recently, an integrated systems division and diversely a corporate/safety clothing division.
“We’re a fluid power, engineering and distribution company that concentrates on providing a true value in use offering to our customers,” says Gareth Bevan, by way of an introduction to the Group. “Our aim is to use our technical knowledge to continually provide our customers with products and services that pay for themselves by identifying areas within our customers’ businesses for ongoing savings or increased productivity. This is achieved in many ways, from identifying energy saving solutions or improvements to customers stockholding and purchase arrangements through to complete turnkey systems that increase our customers’ end product quality, uptime and total cost of ownership.
“As a group of companies we employ over 100 people, our turnover is in excess of £16 million and our stock holding is £2.5 million,” he continues. “We concentrate on delivering a broad spectrum of fluid power goods and services that enable our customers to reduce inventory and the number of suppliers.
“Continuous improvement to our service and product offering is vital to the sustained growth of our company. We recently created a systems build division to integrate electronics and mechanics for running process lines, and ensuring quality control by utilising state-of-the-art vision systems. Whatever the size of project, Control Gear offers specialist staff with detailed knowledge in the areas of design, pneumatic/hydraulic control, electronics, robotics, vision systems, programming, bar coding, SCADA data capture and full systems integration. Our main focus at present is on developing our systems business and making customers aware of the broad spectrum of goods and services we’re offering. We’re probably one of the largest fluid power companies in the UK.”
Considering what it is that helps Control Gear stand out in the marketplace, Gareth reveals that it’s a simple matter of providing customers with a supplier they can trust and the best service possible: “Our commitment to service is very important – we offer a true 24-hour service, 365 days of the year and we’re competitively priced. We have a high number of extremely technical staff that are freely available to our customers and, owing to our broad range of products and services, we present a very attractive proposition.”
Unsurprisingly, a plethora of high profile organisations choose to work with Control Gear and the company is able to utilise its experience for the benefit of its industry, as Gareth reveals: “We recently carried out a £500,000 project with a prestigious Blue Chip company, which was a coin packaging and weighing machine. It’s just been installed and completion has taken just six months. We’ve also recently become a satellite centre for the National Fluid Power Association, which will offer local businesses the opportunity to come to our premises in South Wales to be trained without the expense of going to the National Fluid Power Centre – a recognised university for our industry. We’ll be training fluid power engineers on electro-hydraulic systems and pneumatics, which is quite a new development for us. We are on the advisory board for this Association, which gives the opportunity to share experiences and discuss further requirements for training with similar organisations across the UK.”
In light of these developments, Gareth is feeling optimistic about the Group’s future, particularly now that market conditions are improving as the recession loosens its grip on the world’s markets. “We have been impacted, mainly because some our activities involve car and steel manufacturers, and so that area of our business has reduced dramatically,” Gareth comments. “We’ve managed to get through the downturn without reducing our workforce beyond a handful of redundancies, owing in part to the company directors and employees demonstrating their commitment to the business and each other.”
Elaborating on the Group’s future activities, Gareth explains how, as the business is set out into various different sections, each area has its own growth plan. He reports: “The first phase of the growth plan is a very important step for us – we’ve launched ourselves into process filtration and been awarded distribution with 3M Cuno Process Filtration, the market leader in this sector. We intend to grow this area of pure process filters over the next three years.
“We’ve also been appointed as distributors by 3M Abrasives for its finishing equipment and supplementary products. Additionally, we intend to strengthen our systems business, so that we get more involved with the design, build and installation of full turnkey packages. Our Pirtek on-site hose service has also continued to grow. It offers a truly professional emergency service where we attend sites within the hour and manufacture the hoses safely using fully trained personnel, with the technical back up from the group this provides our customers with an unrivalled service.
“A new area of business that Control Gear has added to its portfolio, which has less emphasis on the more technical products and solutions, is its workwear and accessories division. This is based at both our Swansea and Pontypridd depots where we have made investments into our own embroidery machines. This new division supports not only our current customers with both corporate and safety clothing, but has also launched us into a whole new area providing local schools and colleges with uniforms and even the public with such products as sports kits. This new business development has strengthened our relationships with the local community and on the back of this we are offering school placements with the hope that more school leavers become aware of a possible career in fluid power engineering.”
With full support from major manufacturers such as Atlas Copco, 3M, Pall, Norgren, Parker, Pirtek, and Donaldson, Control Gear can be safe in the knowledge of having the most innovative of products and service offering for its customers.
With such a clear idea of what is to be achieved in the coming years, Control Gear Group is on course for an interesting and successful future, that will likely be characterised by organic growth and strong alliances with all respected UK firms.
Control Gear Group Ltd
Services: Design, build, installation, servicing and distributing fluid power products and services