Mellish Engineering Services

Bolting ahead

Mellish Engineering Services is a family run, UK based, engineering company, specialising in the supply and manufacture of high integrity, safety critical bolting solutions.

It was established by chairman Peter Rattenberry with his son, works director Andy Rattenberry and nephew, UK sales director Matt Rattenberry more than 12 years ago, with directors Mark and Andrew Rattenberry joining the team soon after. Mellish has since grown steadily from humble beginnings supplying local business to developing successful relationships with a portfolio of longstanding clients that include some of the world’s largest names in oil and gas. Mellish has worked hard to ensure existing business is built upon robust processes and mutually beneficial agreements as well as successfully identifying, winning and nurturing new business opportunities across the industry.

Mellish is a specialist manufacturer dedicated to the supply of special fasteners and hot forged bolting from ½” to 2 ½”. Offered is an extensive range of products including nuts, bolts, sockets, studbolts and washers in a range of materials from general alloys 8.8, 10.9, 12.9 to exotic materials such as Super Duplex, Hastalloys and Inconels, all originating in Europe. Internal and aheadexternal testing facilities allow a full spectrum of testing to be requested including MPI and crack detection. This, with full traceability and BSI accreditation, means the customer can have complete ‘peace of mind’ no matter what the final application may be.

Progressive growth and success allowed Mellish to acquire sister company Tipper Engineering back in 2010, Tipper both compliments and enhances Mellish’s offering due to its strong reputation and existing customer base. Tipper, founded over 40 years ago is a proven manufacture and stockist of a wide range of standard petrochemical bolting, committed to servicing producers, OEM’s and distributors involved in the oil, gas, power and allied industries. Both companies now sit comfortably under the newly formed Middlemore Fastener (Holdings) Ltd.

The acquisition led Mellish to look for premises large enough to successfully collocate the two companies under one roof. During 2012 the new 35,000 square foot building had its interior gutted and purpose-rebuilt to the company’s exact requirements, with a focus on creating efficient workflow throughout the productions process. The amalgamation of Mellish and Tipper saw a significant increase in capacity and capability, stock and skill share, as well and knowledge transfer, which has resulted in Middlemore fasteners now being in a strong position to offer a complete fastener solution.

The larger facility has allowed for investment in state of the art machinery and the extension of the management team, including additions to the export department, looked after by export sales director Andrew Rattenberry. As an international business, the team already has several bilingual employees speaking French, German, and Italian to communicate with clients in multiple markets. Recently the company has taken on a member of staff bilingual in Portuguese and English. This is significant not for its application in Europe but in South America. Being able to efficiently communicate with this rapidly growing oil and gas market will be crucial to Middlemore Fastener Holding’s future growth.

In total, nearly half a million pounds was spent on the transition. Approximately £200,000 was spent on the new site itself whilst more than £200,000 has been spent on integration, machinery and renewed marketing including everything from stationery and a new website to a newly installed bar-coding stock system. Such a huge amount spent during the current unpredictable financial climate would be unthinkable for many companies but the historical success of Mellish Engineering Services and Tipper Engineering, meant Middlemore Fastener Holdings felt safe in its investment.

To illustrate, Matt discusses the recent business performance of Mellish Engineering Services in more depth: “People have talked about a recession and then a double dip recession yet during those years we took on ten new employees, of which two were managers. We also purchased Tipper Engineering and invested in a new site. Our steady business is largely due to 70 per cent of our turnover being derived from exports to countries that weren’t affected by the financial crisis. Furthermore we do not relied on a single big customer, and not placing all our eggs in one basket has meant revenue is more consistent. Managing director Mark Rattenberry has successfully led the Mellish team to experience year-on-year growth for the past five years.”

In 2011, Middlemore Engineering Services’ turnover was £5 million; the addition of Tipper Engineering adds a further £1.5 million, bringing Mellish Fastener Holding’s potential annual turnover to at least £6.5 million. Whilst this isn’t the largest figure in the market, the companies are proud of remaining small yet strong and efficient. The excellent performance even throughout the recession is proof of this approach.

Matt ends with optimism for the future of the newly founded Middlemore Fastener Holdings: “Our plan is to make best use of the investments we’ve made into personnel, facilities, and improved processes. As we settle into our new building and begin using the new machinery to its full potential, our prospects for international growth are significant. In the long-term we may possibly branch out again with the development of exciting opportunities in new areas, but for now we want to focus on utilising our new organisation to its fullest, building on recent successes. Settle down, don’t take too many risks, and move forward.”

Mellish Engineering Services
Products: Non-standard bolts