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- Factory Tour
All our vinyls and carpet materials are specially made for us in the UK. At any one time we have at least 20000 metres of material in stock to cover all the colours and grain of the material.
We cut our materials by different methods depending on the quantities involved. Here Mark is cutting by hand as well as using an Eastman vertical cutting tool.
We also cut material on special bladed clicking tools using a 60 tonne hydraulic press. We can lay up to ten layers of vinyl on a cutting tool and the press cuts all the layers in one hit!
Although most of our operation is hand-crafted, you must move with the times. Our latest machine is a computerised Gerber cutting machine. Over the last 2 years we have copied all our old trim patterns onto our new CNC cutter. Not only is it extremely accurate, but much faster than cutting one off orders by hand! We use it to cut a wide range of materials, including vinyl, leather, carpet, hardura and matting. Large volumes of patterns can be cut with precision with minimal wastage of material, which makes it a cost effective and economical tool. We mainly cut vinyl seat covers, wheel arch covers, cockpit panel and door panel trims, closely followed by VW carpets for Beetle, Camper Vans and Karmann Ghia. The electrical and air operated Gerber is a complex machine which requires basic maintenance. The Gerber is operated by 1 or 2 trained workers, whose technical knowledge and skill is essential. The database stores over 1500 patterns on a digitiser, which is constantly adjusted and updated to get the best results from the CNC cutter. This is just one of the steps in production of our fantastic interior trim.
We have a team of 12 highly skilled sewing machinists who can sew anything from headlinings, leather and vinyl seat covers to binding all the carpets.
Our panel department basically has a gluing/adhesive area as well as a stapling area. We only use water based glue nowadays. Here the boys are finishing off VW Van interior panels.
We have another Factory where we cut all our hardboard and fibreboard products. We actually produce in excess of 1000 parts per week on this special 100 ton beam press. You will see in the background a huge stack of hardboard which will last us just over six months production. All our glove boxes and parcel trays are assembled in this factory and then transfered to our main production facility.
We refurbish seat frames and then fit new seat diaphragms, foam cushions and finally seat covers to customers seats. We have two experienced seat fitters who also make up our now famous Suffolk reclining seats.
We also manufacture all our own sunvisors in house. The tooling is very specialised and is used on our High Frequency welding machine. We put all of the layers of material into the the tool. It presses them all together, then a high electrical current is passed through the tool which changes the molecular structure of the materials. We then apply pressure and turn off the power and the materials then weld themselves together. All our heat welded products from door panels to seat cover faces are fabricated on this machine.
We have a third Factory where all our development is carried out by John White. Here he has just received an original Lotus headlining that he will now pattern, log the details and make ready for production. When we have patterned new items, we generally find a suitable car to test that everything fits properly-here John is fitting a Morris Minor Traveller carpet set. Also in this factory we manufacture our moulded carpets- here Matt is building all the structure around our brand new Mazda MX5 carpet tool.
We certainly hope that you have enjoyed our Factory Tour. If you or any Club members would like to visit us, please give us a call. Thank you - Richard Newton.