A recent contract to produce critical valve components for the final Astute Submarine build opened the door to tender for the supply of similar components for the Successor programme.
Kevin Scott, Engineering Director, explains the importance of Express’ involvement in the submarine sector and what it means to the business.
“Being part of this supply chain has a number of benefits. It showcases our capabilities to produce world leading, precision engineered components in specialist alloys and highlights that we are at the sharp leading edge when it comes to new technologies, methods and production techniques. There is no better advertisement than that.
“Opportunities for new work have already arisen due to our involvement with the Astute project. This endorsement, combined with the diverse capabilities we have to undertake; welding, weld cladding, assembly, clean room assembly (for critical components), high integrity machining – as well as NDE and pressure testing – has been a key selling points.
“As Successor comes on stream, the bar will be raised again and we are already in the process of achieving these new standards. Express has an excellent track record and the continuous improvement achieved through these contracts – which runs throughout our business – is a further example of how our involvement in the sector enriches what we do.
“Our skilled engineers will be working to a new testing criteria and the technical expertise required to produce the components will be rigorously researched and implemented, qualifying us to deliver to this new, even higher specification.”
Scott added: “Because submarine contracts have longevity and offer a secure and defined horizon, it helps us plan for the future and make investments in new equipment. They also secure a steady stream of work for our contract engineers and quality assurance people, whilst freeing up time for our sales teams to prospect for further and new work.
“We recently invested £1.5 million in a multi-tasking Mazak 800 machine – the first of its kind in the UK and only the second in Europe – and a further £600,000 in two Computerised Measuring Machines (CMMs). These enable us to measure components to an exceptional level of accuracy – 0.002mm – within an envelope of up to two metres by two metres by four metres.
“We also have Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Machining (CAM) machines which can use computer generated models to programme our production equipment to deliver one off components or batches to a bespoke size and standard. Our Veri-cut system also enables us to produce a virtual model of the component before we carry it out, so we can identify any issues or imperfections before the first cut is made, thus reducing risk.”