Aylesbury Automation

Aylesbury is the automatic choice

Aylesbury Automation is the UK’s leading automation company and has accumulated considerable experience and expertise in the field of automation, rivets and robotics since it began 115 years ago.

The British company is owned by David Manby who manages the day-today running of the business, operating from a factory in Aylesbury.

“The origins of the company date back to circa 1892 with the Bifurcated & Tubular Rivet Company initially set up to make rivets,” says managing director David Manby. “It grew phenomenally in the First World War producing rivets and then again in the Second World War when we became the fifth most wanted Luftwaffe target because we provided most of the rivets used in UK aircraft. Right from the start, we produced manual rivet setting machines, which became automated and in the 1960s we launched Aylesbury Automation to concentrate on feeding and orientation with a range of vibratory parts feeders.”

Aylesbury Automation offers a total package of highly knowledgeable sales, design, workshop and service personnel working together to solve customers’ manufacturing issues. It operates within a culture of continuous improvement in relation to both personnel and products, enabling the business to adapt quickly to change. Solutions range from tooled vibration parts feeders through to automated feed systems and assembly equipment, and its core products are sophisticated vibratory parts feeders, linear feeders and rivet setting machines, supported by additional ancillary equipment.

The company also offers a service for advanced factory automation solutions as part of an automation or rivet system that provides up-todate expertise to customers. It recently reintroduced the Bifurcated and Tubular Rivet Company as a division of Aylesbury Automation because the name was well-established and has remained synonymous with quality, as well as launching AA Robotics with the aim of more effectively responding to industry change and production demands. AA Robotics specialises in the application of flexible automation and robotic solutions and is a system integrator and distributor for Denso Robots, one of the biggest suppliers of small assembly robots in the world. It provides advice and support to customers looking to integrate some of the fastest robots in the world, combining the reliability of a large supplier with the convenience of a UK-based company.

Dave explains: “Last year we re-launched Bifurcated & Tubular, which progressive managements over the years had let slip, and started to re-establish ourselves as the foremost rivet machine manufacturer in Europe. We found when we exhibited at the Hanover Fair last year that we’re still at the forefront in terms of riveting technology though we no longer manufacture rivets. We launched AA Robotics as an integrator and distributor for Denso Robots in the UK and Ireland, as well as for Cognex Vision, and we’re currently conducting research into vision driven robots.”

The company invests heavily in R&D and works closely with customers to provide the most appropriate and economically viable solution for manufacturing problems. “R&D is very important because we want to stay at the forefront of technology and offer our customers something they cannot get anywhere else, which is one of our strengths,” says Dave. “We have very experienced personnel as well as fabrication resources, electrical resources, mechanical fitting resources and machining resources, so we do everything necessary to produce a bespoke machine. We offer the whole package and, with the robots, offer complete integration using either rivet or automation technology to give the customer a turnkey package.”

Dave thinks that assessing manufacturing efficiency can be problematic as each product made by the company is customised: “You need a benchmark for efficiency targets and 90 per cent of what we do has never been done before. In fact, it’s the first time it’s been done in the world and the last time it will be done – making two a pretty big number to us. However, every employee in the company has been trained in lean practices and we have excellent employee knowledge and initiative in terms of improvement to processes without the need for management’s approval.”

Dave foresees a strong future for the company with new ventures and growth in all areas: “It’s a very competitive market place and I see the UK market continuing to evolve. Currently it’s quite an exaggerated rate of evolvement in terms of what we’re seeing disappearing to overseas markets but there will always be a place for companies such as ours because we’re at the forefront of technology in producing new machines and new ways of working for overseas and UK clients.”

Continuing, he concludes: “I think all three divisions of the company will grow and flexibility is the key to moving forward. The latest challenge is the decline of UK manufacturing so we’re making stronger links abroad using our website and direct marketing. We’re looking at new overseas markets, specifically for the rivet setting machine business and the automation business, and concentrating on the UK market for the robot business. We’re considering diversifying by taking on the work of Werner Engineering Systems producing hot foil printing machines, hot air welding machines and ultra sonic welding machines, but our focus will remain on maintaining our leading position at the forefront of technology and offering our customers something unique.”

Aylesbury Automation
Products: Automation, rivets and robotics
Sites: Aylesbury
Employees: 38