From spill handling to a European containment specialist, discover the evolution of Emtez

Empteezy, now rebranding under the name Emtez, has undergone a remarkable transformation from its beginnings in spill containment to becoming a prominent player in the European market. With over 35 years of experience, Emtez has established itself as a leading producer of spill containment and control products in the UK. Founded in 1986 by Bruce Wishart, who still plays a pivotal role as Director during his retirement, the company has evolved significantly over the years, expanding its product range and experiencing substantial growth.

Bruce Wishart reminisces about the early days of Emtez: “The concept originated while I was working as general manager in a wastepaper company in the 1980s. At that time, wastepaper companies utilized stillages for convenient and spacious paper storage. However, due to the high repair costs associated with stillages, some companies began using large demountable skips, which proved inefficient, and this shift led to customer losses for the company I worked for.

“This is when I conceived the idea for containers that could be easily emptied. I presented the idea to my employers, but they showed no interest, so I decided to resign and embark on my entrepreneurial journey with Emtez. I established Emtez and enlisted fabricators to manufacture the product. It gained tremendous popularity, leading to the establishment of our manufacturing plant. Initially, our primary product was the easily emptied containers, but in the late 1980s, we ventured into spill containment, addressing the legal requirements of legislation like the Water Resources Act.”

Emtez is renowned for its DPU96-24, a robust steel storage unit designed to accommodate drums and containers, with a capacity of up to 24 IBCs of 1000 liters. Bruce highlights the company’s recent focus on providing storage solutions for items such as lithium-ion batteries, given their volatile nature and potential for thermal runaway. “Car manufacturers with which we have long-standing partnerships require safe storage solutions for lithium-ion batteries. To meet this demand, we adapted our DPU96-24, originally designed for liquid storage, to securely store and lock lithium-ion batteries in place. The unit also features a suppression system that activates if the temperature exceeds one hundred degrees, effectively preventing fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.”

With the introduction of these new products, Bruce recognized the need for a name change as part of a rebranding effort. “Emtez’s original name, Empteezy, was closely tied to our initial product. While we held a patent for the design for many years, it has since been replicated worldwide. Consequently, the name no longer accurately represents our diverse product range. To address this, I secured funding through a management buyout (MBO) with the support of a private equity company, Chiltern Capital LLP. This involved bringing in senior managers, including David Byrne, as my successor. The MBO, initiated a year ago, is progressing according to plan under the guidance of our new CEO and CFO.”

Emtez, experiencing organic growth at a rate of 20 percent year-on-year, is expanding its operations with the establishment of a new manufacturing plant in Europe. Bruce explains: “We manufacture our steel products in Scotland and France, where we have implemented a fully automated robotic welding system. Our latest facility, located on the outskirts of Barcelona, spanning 15,000 square meters, will focus on steel manufacturing and is set to become operational in October. This expansion allows us to serve our customer base in Spain, France, Germany, and the UK more efficiently.”

While Emtez remains optimistic about its future, it also faces challenges common to manufacturing companies, including volatile markets, soaring energy and raw material costs, inflation, and the cost-of-living crisis. “We share these challenges with our competitors operating in the European Union,” Bruce acknowledges. “Moreover, the presence of cheap manufacturing in the East poses a challenge, as they often produce copies of our products with varying quality. Adapting to rising energy costs was challenging, but government assistance and a strategic shift to lower electricity costs in Spain have enabled us to maintain competitiveness.

“In my 37 years in manufacturing,” Bruce concludes, “I’ve learned that adaptation is crucial. Emtez is committed to evolving and innovating in response to challenges that may arise, thereby ensuring the organization’s continued success.”

Under Bruce’s visionary leadership and continuous evolution, Emtez has revolutionized spill containment solutions for over three decades. As the company embarks on an exciting phase of expanded manufacturing and rebranded offerings under new management, Emtez is well poised to maintain its position as an industry pioneer.