Spirotech-SRD Group Ltd: Leading the Way in Material Handling Machinery Since 1979

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Spirotech-SRD Group Ltd is a global leader in the design and manufacture of equipment and machinery for handling and processing materials.

Originally established in 1979 as a small workshop with a focus on producing screws and replacement flight segments for the agriculture and cement industry, Spirotech witnessed continuous growth throughout the 1980s as founders John Owen and Derek Wheldon noticed a gap in the market for the design and construction of bespoke conveying systems. Taking on a mortgage, the two founders erected a purpose built factory in St Neots; a move that proved highly fruitful as the market for bespoke conveying systems flourished and the company began to export its products across the globe to the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Renowned as one of the biggest and most respected suppliers to the bulk handling sector in the UK by the mid 1990s, Spirotech responded to further demand in the market by relocating comto a 40,000 square foot factory that enabled capacity for future growth. This success resulted in Spirotech being sold to the SRD Group in 2005; a development that introduced products such as silos, pressure vessels and screw conveyors to its scope of supply. Since the merger the level of investment in both organisations has grown to exceed £3 million, which has enabled Spirotech-SRD Group to remain at the forefront of its market activities on a global scale.

In 2013 the group diversified its services with a maintenance and spares division in York; a development that has allowed Spirotech-SRD to offer service plans for all equipment it produces, as well as spare parts on a 24/7 basis. This division currently includes six fully qualified engineers along with a designer engineer and estimator that are experienced in both mechanical and electrical systems. Proud to go the extra mile, the team goes above and beyond to source obsolete items or find a suitable replacement and can travel globally to help set up and install bulk handling and conveying systems that are built at the head office near Peterborough, the UK. In addition, the engineers regularly carry out scheduled maintenance programmes that are designed to fit in with the client’s production schedules to ensure minimum disruption to their plant.

“When Spirotech-SRD Ltd started in 1979 it mainly made conveyors, however, over the years we have progressed into making screw conveyors and parts for conveyors for all industries, including ATEX rated machinery. We now also design and build high quality pressure vessels, pressure piping and associated skid systems for the oil and gas, refrigeration, chemical and food industries,” begins Managing Director of Spirotech-SRD Ltd, David Gadsby.

Having supplied the agricultural industry for 25 years, the group has long-term experience in solving specific challenges as well as moving and storing bulk solids and liquid waste through its screw conveyors, tanks and bulk storage products and site services. Utilising this experience, Spirotech-SRD’s products for the food and beverage industry have been tried, tested and are today trusted by leading market players; products constructed for this market segment include holding tanks, pressure vessels, pipework and conveyors. Other industries that benefit from the group’s expertise and commitment to optimum quality and excellence include the highly stringent oil and gas industry, which requires complex and safety critical products and the chemical industry, which requires the latest advanced technology to ensure all products are corrosion and abrasion resistant. For clients requiring the best possible solutions, Spirotech-SRD is the number one choice.

Today the 70 employees at Spirotech-SRD work with major blue-chip customers such as Coca-Cola, Southwest Water and Scottish Water as well as smaller businesses to deliver its bespoke products for use in the most demanding commercial environments across the globe. “We carry out the majority of all engineering requirements in-house, which offers clients the benefits of a one-stop-shop service. We are not reliant upon sub-contractors, which enables us to offer a quicker turnaround with no compromise on quality,” says David. “For our clients who need equipment made quickly, we have established the ‘Rapid Build’ programme, which allows us to offer a design and build service; we have the capacity to nearly double our working time overnight thanks to how our manufacturing systems are set up.”

Operating under one roof, David notes that the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 firm has invested heavily in new equipment over recent years, which has increased production and enhanced quality: “We are also currently progressing with a number of investment programmes that include strategic company takeovers.”

These developments have enabled Spirotech- SRD to successfully complete projects such as the design and build of two 40,000 litre stainless steel pressure vessels, which took place under its new ‘Rapid Build’ programme. Working with a five week critical window, the company had each department focused on the projects demands within hours of receiving the order; from purchasing through to design, each area strived to successfully turn the project from a concept to reality.

Another major project for Spirotech-SRD came from a Middle East based blue-chip oil and gas firm, which placed a £5.5 million order for pressurised screw conveyors. Proving the company’s strong reputation for high quality design and manufacturing services to the bulk handling market, the contract consisted of 32 large conveyors that were required for operations in arduous conditions. With high temperatures and high pressures to consider, each conveyor was built to PD550 CAT II, with full third party inspection at Spirotech’s UK manufacturing base.

Although impressed with Spirotech’s technical expertise, the client needed to be sure Spirotech- SRD could deliver. As the gap between funding manufacturing costs and receiving payment for the finished products would put a high level of pressure on working capital, the company worked closely with the UK Government, via Natwest, to secure funding and eliminate the possibility of delays. This contract and the steps taken to fund it have proven a useful exercise for Spirotech-SRD as it now has the knowledge, experience and contacts in place to handle projects of this scale.

Despite a deflated market in the UK currently and challenges in the overseas markets anticipated to continue into the second quarter of 2015, the future looks positive for Spirotech-SRD as it continues to deliver high quality solutions to its global customer base, as David concludes: “Throughout 2015 we are developing a cupped flight design for a screw conveyor, which will allow us to offer conveyors that can be vertical without running at an extremely high speed and thus cause potential damage to the product. Moreover, we will be investing heavily in the service and maintenance section of the business while strategically searching for opportunities to diversify our market sectors.”

Spirotech – SRD Group Ltd
Products: Machinery for handling and processing materials
Sites: Two
Employees: 70+