For SST Technology, specialists in the design and manufacture of precision engineered fabrications and thermal management systems, 2017 is a hugely important year, one that it hopes will help shape its future as a more diverse business
When Manufacturing Today Europe last spoke to SST Technology Managing Director Daniel Chilcott, he was very positive about what the future held for SST Technology, what with it being on the cusp of a period of considerable investment in manufacturing processes and equipment,and expansion into a new, modern facility. As it transpires Daniel’s optimism was well founded. “2017 has proven itself to be a positive time for the company, during which we have entered into several exciting contracts and brought new product concepts into reality,” he begins. “We have carried this momentum through into the second half of the year and find ourselves ahead of schedule from a budget and financial perspective.”
Key to its renewed success has been a largescale market diversification drive that remains ongoing. “Traditionally our business has been heavily focused on the motorsport sector,” Daniel continues, “however, we recognised that in order to grow we needed to look at opportunities in adjacent industries. In doing so we have already managed to secure several exciting projects in the medical, automotive and aerospace fields. These particular sectors, and their respective customers, lend themselves well to the processes that we have perfected, namely stainless steels, precision welding and formed parts, making this diversification a real game changer for SST Technology.”
This drive into new markets has increased demand for the company’s products and services, and therefore helpfully coincides with its move into its new facility. Already owned by its parent operating company, Polar Technology Management Group, this facility provides SST Technology with approximately 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The process of moving to this new facility has been gradual and well planned, with the migration of some of its manufacturing equipment taking place over the last two years. This year the pace has increased with SST Technology’s precision welding systems and its engineering team now calling the new facility home.
“This world class manufacturing centre is now in the latter stages of final transfer,” Daniel reveals. “Not only will it provide us with significant extra manufacturing space, which we have added further to still with the addition of more mezzanine floors, but it will also help us to improve upon our communication and efficiencies by having the whole team under one roof. At the same time, we have chosen to retain our previous facility to act as an overspill centre, which can be utilised by both ourselves and our sister company, Lentus Composites, as and when demand requires it to be.”
Adorning the floor space of its new facility is a range of new and upgraded manufacturing equipment. “One of the systems we have invested in is a laser welding cell, which will be used to weld heat exchangers together for industrial applications, which is an exciting project that we will be working on in collaboration with one of our customers,” Daniel adds. “In addition to this, we will soon be acquiring a narrative layer machine as part of an Innovate UK project we will be involved in that will focus on the utilisation of additive manufacturing processes. The end result of such work will, we hope, be the creation of more innovative products that will capture the attention of our customers, much in the same way as our unique HydroLite® rapid forming process has done since its introduction last year.”
In the weeks prior to speaking to Daniel, SST Technology marked a couple of other key milestones. Most recently, it made the announcement that it had formally become an Industrial Member of TWI, the world-renowned research and technology organisation that provides technical support when it comes to materials, engineering and joining technology. This important development follows hot on the heels of the company revealing that one apprentice, Cain Reddick, had been welcomed into the fold as the first person to complete its fouryear apprenticeship programme in Mechanical Engineering NVQ Level 3. Cain is the first of what the company hopes will be many success stories produced by this programme, with a further seven people making up its 2017 intake.
“From a business perspective, I believe the next 12 months will be a period of consolidation for SST Technology,” Daniel says when asked about both the immediate and long-term future of the company. “We are on the vergeof completing an extended period of transition and expansion, so the time is at hand for us to maximise the efficiencies we will gain from having all of our operations centred on one facility. At the same time, we need to ensure that not onlydo we ramp up our newer programmes, but also that we maintain the quality service we provide to our existing clientele.
“We are an engineering led business with one overwhelming aim, and that is to be the best business of our kind in the UK. This is underpinned by an ambitious business plan that we have in place and that calls for achieving a turnover of £15 million per annum by 2021. This year we anticipate revenues of £7.5 million, up from £6 million in 2016, so we know that our current growth is strong. It is now up to us to build upon this further, and across an increasingly diverse market portfolio, by introducing innovative manufacturing technologies and developing the very best people.”
Products: Precision fabrications and thermal management systems