Eriks Sealing Technology UK is new division of Eriks that combines Wyko's established seals business in the UK with the might of Eriks as a world leader in the seals market. The division will target both the OEM and MRO markets, focusing on innovative sealing products and services.
Wyko's mature seals business in the UK includes the Seals division based in Halesowen, and Pioneer Weston in Warrington. This business currently has an estimated 4 per cent market share in the UK but, with the launch of Eriks Sealing Technology, the plan is to have 10 per cent of the market by 2010, which represents a turnover of around £25million.
Pioneer Weston has operated as a specialist designer and manufacturer of dynamic seals and a company in its own right with a reputation for innovation and application engineering. With the launch of the new division, the name Pioneer Weston will now be found predominantly on dynamic axle seals and mechanical seals.
All the Pioneer Weston experience, know-how and expertise will be channelled into the development of its asset base in Warrington to create the Eriks Sealing Technology Centre. Eriks is investing £500,000 in simulation software, test and analysis equipment, a clean room for assembly, and is also investing in staff.
John Weston, managing director of Eriks Sealing Technology UK, says: "Our staffing levels have already increased from 40 people to 60 and will eventually level off around the 80 mark. The recruitment has brought in PhDs, material technologists, chemists, design specialists and testing technicians, as well as people who are already working in the field."
The Technology Centre is an ISO TS 16949 accredited manufacturing site that offers both OEM and MRO customers access to the company's R&D capability. It is claimed that no other distributor in Europe has access to such a facility. The centre has CAD capability and also develops its own compounds while there is a great emphasis on FEA (finite element analysis) modelling with full data logging support. FEA is particularly valuable, as it can be used to assess the deflection and performance of lip seals, check that seals can be properly assembled, and simulate life tests prior to a new design being approved for prototyping or production.
There is also a heavy investment in the material testing area where, by artificially ageing the material, customers can see how their seal would perform in the field in a given application.
60,000 seals, gaskets and O-rings
Launching Eriks Sealing Technology UK gives the UK market access to a vast new range of products and expertise. Eriks has more than 50 years of experience in the production and distribution of O-rings and elastomeric seals, as well as producing and distributing gaskets, rubber products, engineering plastics, valves and hoses. The division has a range of 60,000 seal and gasket stock items, including 15,000 different O-rings.
Because of its traditional association with sealing technology, Eriks has built up a team of technical specialists. These experts have been charged with supporting the UK operation, and this process is being managed by Erik Uiterwijk and Marc van Oost, the international product managers, Seals, for Eriks bv.
Another benefit that Eriks Sealing Technology UK will offer to UK customers is the introduction of a considerable number of suppliers; several high-level customers, for example Shell and Texaco, have intimated that they wish to expand the business they do with Eriks in Europe into the UK because of the launch of the new division.