Making a commercial success of a novel engineering principle is quite an accomplishment. Developing that concept and embracing complementary technologies to the point where the business becomes a world leader in its field takes that achievement into a different league. HepcoMotion says it has achieved both and in 2009 celebrates its 40th year of trading.
Today HepcoMotion is one of the world's foremost innovators and manufacturers of linear motion technology, which it attributes to the continued investment in processes, products and people. This has allowed the company to grow even at times of economical difficulty.
Despite the global status of HepcoMotion, the heart of the company remains very much in the UK and there are several important reasons for this. First and foremost is the depth of skills of its people in both manufacturing and applications engineering. As a result HepcoMotion manufactures the majority of its products at its factory in Tiverton, Devon, with critical bearing elements being produced by another Group company in Braintree.
HepcoMotion's commitment to 'local' manufacturing has also been replicated in Korea so that the dedicated engineering service that it provides in the UK is also available to its Asian customers.
Although individual linear motion products remain an important part of its business, the growth area for HepcoMotion in recent years is in specials and assemblies. Indeed, systems now account for between 20 and 25 per cent of the company's total output. Almost one-fifth of the shop floor space is devoted to assembly and the company has invested heavily in flexible manufacturing to ensure that even last-minute changes can be accommodated to customer specifications.
HepcoMotion acknowledges that the quality of its people contributes substantially to its ability to provide tailored systems. As a result the company remains fully committed to its apprentice scheme that grows year on year; the current year's intake is eighteen.
Constantly re-assessing its strengths against changing market demands continues to provide HepcoMotion with the momentum for business growth. The company confirms that 2008 was another record trading year, with sales revenue up by a further 10 per cent. The culture of ongoing investment has certainly worked well throughout HepcoMotion's first 40 years and will continue to underpin its business in the decades to come.