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Flotec. A British Manufacturer. A Feature Story.

Updated: Jun 19

Innovations and Revolutions.

Nestled deep within the University town of Loughborough, England, Flotec Industrial Limited is a British SME manufacturer and award-winning engineering company.


Worth considering is the company’s location, its industrious activity and synergies with a local movement and revolution which quite simply, transformed the fabrics of our very world.

Whilst Flotec itself has many stories to tell, there was a period some centuries before, where the industrial journey first began.


It makes perfect sense to commence the ‘spinning of this yarn’ from a time, long ago.

 

The Industrial Revolution.


It was in the United Kingdom that the First Industrial Revolution was born and from it, a series of events and inventions took place which catapulted the world into a new era and age of technology, productivity, innovation, commercialism, and, a radically different way of living.


Starting around 1760, the scope and scale of the First Industrial Revolution is vast and epic in its telling and as such, a story of this magnitude is best delivered with a concentration on just a few events, particularly those local to Flotec Industrial Limited.

 

We Changed the World.


Approximately 20 miles Northwest from Flotec’s manufacturing plant lies Derby’s Silk Mill.


Regarded as a precursor to the Industrial Revolution, the mill resides at the southern gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.


Built in 1721 by John and Thomas Lombe, the mill was one of the original factories on this planet.


Fast forward fifty years and travel a further 20 miles Northwest from Derby’s historic building, you will find yourself at Cromwell Mills.


Built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, this factory boasted the very first water powered cotton spinning mill.

 

Full Steam Ahead!


And of course, The United Kingdom holds a legacy of locomotive design and build!


One being ‘The Rocket’ which was conceived and constructed by Robert Stephenson in 1829.


By no means the world's first locomotive, this invention did bring with it, however, several innovations that made it the most advanced ‘loco’ of its day. It even managed to reach the speed of a then dizzying 30 mph!


Derby itself is built on railway heritage with carriage production commencing in 1839.


Looking at more recent times, on Tuesday 21st March 2023, it was announced that Derby was to be the home of the Great British Railways Headquarters.


Considering Flotec’s involvement with the modern-day rail industry, nostalgic links to the glory days of steam and trains makes for a wonderful connection between Flotec and Britain’s rail heritage.

 

Great British Inventions.


Britain has invented a great many things that have radically changed the world. A few examples include:


  • The Steam Engine

  • The Flush Toilet

  • The Telephone

  • The Television

  • Penicillin

  • The World Wide Web


And more!

 

Welcome to Loughborough.


Loughborough is a market town in the Charnwood Borough of Leicestershire, England.


Loughborough University attracts students from around the globe and is well known for its sports facilities and art & design school. Loughborough is also recognised as being the home of the internationally adored Ladybird Books.


The town itself is centrally located, with accessible transport links to the UK. Nearby East Midlands Airport provides multiple routes to global destinations.


And of course, Loughborough is home to the Great Central Railway!


SMEs – The Backbone of the UKs Economy.


Flotec is an SME but what exactly is an SME? Let’s explore further…


SME stands for ‘Small to Medium Enterprise’ where businesses must meet certain criteria to be defined as such.


The UK government defines an SME as a business with fewer than 250 employees. A micro business employs less than 10 employees and has a turnover of under €2 million, a small business is under 50 employees and a turnover of less than €10 million and medium is less than 250 employees and a turnover of under €50 million. 


According to the Federation of Small Businesses (as at the start of 2023), SMEs accounted for a staggering 99.9% of the UKs business population.


Furthermore, SMEs accounted for three-fifths of the employment and around half of turnover in the UK private sector, whereby Total employment in SMEs was 16.7 million (61% of the total), whilst turnover was estimated at £2.4 trillion (53%).


Employment in small businesses (with 0 to 49 employees) was 13.1 million (48% of the total), with a turnover of £1.6 trillion (36%).


Viewing statistics such as these paints a picture of SMEs truly being the backbone of the UKs economy.


Based upon headcount and turnover, Flotec Industrial Limited is categorised as an SME and contributes significantly to the figures highlighted above.

 

 

The UK Manufacturing Sector.


The Facts: 2023.


UK manufacturing output for 2023 is £224 billion compared to £183 billion in 2022. The UK manufacturing market has climbed from 9th to 8th place in the global manufacturing rankings, making the UK a key player in the industry.

 

Key Points:

  • The UK manufacturing industry ranks 8th globally by value of output.

  • The sector contributes a Gross Value Added (GVA) of £224 billion.

  • The manufacturing sector employs 2.6 million people in the UK.

  • The sector accounts for 49% of all UK exports.

  • The sector contributes 41% of all business R&D.

  • The industry accounts for 16% of UK business investment.

 

Global Top Ten Manufacturing Rankings:

1.      China

2.      USA

3.      Japan

4.      Germany

5.      Republic of Korea

6.      India

7.      Italy

8.      United Kingdom

9.      France

10.  Russian Federation

 

UK Manufacturing Sector Breakdown:

  • Food and Drink

  • Metals

  • Machinery

  • Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals

  • Electronics

  • Transport

  • Rubber, Plastics and Non-Metallic Minerals

  • Electrical Equipment

  • Other Manufacturing

 

UK Manufacturing Global Comparison:

  • 14th for manufacturing exports

  • 8th for import of goods

  • 2nd for service trade

  • 6th for GDP

  • 31st for GDP per capita


Source: MAKE UK

 

ABOUT FLOTEC INDUSTRIAL LIMITED.


Flotec Industrial Limited is an SME engineering and manufacturing company based in Loughborough, Leicestershire UK. The company was incorporated in 1994 by current Managing Director, Julian Davies.


Flotec specialises in air and fluid transfer products that cover a wide variety of applications, with a focus on supplying leading and high-quality brands which have a proven record of application reliability.


With over 10,000 product lines, Flotec has earned a reputation of being a service focused business that provides a one stop shop for many clients. The product offering is supplied to many different industries including, agriculture, plant, power, transport and more.


In its early days, Flotec provided service/supply to local industries, with this expanding to the whole of the UK, as the business grew.


Over many years Flotec has provided hose handling solutions and lubrication equipment to an existing customer base.

 


Entering the Rail Rolling Stock Market.


Some years ago, a strategic business decision was made to penetrate the UK rail rolling stock market, to supply high quality hydraulic/coolant hoses, clamps, and couplings. Subsequent diversification and expansion projects have included variable pitch fan and engine cooling system upgrades for DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) fleets as well as train battery charging units.

 

The purpose for entering the rail market? To provide rail industry solutions to improve train fleet performance.

 

What makes Flotec Award-Winning and Unique?


Quite simply, it is Flotec’s customer focussed approach and a philosophy built upon being a solutions-based supplier.


‘Innovation comes as standard’ at Flotec. 


This is evidenced each day as the team analyses issues and technical complications prior to designing, devising, and engineering a solution to not only rectify any given problem but also, to improve the performance of a client’s mechanical assets.


2021 witnessed the company scooping a highly prestigious award for innovation. The win was in recognition of the variable pitch fan technology for train engine cooling and its accompanying system enhancements.


Praise was given for Flotec’s “preventative approach – as opposed to a reactive one – because the variable pitch fan and associated system technology pre-empts delays and works to eliminate them before they occur, benefitting the rail network and those who rely on it”. 


Importantly, Flotec goes way beyond replacing like-for-like worn parts and components instead, focussing its attention towards answering and solving industry demands, needs and requirements.


This proactive culture is illustrated within Flotec’s core commitments regarding innovation:


  • To continuously investigate and find new ways of doing things for the better.

  • To develop, create and invent unique solutions relevant to the task in hand.

  • Where appropriate, to apply existing ways of doing things to a new market.

  • Where appropriate, to modify existing assets to perform better.

  • Where appropriate, to radically transform and disrupt markets for the better.

 

Flotec’s innovation is quite literally in motion and, live on the UK rail network for operators which include Northern, TfW and EMR.

 

Flotec is Going Full Throttle.


Appreciating the industrious and innovative history of Britain’s past and understanding the current state-of-play demonstrates precisely why Flotec is proud to ‘badge’ itself as a British Manufacturer.

Becoming employee-owned in 2021, Flotec is set to forever have exciting stories to tell.


As we roll into 2024, Flotec is gaining momentum and going full throttle in its vision to collaborate, innovate, grow, and succeed.


It is Flotec’s people and engaged stakeholder groups that will make this dream a reality.


When perusing Flotec’s vision, mission statements and core values, it appears abundantly apparent that the team at SME Flotec are well poised to achieve their future goals and ambitions.

There is no Conclusion.


There is no conclusion to this feature, just an invitation to join Flotec and its people on a continuing journey.


This can be done by following the team on its social media channels, subscribing to their email list, and keeping up to speed with the Flotec news pages.

 

Innovations and Revolutions. A Word from the Author.


"On Monday 17th June 2024, the Rail Forum launched its UK Rail Manufacturing Campaign which resonated closely with a great many things that I feel passionate about.


On Friday 1st March, I had sat down in the afternoon and penned Flotec. A British Manufacturer. A Feature Story. Innovations and Revolutions.


As soon as I received the email communication from Catherine Appleby of the Rail Forum, raising awareness about the UK Rail Manufacturing Campaign, I felt that the feature I had written some months prior was entirely relevant and applicable to this social media endeavour.


Innovations and Revolutions focusses upon SME Flotec and the role it plays in supplying British manufactured products and engineering solutions to the rail market.


The article delved into Flotec’s geographical location and the history of British manufacturing throughout the region, rail included.


A quick ‘dip’ into the First Industrial Revolution ensued with a nod into a very innovative, industrious and transformative past which quite simply, changed the world.


I wholeheartedly applaud the campaign conceived by the Rail Forum and consider it a wonderful opportunity to celebrate everything that makes Britain Great.


I hope you enjoy reading Innovations and Revolutions and that it sparks a desire to get involved with the UK Rail Manufacturing Campaign.”

Barry Michael Aldridge BA (Hons) FCIM CMktr – Head of Marketing for Flotec Industrial Limited.

 

Useful Resources:

 

Flotec Links:



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