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Glassworks Hounsell Plans Expansion With Wele 5-Sided Machining Capability

By investing in a Wele bridge-type vertical machining centre, Glassworks Hounsell (GWH) plans to expand its in-house product machining capability, create more jobs and move its subcontract production services into new sectors with the advantage of five-face processing.

Sourced through 2D CNC of Hinckley, the Wele SB316M bridge-type machining centre has a table size of 3,000 mm by 1,500 mm with X, Y and Z travels of 3,060 mm by 1,600 mm by 800 mm.  It has a BT50 gear-driven spindle of 26 kW giving 6,000 revs/min supported by a 32 position tool magazine.

The company was originally founded in 1877 and currently employs 26 people with 11 on the shopfloor of the 25,000 ft2 facility in Halesowen and, as part of its expansion plans, further recruitment is now underway. The company turnover is largely driven from its in-house design, production and subcontract services that involve fabrication, machining and assembly.

Half of sales are generated from production of its core competence industrial feeders supplied to the glass industry while a diverse range of precision engineered products are also supplied to sectors that range from packaging and labelling to confectionary and the automotive  industry. Most recently GWH has become a lead supplier to a Flexographic printing press manufacturer that recently shipped an 11 m long print press with run speeds of 150 m/min into mainland Europe.

Said Jeff Blackborow Operations Manager: “We machine a multitude of large and prototype components while providing a valuable and diverse subcontract machining service.” He explains how a horizontal boring machine needed to be replaced which is very skill dependent and was becoming uneconomic on very small and often complex batches of work.  He added: “We have also future business opportunities to expand our subcontract operations into offshore, power generation as well as defence, nuclear and aerospace industries.”

He continued: “We compared similar machines focusing on build quality linked to value-for-money and here the Wele was hard to beat with its specification and five-sided capability to meet our prime requisite of flexibility.”