Partnership helps keep UK rail manufacturing on track

Posted on 24 Mar 2016 by Jonny Williamson

Two well-established UK businesses are giving UK rail manufacturing a much-needed boost by collaborating on a project for a new fleet of rail haulage locomotives.

Coventry-based MNB Precision has continued its diversification into the rail market after supplying precision engineered parts to be fitted into new axle mounted locomotive gearboxes for Clayton Equipment, a UK manufacturer of battery, trolley, and diesel locomotives for mining, tunnelling and mainline applications.

The partnership comes at an exciting time for the UK rail industry as it starts to recover from difficult previous years.

The £14.8bn Crossrail line linking East and West London, and other high profile rail contracts are contributing significantly to the recovery of the rail industry at a time when The Rail Industry Association has reported that 70% of its members are currently reporting higher business than                                                                                                             normal.

Based in Burton-upon-Trent, Clayton Equipment has been manufacturing locomotives for the past 85 years and, in that time, has manufactured more than 5,000 locomotives for markets around the globe.

Cited as key to the company’s global reputation for quality is the fact that its products come with a prestigious ‘Made in the UK’ stamp, making partnerships with fellow UK manufacturing businesses important.

Operations director at Clayton Equipment, Clive Hannaford commented: “Using British manufactured parts is key to us and we are often keen to emphasize this to our customers.

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The ‘Made in the UK’ stamp is still highly respected globally.

“The ‘Made in the UK’ stamp is still highly respected globally, and our customers do ask us how much of our products are UK sourced. Building partnerships with businesses such as MNB enables us to retain the UK manufacturing heritage and also access a fast turnaround for production.”

MNB Precision took Clayton Equipment’s own design for bearing and seal housings that will be fitted into the gearbox to facilitate its assembly before machining the parts according to bespoke requirements.

For MNB, it’s the size of the company’s machining capabilities that is attracting work in the rail sector, as the company continues to diversify from its oil and gas heritage.

The business is one of a very small number of engineering companies in the UK with the capability to precision engineer a product to four microns over eight metres, an engineering capacity that is typically difficult to source.

The Manufacturer’s Jonny Williamson recently paid MNB Precision a visit to see how the firm had settled into its new premises.

You can read about his visit here

Managing Director of MNB Precision, Luke Benton said: “The UK has a long history of rail engineering excellence, so it’s great for us to be able to work alongside a business such as Clayton Equipment, who have long been champions of this industry.

“Our work together demonstrates that there is still demand for UK-manufactured goods in the rail sector and our machining capabilities put us in a strong position to work with similar businesses as the UK regains its position as a world leader in rail.”