Tube bender manufacturer achieves record sales

Posted on 24 May 2011 by The Manufacturer

Unison, the Scarborough-based maker of all-electric tube bending machines, is celebrating a record business quarter. The company made six machine sales during the first quarter.

Sales in the first quarter amounted to £1.5m, the company’s highest on record. “The surge in sales comes after the prolonged downturn due to the credit crunch, and is due in large part to the sustained marketing efforts we made throughout the period,” said Alan Pickering, Unison’s managing director.

With government-led calls for a higher rate of exports versus imports resounding around Westminster, Unison is able to boast that all six of the machines are destined for overseas clients in the USA, Germany, Holland and South Africa – for applications ranging from aircraft manufacture to general metalworking fabrication. Unison’s overseas business already accounts for over half of the company’s output.

“Up to now we’ve been focusing our international sales efforts in just a few key countries,” adds Pickering. “Expanding that international footprint is the next big step for Unison, and we believe these orders are the first of a large number this year – as we currently have an extensive enquiry list,” says Pickering.

He also points to the investment it continues to make in engineering development over the last two years: “You can view a recession as purely negative, but Unison tried to see the downturn as an opportunity for engineering development,” says Pickering. “Over the last 18 months we have taken several major steps forward in technology, including upgrading the electrical architecture of our tube bending machines to an advanced industrial Ethernet network, and integrating a major new tooling facility that allows our machines to both bend and cut tubes in one continuous process,” he adds.

Unison is also taking on several new staff in order to meet higher levels of demand. They’ll be placed in departments such as mechanical and electrical engineering design.

One aspect helping to win orders is the extremely low energy consumption of Unison’s ‘all electric’ machines compared with traditional hydraulically powered benders. Unison machines only consume any significant amount of energy when actually performing a bend. By contrast, a conventional hydraulically powered bender typically consumes energy almost continually, as the system’s fluid has to be maintained at pressure.