The Machinery Interview: Phil Smith, Wealdpark

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Merseyside subcontractor Wealdpark Limited had a strong 2022 and is looking forward to further growth, powered by new machine tool investments and an expansion of its factory. Director Phil Smith tells Machinery more

Q) How was 2022 for Wealdpark in terms of turnover, sales and growth?

Phil: 2022 will be the highest ever turnover for us, which I would be worried if it wasn’t. Our year ends in January and we will turnover around £4.5m which is approximately a 15% increase on 2021. Obviously, with the increase in prices across the board it would be difficult not to improve turnover.

Profitability will be slightly better than the previous year and given the difficulties we had in the early part of the year with raw material availability, this is satisfactory. As a company, we have grown in staff numbers ahead of a factory extension that has been delayed significantly by the pandemic.

Q) What manufacturing sectors did you work across?

Phil: Like most subcontractors in our game, we have a wide variety of industries that we serve. These include electrical, yellow goods, fluid power and some automotive to name just a few.

Q) What were the biggest challenges for Wealdpark in 2022?

Phil: The main challenge for us early in the year was raw material availability. Although it did not stop us, we found the need to look down several alternative avenues to find supply in time. This was mainly on alloy steels, aluminiums and stainless steels. All of our materials come from Europe and they are in just as big a mess as us in regard to availability of materials and are probably worse off with energy.

The energy issues have yet to hit us from a supply viewpoint due to good luck with our contracts. We have however felt the pain of
our suppliers increasing their prices. We have had no option but to pass these increases onto our customers, who, to be fair, have been very understanding of the situation.

Q) What does Wealdpark’s current machinery plant list include?

Phil: We operate Star sliding head lathes, Miyano fixed head lathes and Hurco machining centres for our production. We currently have 15 Star machines with 20mm, 32mm and 38mm bar capacity. We have six Miyano machines, four ABX64SYY, one BNE51SY5 and one BNJ42SY6 with up to 65mm bar capacity and the availability of chucks on each one to allow us to turn larger billets. We also have a Hurco VMX30i for our prismatic parts. This has 3 + 2 axis capability.

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