20 May, 2024

Gardner Denver celebrates 45 years of British manufacturing success

16 September, 2015

Vacuum pump and compressor manufacturer, Gardner Denver, has celebrated 45 years of great British manufacturing at its Redditch factory, with a recently held open week for current and former employees, customers, the press and local dignitaries.

Held at the company’s state-of-the-art Centre of Excellence in Redditch, the event marks Gardner Denver’s status as one of the few remaining manufacturers of air compressors in the UK, with local MP, Karen Lumley as well as Mayor of Redditch, Pattie Hill both joining in the celebrations.

The company is a major employer in the local area, with over 300 people currently working on site producing world-recognised products including Hydrovane, which has been produced on the site since the early 1970s, together with the 160-year-old Belliss & Morcom brand and long-standing Reavell range.

Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch County who visited the site last week, commented: “I’m proud to be able to celebrate the continued success of a local manufacturing company here in the Midlands, a company with a worldwide export market supported by a strong local supply chain.

“I’m also a big believer in apprenticeships and preparing young people for the world of work and companies like Gardner Denver, which are helping to create sustainable employment and encourage more young people in to a career in engineering, should be recognised for the positive contribution they are making to the economy.”

Commenting on the apprentice scheme, Ben Sweet, who has just completed his four-year apprenticeship with Belliss & Morcom, added: “Taking up an apprenticeship means you can get ahead while you’re working and I’m always learning something new. Working in engineering means no two days are the same and you benefit from the experience of those around you."

Visitors to the open week had the chance to meet former and existing employees, including the company’s latest intake of graduates and apprentices. A factory tour was also arranged, where visitors would witness first-hand how the company’s compressors are manufactured and see two brand new machines, launched specially for the event - the high-pressure WH35 for food and beverage customers and the Hydrovane air solution for industrial air applications.

Colin Mander, regional director for Gardner Denver, said: “We’ve witnessed many changes since the site opened in the 1970s and many engineering firsts, including the world’s first vertical compressor design, the development of machines that run without the need for lubricating oil and a wide range of energy-saving innovations.”

Mander explained that employees on the site have worked for around 3600 years within the Gardner Denver Group over the 45-year period. “That’s a lot of experience. Several of these employees have been on the site for over 30 years, with a few having worked here for over 40 years,” he said. Mander added that although it is important to sustain this level of long-term experience it is also critical that the company brings in able and enthusiastic new talent. “We have brought in nine new apprentices and five graduates, and I would expect that within two years we would have doubled that number,” he explained.

Mander stressed that it is important to bring new graduates and apprentices into the company, not just with a view to securing the long-term strength of Gardner Denver as a company, but also, in some cases, in order to ensure there are well-qualified and trained personnel in place that are able to work for the company’s distributors too.

Gardner Denver provides a complete range of vacuum and pressure solutions for customers across industry, including Hydrovane, the Belliss & Morcom and Reavell high-pressure brands, CompAir compressors and Elmo Rietschle and Robuschi vacuum and pressure products.

Gardner Denver was acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (‘KKR’), the American multinational private equity firm, in 2013.

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