Manufacturer reaps the rewards of investment in automation

Welded steel mesh manufacturer, Siddall and Hilton Products, has invested in two automation projects designed to further streamline its processes.

The Brighouse business partnered with fellow West Yorkshire firm Sewtec to develop a robot to automate the process of packaging and banding its finished product. It is believed to be the only robot of its type in the UK.

The innovation follows the commissioning of Siddall and Hilton Products’ EVG-LGR102 welding machine in August 2021.

It has a faster throughput than other production lines on site, causing subsequent bottlenecks in the process as conventional product handling methods were not quick enough.

Sewtec was identified as an automation partner and the two businesses developed a solution – a fully integrated pallet de-stacking device introducing pallets into the production line automatically.

Andy Dawson, operations director at Siddall & Hilton Products, said: “We’re well aware that automation will play an important role in helping us realise our determination to be a world-class business with these projects marking our first significant step into robotics.

“Following the commissioning of our newest £2m welding machine last year, the need for a swifter, automated stack and wrap palletiser came into stark relief – in some instances the line is 90% faster than conventional mesh welding machines when producing standard panels, and our operators have needed to keep stopping the line while they unload and pack the products.

“Having looked at different automation companies, we were really impressed by Sewtec in terms of their concept, level of know-how and communication.

“By investing in this sophisticated technology, we have been able to recover the efficiency losses of around 10% while also improving the overall health and safety of our employees through a reduction in manual handling.”

Andy Perks, head of sales at Wakefield-based Sewtec, added: “We’re really pleased to be working with Siddall & Hilton Products.

“The two businesses align perfectly and we’re off to a great start on this automation journey. With so much scope for future endeavours together, we are confident there will be further exciting projects ahead.”