Multinational flight case hardware and 19-inch racking manufacturer Penn Elcom
continues to invest in all its facilities to ensure the production process stays efficient,
state-of-the-art and meeting the increased demands following the launch of global
online sales portal, in January 2016.

A range of new engineering equipment has been installed at the Washington, Tyne &
Wear HQ over the last 18 months, including new metal brake presses, plastic injection
moulding machines, riveting assembly lines and machinery to enhance processes like
wood laminating, PVC / HPL, zinc plating and powder coating.

There have also been upgrades to the warehousing and distribution departments.
Consolidating all these key manufacturing processes under one roof and minimising
sub-contracting enables Penn Elcom to have a high degree of control over its
products, which guarantees meticulous quality control and the high standards for
which the brand is renowned.

“It also makes the company versatile, agile and responsive to client needs,’ explained
David Brown, MD of Penn Elcom UK.

The 105,000 square foot Washington plant is divided between manufacturing and
warehousing and currently employs 133 full-time staff, out of a total of 194 in the UK.
The others are based at the Hastings facility in East Sussex, giving Penn excellent
coverage and fast deliveries all over the UK and beyond.

The company also has major manufacturing bases and distribution centres in Mexico
and China. These four facilities are the bedrock of a highly successful worldwide trade

With annual global sales of around £60 million, about £14 million of this was
generated in the UK last year, a 12% increase from previous figures.

The ten new power presses installed in Washington range in pressure application
capacity from 80 tonnes to 250 tonnes. The total investment for this alone, including
assorted periphery equipment like feeders, decoilers and monitoring equipment has
been over £400K.

It adds flexibility to the production process and enables a wide range of tasks – from
manual single stage operations to multi-stage progression production to be completed
to the same Penn Elcom standards.

The new presses offer other advantages like reduced power consumption and add
safety features like very reliable integral light-triggered guards (as opposed to the
older physical ones).

David explains that Penn is also trialling a new monitoring system designed to allow
one operative to run multiple presses simultaneously.

Around £50K has been ploughed into the CNC machining centre resulting in enhanced
tool making capabilities. Sophisticated low volume runs can now be produced more
cost-efficiently which is benefitting concept and custom projects, trials and design
ideas for future product development.