An exciting year in the life of Strenco Tools

Published on: 26th January 2017

After a somewhat turbulent 2016 with its many ups and downs, focusing on the ups and the achievements attained, all in all it was a successful year: Team GB had their most successful Olympics in history; Leicester City defied the odds and beat the big guns of world football to the Premiership title.  More controversially Donald Trump overcame significant resistance to be elected as the most powerful man in the world!
Almost comparably in the dawn of 2017 it seems right to reflect on the past year at Strenco Tools as they too have had a turbulent but successful 2016.  As a tool design and manufacturing company where batch work is almost a blue moon event, the appeal of bespoke manufacturing and providing engineering solutions for customers’ problems is evident to all who work there – in fact, it’s clearly in the DNA of the company and its enthusiastic staff.  So much so that eighteen months ago Strenco Tools moved from its ‘old home’ in a residential area in Southmead, Bristol to its current 12000 sq ft building conveniently situated just 20 yards outside the gates of Rolls Royce and 1 mile from Airbus and GKN Aerospace, Filton.
After sixty years this ambitious, family run business saw the need to move into larger more modern premises if they were to achieve their expansion goals. No matter how well their birth place had served them there was no room for sentiment and so in 2009 John Ridding, Technical Director, began the search.
“We knew we had to improve our current site or move to a different one, but if we moved it was imperative that it had to be the right premises in the right location.  We have quite a few large customers including Airbus and GKN Aerospace that rely on us being local as we can react very quickly for rapid turnaround work.  Our roots are in aerospace and this area is well known for being a hot bed for Aviation in the South West”
John’s search wasn’t an easy one but such was the draw of expansion, he wasn’t about to give up easily.
“I didn’t want to move into a soulless industrial estate, i wanted something that we could have a home and an identity, somewhere to be proud of and of course be in the right area of the city”
They had already gained planning permission for redeveloping the original factory in Southmead, and with the strict search criteria proving fruitless John felt he had no choice but to press on with the tricky redevelopment plans, subject to doing one last check on the viability of the costs involved.  It was during that final sanity check John discovered what could be deemed as the perfect outcome to a long and patient waiting game.
“I was trawling the internet yet again to understand whether the redevelopment cost was giving us value for money and in a very obscure corner of the internets property search up came Pegasus House in Gipsy Patch Lane.   It wasn’t very well advertised at all and never came up in my previous searches,  the location was perfect! It needed a lot of building work, extending and modifying but after 2 years our new factory was opened by local MP Jack Lopresti in May 2015. It was just an office block before so we had to build the machine shop where a large car park was, as well as knocking existing walls down and rebuilding internal structure”
It’s no exaggeration to say that John could not have chosen a more appropriate location if he had free rein to jab a drawing pin in a map of Bristol and select a location of his choice!
But all that relocation and building work wasn’t enough for Strenco and in the same year Strenco invested in upgrading its Milling Cell where they acquired 4 high speed, highly accurate and large volume Depo Mills to their already substantial machine list.  These machines are designed for producing tools for the Mould & Die industry but also very successfully utilised with Strenco Tools core aerospace work due to the high tolerances they are capable of.  In addition to the investments of 2015 the inclusion of a 5 axis mill has helped them stride even further into being recognised as one of the leading Aerospace tooling companies in the South West.
Typically the once small family business wasn’t complacent after the chaos of 2015.  Because of the expansion of the Milling Cell and customer demand it was evident that the Turning Cell needed bolstering and adding some balance to the core capabilities.  In 2016, after celebrating their 60th Birthday, Strenco took a visit to Mach 2016 where the Ridding family finalised the deal on their brand new large capacity, high torque CMZ lathe.  This new piece of capital investment sees Strenco strengthen their Turning capability as part of their ongoing growth plans and brings a good balance between Milling and Turning to their already impressive portfolio of high quality machine tools.
John Ridding ended by outlining his vision for the future development and long term success of the Company…….
“We have always had a view that capital investment is vital to stay in touch with customer demands by offering a flexible service with high end capability and we must remain competitive through being smart with our investments. It’s vital for our future that we don’t stand still and we continue to reinvest for the future of Strenco Tools and our staff.”

 Local MP Jack Lopresti opened the new Strenco Tools facility in May 2015.