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Latest News

Gemma Sets off to Climb Kilimanjaro for Charity

15 August 2017

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Alpha's higher apprentice design engineer Gemma Smith will set off to Tanzania tomorrow to begin a week-long climb of Africa's highest peak in aid of global child rights charity Childreach International.

Gemma will join up with 20 other hikers all from Universities across the UK on Thursday 18th August who have also been fundraising for Childreach ahead of the challenge. Between the group, a staggering £67,947.20 has been raised through various fundraising activities.

Having been in training since January 1st, Gemma has walked many of the toughest UK peaks in preparation, including mount Snowdon, Bowfell, Kinderscout, Fairfield Horseshoe and finally xxx last weekend which she completed carrying a 20kg backpack for good measure.

Gemma Kilimanjaro

Tomorrow Gemma will travel alone from XX to Nairobi, Kenya and finally on to Tanzania where the world's tallest free-standing Mountain awaits. The climb itself begins on Friday 18th and will take 6 days to complete as the group will spend a night at each of Kilamanjaro's campsites – Machame Gate (start of trek) (1,743 m), Machame (3,026 m), Shira (3,766 m) Barranco (3,983 m) Barafu (high (4,645 m) and summit.

With little time after the walk to enjoy Africa, Gemma will make the 7000 mile return trip to the UK on the 25th.

From everybody at Alpha Manufacturing good luck Gemma!

Alpha Successfully Complete Transition to ISO14001:2015

09 August 2017

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During August Alpha Manufacturing completed the transition to ISO14001:2015 from the previous version ISO 14001: 2004 along with sister companies Bri-Stor Systems and Atlas Coating.

The ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System revision was released in September of 2015 and specifies the requirements for an environmental management system that an organization can use to enhance its environmental performance.

All Businesses that are registered to the 2004 revision had until September 2018 to complete the transition to the revised standard, as the Bri-Stor Group endeavours to protect the Environment and Ecosystems through a proactive approach we set out our objective to attain certification to the 2015 Revision by September 2017.

The update from the previous 14001:2004 standard follows an intensive review of the system and brings in improvements in the following areas:

  • Integration with other management systems
  • A more integrated approach to organizational management
  • Reflect the increasingly complex environments in which organizations operate
  • Enhance an organization's ability to address their environmental impacts

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The transition process has seen our health and safety management take a completely fresh view of the system, highlighting any key changes between the two and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Over the last 12 months, the Bri-Stor group of company's management teams have been collectively engaged in revising their current working practices and procedures to meet the requirements of the new standard while still remaining compliant to their other existing obligations.

The culmination of which was a 3-day audit by awarding body NQA during the last week of July. Thanks to dedication and commitment to protecting the environment from employees and management alike, all three companies with the Bri-Stor Group were recommended for ISO 14001:2015

Alpha announced as Manufacturer of the Year 2017

07 July 2017

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Alpha Manufacturing are delighted to have been named Manufacturer of the Year 2017 at last night's Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards. The annual awards showcases the achievements and outstanding performance of Staffordshire’s best businesses.

 

The Awards evening was held at the Staffordshire County Showground on Thursday 6th July and was attended by finalists from all 13 awards.

 

In the Manufacturer of the Year category,  Alpha were up against staircase manufacturers Stairbox and Advertising constructions. Alpha were selected as the winner thanks to the huge success of the company over the last 12 months, particularly  terms of investment, employee engagement and new business.

 

Attended by a mixture of Alpha employees from directors to apprentices, the evening itself was enjoyed by all and the team were delighted to leave with the award.

 

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Commenting shortly after the awards, Group Director Martin Smith said:

 

“It’s a really proud day to see our team collect the Staffordshire Chambers Manufacturer of the Year award. A richly deserved accolade for a group of people with tremendous energy and determination. Congratulations to them.”

 

Despite the successes 2017 so far, Alpha will be sure not to rest on their laurels after this win and work will continue to improve on the successes of this year.

Trumpf TruBend 7000 Project – More than another installation.

28 June 2017

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This week will see the completion of Alpha Manufacturing's' latest machinery installation as final programming and testing of the new TruBend 7000 Bend Cell takes place.

Purchased alongside a new TruBend 5000 machine as part of a £1 million investment by the precision sheet metal fabricator, the fully automated robotic bend cell will dramatically increase Alpha's folding capacity.

The TruBend Cell allows a new level of flexibility through its high automation and offline programming. Extremely fast and accurate processing speeds allow maximum flexibility, particularly in small batch work.

Key Features:
• X2 faster output than conventional bending cells thanks to synchronized processes
• Automated Load Master Bend loads sheets while production is underway
• Reduced downtime through offline programming
• Automated tool changer makes order processing extremely flexible, particularly when working with small batches
• 6-axis back gauge ensures maximum part flexibility

The 7000 Project
The actual installation of the TruBend Cell has been relatively short having only taken around 3 weeks from early June 2017. However, the project surrounding the new machine has been ongoing for months, while the original strategic plan which lead to its purchase was established years in advance.
 
Alpha announced this latest investment; £1 million to purchase the TruBend Cell 7000 and TruPunch 5000s12 back in December 2016, shortly after the installation of a TruLaser 3030 Fibre and STOPA Storage machine. Since then, wheels have been in motion at Alpha in preparation for the arrival of the 7000.
 
An expert with experience of operating the TruBend Cell was needed to program and operate the machine and so Joey Verueco joined the team a full two months prior to its installation. Since then, Joey has worked on pre-programming parts so that there will be no delay in the machine becoming fully operational once installed.
 

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The two new installations have also had a major impact on the shop floor and Alpha's design department were busy back in January 2017 re-drawing the entire factory layout to accommodate.

Careful consideration was given to machine position to ensure that workflow through the factory was optimised. Existing machines have either been repositioned or in the case of our Pullmax 720 machine; sold to accommodate the latest additions.

Long Term Plans
Although this latest installation clearly offers plenty of immediate advantages in terms of production capacity, it represents something much more significant for the Midlands based manufacturer. The TruBend 7000 Cell installation is a key step in a phased strategic development plan which was set out back in 2015 and has been at the forefront of Alpha's operational planning ever since.

This ambitious plan outlined a set of targets to be achieved by 2020, one of which was the complete automation of Alpha's manufacturing facility.

The realisation of this plan began way back in July 2016 when Alpha signed off on the purchase of a STOPA automated storage system and Trumpf TruLaser 3030 Fibre machine at a combined cost of £1 million.

STOPA

The STOPA storage system offers fully automated material handling and material flow with full integration into processing machines. Raw material is loaded into the STOPA storage system and is then picked by a longitudinal moving picker crane and delivered to processing machines as required.

This allows for ultimate efficiency in material handling and stock management, as minimum re order levels can be set and materials automatically replenished as required.

Speaking at the time, Alpha's Operations Director Paul Clews:

    "This installation is the first stage of an automated system which will eventually run the entire length of our factory. By 2020 the majority of our processing machines will be automatically fed by this system. This will not only include our punch and laser machines, but also all folding and panel bending processing will be fully integrated. This will enable all strategic WIP to be managed by the push of a button, maximising efficiency.

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How the 7000 Cell fits in.
The Trubend 7000 machine was purchased not only because of its complete automation and offline programming capability but also for its ability to easily integrate with the STOPA system. Long term, the STOPA system will run the entire length of Alpha's factory and will feed all processing machines.

The 7000 machine has been strategically positioned so that it can easily be integrated with the STOPA when the time comes for it to be extended. This will mean that the entire process of folding using the 7000 will be offline and automated, from material storage, picking, loading, processing and re-storing.

More than just a new installation, Alpha's TruBend Cell 7000 project is a landmark moment in a long-term plan set out in 2015 and a clear indication of the direction in which the company will be heading in the coming years.

Alpha Shortlisted for Midlands Manufacturer of the Year

01 June 2017

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Alpha Manufacturing have been shortlisted for the Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Manufacturer of the Year Award 2017.

The Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards celebrates the achievements, success stories and outstanding performance of Staffordshire's best businesses and had a great response from across the county. Over 200 entries were received in the 13 categories from all areas of the County, including Burton, Cannock, Leek, Lichfield, Newcaste-under-Lyme, Rugeley, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Tamworth.

Nominated following a highly successful 2016 and early 2017, the midland based sheet metal fabricator will now enter the judging phase of the awards which will involve a visit by the judging panel. Finalists for the Manufacturer of Year Award will be judged on product design, testing, development, production, marketing, sales and overall business performance and Alpha are confident of impressing in these areas.

Currently in a period of intensive growth, Alpha recently invested £1 million in a new STOPA storage machine and TruLaser, and are currently in the process of a further £1 million installation of a TruBend Cell 7000 and TruPunch 5000 S12. This investment, combined with numerous business improvement initiatives were key to Alpha's nomination and will hopefully demonstrate the company's ambitions to the judging panel.

Alpha Manufacturing to Continue Strong Investment In 2017

06 March 2017

Following Alpha Manufacturing's recent £1 million installation of a STOPA automated storage system and Trumpf Trulaser 3030, both completed during February, the midlands based precision sheet metal fabricator are excited to announce a further investment of over £1 million planned for the coming months.

This latest outlay will encompass the addition of a Trumpf Trubend 7000 cell to Alpha's current Fold offering whilst a Trumpf TruPunch 5000 S12 machine will bolster Punch capabilities. Installation of the TruBend Cell is due to begin at the start of May and is expected to take 3 weeks, while the TruBend machine installation will begin at the start of June and will also take 3 weeks to complete.

TruBend Cell 7000
The introduction of a fully automated robotic bend cell will dramatically increase Alpha's folding capacity and flexibility through its high automation and offline programming. It's extremely fast and accurate processing speeds allow maximum flexibility, particularly in small batch work.

This will be the first Trumpf folding machine installation in Alpha's history and following investments in the Trumpf Trulaser and Trubend, re affirms Alpha's commitment to working with one of the biggest machinery suppliers at the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.

Key Features:
• X2 faster output than conventional bending cells thanks to synchronized processes
• Automated Load Master Bend loads sheets while production is underway
• Reduced downtime through offline programming
• Automated tool changer makes order processing extremely flexible, particularly when working with small batches
• 6-axis back gauge ensures maximum part flexibility

TruPunch 5000 S12
The fastest punching machine in the world, the new TruPunch 5000 will increase Alpha's current punch capacity by around 20% thanks to its superior capabilities in productivity, process reliability and flexibility.

Processing speeds will be dramatically improved thanks to the machines sheetmaster, allowing automated loading and unloading of materials and a 90-station tool changer which will negate the need to manually replace tools between jobs.

The addition of this machine also fits Alpha's long term strategy of shopfloor automation as it will eventually become fully integrated with the new STOPA storage system. This means that raw material can be picked from stores, punched and then loaded back into storage once completed', ready for the next process.

Key features:
• Punch stroke rate of up to 1600 strokes/min
• Maximum productivity in processing of complex contours due to increased rotational speed
• Drives without clearance allow maximum acceleration and positioning accuracy
• Optimized productivity and process reliability from smart functions
• Intelligent automation solutions such as ToolMaster Linear for fast tool changes
• Sortmaster pallet allows higher productivity by stacking and arranging finished parts

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The installation of these new machines, alongside Alpha's latest additions will entail a significant change to the factory layout as strategic WIP is evaluated with integration into the STOPA system in mind. It also once again reiterates the company's commitment to growth through strong investment in the latest manufacturing technology in order to stay at the forefront of sheet metal fabrication.

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Installation of STOPA Automated Storage System Complete

03 March 2017

At the end of 2016 Alpha Manufacturing announced a £1 million investment in new technology in the form of a STOPA storage system and Trumpf TruLaser 3030 laser cutting machine. Installation of these two cutting edge machines began in early December and has now been completed, right on schedule.

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These latest additions to Alpha’s facilities puts the Midlands based manufacturer in an exclusive bracket of only a handful of UK sheet metal manufacturers with this kind of technology.

The STOPA storage system offers fully automated material handling and material flow with full integration into processing machines. Raw material is loaded into the STOPA storage system and is then picked by a longitudinal moving picker crane and delivered to processing machines as required. 

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This allows for ultimate efficiency in material handling and stock management, as minimum re order levels can be set and materials automatically replenished as required. By drastically reducing the manual labour required for transport and storage of material, so the risk of accident and injury to shop floor operatives is also minimised.

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A Day at the Races for Bri-Stor Group Veterans.

07 December 2016

A group of 70 employees and spouses from across the Bri-Stor Group enjoyed a day at the races this week to celebrate the launch of a new scheme which recognises long service within the group.

The Bri-Stor Group recently launched a long service awards programme which recognises the efforts and commitment of our longest serving employees. Anybody serving 15 years or over will receive a series of awards and gifts starting with one extra annual day’s leave, increasing for every extra five years thereafter.

Staff members from Alpha Manufacturing, Bri-Stor Systems and Atlas Coatings enjoyed a day at Uttoxeter races along with Group Directors to celebrate the introduction of the new scheme.

Bri-Stor was originally founded 33 years ago, and with many employees having joined and remained through the groups growth since then, it was decided that now was a good time to begin to reward those employees. 

Race Day

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Alpha Manufacturing Completes Stage 1 OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety Certification

28 October 2016

Alpha Manufacturing has this week completed the first stage of OHSAS 18001 certification which is the International Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard. This certification provides a framework for the effective management of OH&S including all aspects of risk management and legal compliance.

What is OHSAS 18001

 

 

Stage one of the certification process involves an audit of the Health & Safety management system to ensure that it conforms to the requirements of the standard.

The second and final stage of the certification will be completed during December this year when an assessor will conduct an operational audit of company processes, documenting how the system in place complies with the standard, using objective evidence.

What this means to Alpha's Customers

 

 

Achieving this certification demonstrates that Alpha fully understand and effectively implement a comprehensive health and safety management system, adhering to legislative requirements which allows us to Identify workplace hazards and implement effective preventive controls.

In turn, this means that factors such as lost time incidents are drastically minimised, improving productivity and therefore reducing lead times and costs to customers.

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Alpha Manufacturing Higher Apprentice Wins Prestigious Award

28 October 2016

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Alpha higher apprentice Gemma Smith was recently recognised for achievements in technical education as she received the Duke of York Gold Award for excelling in both her A-level studies and development of workplace skills such as communication, problem solving and leadership.

Founded by Lord Baker and Dearing educational trust in 2013, the Awards aim to encourage wider support for young people choosing technical education from parents, businesses and other stakeholders by acknowledging their success.

This year's ceremony was held at the prestigious St James's Palace in London with awards presented by the Duke of York, who is the patron of the Baker Dearing trust. During the award ceremony, His Royal Highness presented Awards to 117 students from 6 UTCs, addressing attendees afterwards:

"Congratulations on what you have all achieved, it is outstanding. Take what you have learnt so far and expand your skills and knowledge."

Duke of York Awards 2016

Another proud recipient of the Gold award on the night was Bri-Stor systems higher apprentice Jess Thompson. Gemma and Jess both joined the Bri-Stor Group apprenticeship programme from the JCB academy earlier this year and will be studying manufacturing and mechanical engineering degrees at Derby University alongside their work place learning.

For more information on Apprenticeships with Alpha Manufacturing Click Here

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2016 - A Milestone Year for Health and Safety at Alpha

09 September 2016

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2016 has been a landmark year for Alpha Manufacturing in terms of health of safety as the entire shop floor team achieved over 365 days without a single lost time accident.

First to reach the milestone was our Weld department back in June, closely followed in July by the Assembly and Despatch department and finally, the Sheet Metal department achieved their 365 days during August. A great achievement for us as a company and one that collectively we're very proud of. The first time that we have had no lost time accidents at all for 365 days, it is a testament to the progress we've made with regards to health and safety over the last few years.

This has been achieved through the implementation of a structured Health and Safety management system adopting a "zero tolerance" approach to accidents since 2013. In practice, this means that all incidents no matter how minor, are reported and diligently investigated with preventative measures then implemented.

By working closely with all departments on developing strong communication, our health and safety department have developed a culture of safe practice and the results are now clear to see.

Our next goal is to achieve OHSAS 18001 certification which is a health and safety management system standard used to ensure a systematic approach to managing health & safety management.

As we continue to develop this ethos of safe working practice as a team, we hope to see these kind of statistics become common place in the future.

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Alpha Manufacturing announce £1 Million investment in a new STOPA storage system

08 August 2016

Alpha Manufacturing have taken another huge step in achieving an ambitious five-year plan to double turnover by the end of 2020.

This week saw the company sign off on the £1 million installation of a new fully automated STOPA storage system, which will put the Midlands based sheet metal manufacturer in an exclusive bracket of only a handful of UK sheet metal companies with this kind of technology. Installation will begin early December 2016 and is expected to take around 5 weeks.

STOPA PIC

In addition to the STOPA system, Alpha will also be installing a brand new state of the art Trumpf 3030 Fibre laser with loading automation. This machine will replace one of Alpha's older, existing Bystronic lasers and will be integrated into the STOPA system once installation is complete.

What is the STOPA Storage system?

The STOPA storage system offers fully automated material handling and material flow with full integration into processing machines. Raw material is loaded into the STOPA storage system and is then picked by a longitudinal moving picker crane and delivered to processing machines as required.


This allows for ultimate efficiency in material handling and stock management, as minimum re order levels can be set and materials automatically replenished as required. By drastically reducing the manual labour required for transport and storage of material, so the risk of accident and injury to shop floor operatives is also minimised.

Why is this system important?

The installation of this system is the first stage of a strategic, phased development plan which will eventually see Alpha's manufacturing facility become completely automated.

As operations Director Paul Clews explains:

      "This installation is the first stage of an automated system which will eventually run the entire length of our factory. By 2020 the majority of our processing machines will be automatically fed by this system.

This will not only include our punch and laser machines, but also all folding and panel bending processing will be fully integrated. This will enable all strategic WIP to be managed by the push of a button, maximising efficiency.

The installation will take us away from the conventional tower system which we currently use, as do many of our competitors, allowing long term full management of sheet metal all the way through to complete manufactured parts."

This latest acquisition once again re affirms Alpha's commitment to continued investment and a desire to constantly improve its service offering through innovation. An investment which clearly demonstrates the vision of the company and ambition of the management.

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Alpha Higher Apprentice Joins Design Team as a Product Engineer

17 August 2016

Alpha Manufacturing are delighted to announce the appointment of their first higher apprentice as part of their ongoing training and development programme. Gemma Smith joins Alpha’s product design and engineering team as a trainee production engineer and will also be studying a Manufacturing Engineering degree at Derby University alongside her work place learning. 

Gemma arrives at Alpha having studied an AS – Extended Product Qualification, A Level Product Design and level 3 engineering at JCB academy where she exceled in her studies. During her time there she achieved head girl role as well as receiving special recognition at the JCB academy awards for service to the JCB academy.

Having enjoyed a successful time at the JCB academy, Gemma had many options available to her but felt that Alpha offered the best opportunity to develop her skills and take the first steps in her career.

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     “Alpha seemed the best fit for what I was looking for in terms of offering a broad experience in many different areas of engineering. Other companies that approached me offered a more limited scope with regards to developing different skills and the roles that were offered also seemed quite restricted. I’m quite a hands on person and since joining the product design team here I’ve been heavily involved in various areas of the manufacturing process and not just sat at my desk.”

Gemma will now continue to work alongside the Alpha design team whilst studying at Derby University over the next three and a half years and once her studies are complete she hopes to become an Alpha manufacturing production engineer.

Following on from a record breaking 2016 for Alpha’s apprenticeship scheme this latest appointment is another positive reflection on Alpha’s continued training and development programme and investment in developing young people. 

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Alpha’s Sales Team Expands with Appointment of New Key Account Manager

14 June 2016

Alpha Manufacturing are delighted to announce the appointment of Peter Hocknell, who will be responsible for developing key accounts to their sales team. 

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Peter brings with him a wealth of experience in actively seeking opportunities and developing relationships within a key account management role.

Having worked within engineering industries throughout his career beginning with a street furniture manufacturer and later on with a Midlands based sheet metal fabricator, Peter’s depth of knowledge will be a significant addition to Alpha’s sales team.     

His expertise will be vital to the Alpha sales team as they look to further expand their existing customer base through a vigorous sales and marketing push in 2016, whilst also retaining and building on current accounts.

Peter said of his recent appointment: ‘I’m very excited to have joined Alpha Manufacturing and feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to be working with such a welcoming team so motivated to constantly improve and grow the business’.

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