The Evolution of Erodex Tooling Solutions (ETS)
Having serviced Rolls Royce’s tooling requirements as part of a long-standing working relationship, Erodex Tooling Solutions has amassed an unrivalled level of experience, particularly within the aerospace sector. In this article, we speak to Chris Grice, Technical Operations Manager of Erodex Tooling Solutions (ETS) and discuss how it has developed as a dedicated service to industry, alongside and often complementing Erodex’s core offerings.
Building a team focused on quality
“When I joined Erodex, there were seven Design Engineers and the company had put a specific plan in place to grow our tooling division as its’ own entity (Erodex Tooling Solutions), putting a dedicated team together to provide robust solutions not just to Rolls Royce, but to the wider engineering community” comments Chris.
“Significant milestones included establishing a dedicated Quality team, headed by a Quality Manager, focusing initially on improving quality systems to control internal and external supply. For example, internally this focused on the ways in which Erodex Tooling Solutions managed orders, quotes and controlled our supply chain. This involved the implementation of a robust quality system in addition to new IT systems”.
Developing a ‘one stop shop’ solution
Since its’ inception, Erodex Tooling Solutions has retained a focus on offering a robust engineering solution to whatever a customer’s requirement may be. The Design Engineers at Erodex Tooling Solutions are capable of understanding and interpreting a customer’s own drawings and from there, the ETS machine shop (as a result of significant investment) are able to manufacture this completely, or design and build tooling to allow a component to enter production. This enables ETS to provide a complete, ‘one stop shop’ solution.
Chris adds: “We noticed that a limited resource existed within the region for precision engineering within our field of expertise. The tools that we are producing are produced ‘down to microns’, so you really have to have an in depth understanding of what materials are being used and how they are likely to react in different environments. Accuracy and repeatability are key requirements of tooling – fundamentally having highly skilled engineers is a real source of competitive advantage. As a result, we made the decision to implement our own manufacturing cell; a full machine shop. This serves to support the engineering requirements of The Erodex Group, as well as the wider Midlands engineering community and beyond.
“Whilst aerospace clients account for a large proportion of the ETS client base, we also boast clients within the automotive, industrial gas turbines, Formula One as well as general engineering sectors; either providing bespoke tooling to allow them to manufacture their own product or by maintaining their existing tooling”.
Expansion based on core values
Erodex Tooling Solutions share the values of the wider Erodex Group with regards to 100% dedication to customer’s needs, regardless of the size of the job or order.
This focus to meet customer requirements led the company to invest in setting up a dedicated tooling facility in Richmond, Virginia 12 months ago in order to service the same AEROSPACE needs in Virginia that exist in the UK. Five engineers employed in the USA compliment the four employed within the UK, constantly sharing knowledge between the two countries and teams, leads to a greater understanding of tooling and manufacturing processes.
The ambitious aspirations for the future of Erodex Tooling Solutions reflect the principles on which it was founded; a dedication to quality and a focus on meeting customer requirements. Chris concludes “We are working towards AS9100 revision D, which will enable us to move beyond manufacturing the tooling that produces components, to being able to manufacture flight parts. We see a need within the market for taking on lower quantity jobs of this type and believe that our expertise and experience puts us in the ideal position to fulfil this”.