DT Pupils Expand their Knowledge at Numatic International
Nine of our lower Sixth Form DT pupils recently visited Numatic International based in Chard, the home of Henry vacuum cleaner!
The aim of the visit was to see, first-hand, some of the manufacturing processes and development tools employed by this world-leading manufacturer of vacuum cleaners.
Although Numatic are a local company, established in 1969 (with six employees), its growth has been rapid and consistent.Today they employ just over one thousand people and have a turnover of some one hundred and forty million pounds a year. They are also the only UK manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, something the founder and owner is very proud of.
Not only have the numbers of employees changed over the years, but also the technologies used.The students were able to witness first hand, injection moulding, production and assembly lines, automated testing, rotational moulding and even the most up-to-date rapid prototyping technologies as used by Formula 1 racing teams.
All this technology enables Numatic to produce over six and a half thousand Henry vacuum cleaners a day, that’s just over one every 60 seconds or one million every year. As well as Henry and Hettie, the company also make an incredible range of domestic and commercial cleaning machines including ride-on models and specialist hazardous waste vacuum cleaners.
Interestingly, nearly 90% of all the components manufactured, are produced on site, supporting the local economy and limiting the company’s carbon footprint.
Some of the highlights of the day included seeing the SLS (selective laser sintering) rapid prototype machines and learning about their capabilities.This machine can print in the x axis at 1cm an hour, with their biggest model having taken 72 hours to produce. We were also invited into the product testing facility (the first school to do so), witnessing products and prototypes being put through their paces and tested to destruction!
Commenting, our Head of DT, Jason Grindle, said: “Visits such as this are a vital part of our pupils’ learning process, enabling them to relate theoretical knowledge taught in the classroom, with practical application. Numatic International provides a unique opportunity for our pupils to witness first-hand, the complete design and realisation process entirely under one roof.”
He added: “Textbooks can only provide so much information, and are no substitute for meeting and speaking to the people who make companies like this such a success. I hope that this experience, along with the future trips we have planned will help to enrich and enthuse the minds of tomorrow’s designers and engineers.”
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