9 October 2017
Trip to See Henry and Hettie ...
Fourteen Lower Sixth DT pupils recently visited Numatic International – the Chard home of Henry Hoover!
The aim of the visit was to see, first-hand, some of the manufacturing processes and development tools employed by this world class 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 see two-part injection moulding, production and assembly lines, automated test, rotational moulding and even the most up-to-date rapid prototyping technologies as used by the 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, something like 90% of the components are manufactured in the UK with parts ideally manufactured within a very small radius, thereby keeping transportation costs (and environmental impact) to a minimum.
One of the highlights of the day was 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.
Visits such as this are an incredibly important part of our pupils’ learning and enable them to translate theoretical knowledge into practical application. The fact that Numatic are local and produce a very well-known brand, demonstrates that pockets of UK manufacturing are still continuing to thrive and evolve.