Teignbridge Propellers invests £1.1m in larger props

Mon, 12 January 2015

An investment of £1.1m will allow Teignbridge Propellers to manufacture and supply propellers up to 3.6m in diameter, opening up new markets for the British company.

The investment – in new buildings and machinery – will allow production of the larger props to start to come on stream in the second quarter of this year.

“We expect it all to come on line in 2015 and incrementally build beyond that,” said MD Mark Phare. “Customers have been asking us to quote to supply props which were previously outside our capacity.

“Previously our maximum size of prop was around 2.5m but there’s not much demand for these smaller props, so this investment will open up new markets for us.

“Existing customers who have provided us with significant orders over the last four to five years are investing in larger vessels which in turn need larger props.”

The new machinery includes a four tonne furnace – previously the company had a one tonne furnace and a two tonne furnace providing a total capacity of three tonnes – also a horizontal borer able to work on props up to seven tonnes, shaft machine, cranes, polishing machinery, inspection equipment, a new lathe and press and a new forklift.

“The vessels in some of the markets we supply are getting bigger, especially in Brazil,” explained Mr Phare. “The oil fields are further away from shore so the vessels have to be larger to reach the fields with the associated deeper water and larger seas they have to contend with.

“The props will be fitted onto larger tugs, offshore support vessels and passenger supply vessels in particular.”

And due to the larger size and weight of the new props and the associated difficulties of manually handling them to carry out inspections, the company is also investing in laser scanning technology.

“Our inspection methods will have to change,” explained Mr Phare. “No-one else in the country is doing laser scanning at the moment so this will give us additional accuracies taking us to a level outside the capabilities of our competitors.”

The new machinery will be housed in an additional specialist factory unit which is currently being built, allowing all the manufacturing after casting to be carried out and remain in one location.

By Katina Read

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