PRV Engineering believe that investment and improvement is the key to their success. Whilst the purchase of new machinery requires a large financial investment CEO Simon Jones believes it is well worth it. Customer service and quality is top of the agenda at PRV Engineering and to achieve the highest levels of both, continuous review of existing machinery is needed, as well as a good understanding of what new equipment is capable of. And it’s not just equipment that requires investment; staff and premises get the same treatment.
Following the latest machinery purchase MTDCNC TV paid a visit to PRV Engineering to talk about the reasons behind the purchase of those particular machines. Whilst there, they asked Simon a few questions about PRV Engineering and manufacturing in general.
PRV Engineering was formed in 1986 and started primarily as a pressings company making penny lever lids; they type that you get on custard tins and coffee tins. That side of the business was sold if in 2000 because in 1998, when the economy was changing and we took the decision to change the structure of the business and make it a self-sustaining engineering workshop that sold product.
It sounds as though you’ve come a long way in under 20 years
Yes, we’ve moved on quite a bit. Everything here has only been here since 2000. We’ve built an extension and we no longer just do engineering. We do whole host of things including, CNC machining, fabrication, deep hole drilling, powder coating, wet spray painting, electroplating and a lot of other things too.
Yes, waterjet has been added to my portfolio. We had to choose between laser and water, but as we tend to cut thicker materials the waterjet cutter was what we went for, and it’s a 5-axis waterjet; it’s lovely.
Do you personally get involved in every aspect of the business?
Well, I like to have a little more involvement. It’s what I’ve done all my life; I’ve grown up in the industry, although I’m not on the shop floor anymore! We do a lot of build to print; people send me drawings and we make parts. But I like to have a little more involvement, you know a bit of design for manufacturability (DFM). I like to be involved in the design of a product to make it better, longer lasting or quicker and easier to make. I like a bit of a challenge!
To run a successful engineering company do you think you need to be an engineer that’s interested in product?
Absolutely 100%. You have to have a love for this and I love it – always have, but I like doing things different. I don’t like doing just one thing which is why we offer a whole range of services. That’s the reason my customers come to me; because I can do it all. I don’t have to go anywhere else to complete a job. There’s only one thing I sub out and that’s heat treatment.
The level of investment we’ve talked about over the last 17 years or so isn’t small. Do you have any idea of how much money has been put into the business?
Not in total off the top of my head. But when we put the 10,000 square foot extension up 4 years ago and added the Mazaks, that was a £1.2 million investment. The new machinery we’ve put in recently and the new extension we’re building will cost around the same – another £1.2 million. So, you’re looking at about £1.2 million every 4 years or so – it’s a lot!
I’m looking around the machine shop and the types of parts you make are varied, from copper parts to plating work. You cover everything don’t you?
Yes, we do. There are some industries we specialise in; high voltage power gear is one of my biggest ones, but we make parts for all sorts of industries. We make parts for the automotive industry and auto sports. We make busbars for energy storage systems, we do defence works and we do valve work. We’ve got heavy fork truck and lifting gear, so yes, we can do absolutely anything. If somebody wants something made, we can make it and in any material from the most exotics to wood and plastic.
Are logistics an issue? Does it matter where the buyer is?
No, not for us. 23% of my business is export and we supply to several European countries. We have our own vehicles so there is no issue.
Presumably craneage is important with the size of some of the parts you’re making?
Absolutely. It was the reason for the earlier extension which has a 10-tonne erect crane and the new extension we’re planning will have two 5 tonne overheads.
And employees – are you a big part of the employment in the area?
We’ve got 60 employees at the moment and we’ve taken on quite few in the fabrication area. We’ve been doing a few local projects and also been involved in the regeneration work in Newport doing structural and architectural steelwork; an area that’s growing nicely for us.
PRV Engineering manufacture for an expanse of industries from Food and Chemical Processing, Oil and Gas, Railway, Aircraft and Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Defence and Construction, in fact all types of Industrial and Specialist Engineering is catered for at our facility.
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