Lenny Henry opens £4.5m Disamatic moulding line in Dudley

A new £4.5 million Disamatic moulding line has been unveiled by iron founder and plastic moulders Thomas Dudley.

Lenny Henry

The 92-year-old Dudley company invited Dudley-born comedian Lenny Henry to perform the official opening of the line on Friday.

Joint managing director Martin Dudley said: “While many organisations have reduced expenditure during the recession, we have looked at things differently.

“We have invested heavily in technology and in developing the skills of our people so that we are perfectly placed to continue to provide our customers with an exceptional service.

“The new line is just the latest phase in a strategic programme that has also resulted in a brand new pattern shop, a new CAD/CAM machining centre, new filtration plant and new bespoke multi-point drilling machine.

“This underpins our ability to work with customers as a long term manufacturing partner and we are already securing significant new business as a result.”

The family-owned company, which employs 250, invested £2m just two years ago in its first Disamatic line.

The two lines give the foundry division, which employs 100, the ability to produce up to 750 high quality castings an hour.

Mr Dudley said the latest investment had been a “huge project” and that he hopes that Thomas Dudley’s investment and commitment to the future of British manufacturing will encourage other firms to invest and buy British.

“As a business we have championed UK manufacturing for many years. We believe that the UK has exceptional engineering expertise and are committed to offering customers a trusted, locally based source of supply.

“The new Disa line represents an investment in excess of £4.5m and further enhances our capability to produce high quality grey and ductile iron castings to customer specifications,” he added.

Two old plants were removed to make way for the new line which was completed in July.

The company has increased its turnover from £25m to £31m since the first line opened.

Mr Dudley said it was also continuing to invest in people and had some loyal long-serving staff.

He said 28 of its team had more than 25 years experience and between them had 950 years service to Thomas Dudley.

In the last year it has bought in new sales staff and has taken on two apprentices and plans to take on another five.

Its long term growth plans include a third new moulding line and introducing robotic finishing at the foundry which uses 95 per cent recycled metal.

Lenny Henry, who also opened the first Disamatic line praised the company as “a cathedral of iron” and said he understood the new machine would increase Thomas Dudley’s turnover by £2m a year.

“I hope you go from strength to strength with the new machine,” he added.

Holden’s Brewery in Woodsetton brewed a special bottled ale Dudley’s Diamond Disa to commemorate the opening. A bottle was given to each guest at the ceremony.