James Walker RotaBolt is continuing to invest heavily in its future success. It has recently taken on the company’s first apprentices as well as installing two highly specialist CNC turning machines which will further enhance its production capabilities.
Jake Brown and Dan Dawes will be spending the next four years on a tailor made training programme acquiring the skills and qualifications necessary for a successful career with the world leader in bolted joint technology. They originally registered with the EEF’s national apprenticeship website and the EEF have devised a bespoke programme to equip them with core engineering skills and an advanced B Tech diploma at the end of four years. The two new CNC machines represent an investment of £300,000 and will allow the Company to carry out heavy duty and highly accurate machining using gun drilling or deep hole drilling techniques.
RotaBolts are manufactured by drilling out a standard bolt and fitting specialist technology that accurately measures the tension that is being achieved as the bolt is tightened. The increased use of the fasteners across a wide range of industries has seen new areas of application and new demands on production capabilities, both in the size of fastener being used and the type of metal.
In recent years, the Company has produced RotaBolts up to 4 metres in length for foundation bolting on very large compressors weighing over 200 tonnes and for subsea applications on large offshore platforms. Converting bolts of this size presents major production challenges and demands very specialist machining and handling. In addition, bolts made from more exotic metals, such as high nickel alloys, can be handled in-house for producing RotaBolts that are being used in particularly corrosive and aggressive environments. The new machines have enabled the Company to improve the flow and efficiency of its production, while still encompassing important elements of ‘engineering by hand’ on every single bolt produced as part of the process.
RotaBolt technology is increasingly being used in petrochemical processing, the onshore and offshore oil and gas industries, in renewable energy and in heavy engineering applications. Although the technology was invented in the early 80s, it has only been in recent years that its benefits have become more widely understood. Much of the recent growth has come from South East Asia and the Company now has a production facility in Taiwan which is starting to meet this increasing demand.