Engineering firm has specialist expertise

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Hadee Engineering started life in Chesterfield 43 years ago, fabricating equipment for the steel industry.

After two year, the company moved from the Storforth Lane Industrial Estate to the Old Goods Yard at Renishaw and then, in 1971 expanded again, moving to its present home in a purpose-built factory on the Holbrook Industrial Estate.

From serving the steel industry, Hadee expanded into mining in the wake of the Markham colliery disaster.

Eighteen miners lost their lives and 11 were seriously injured at the pit near Chesterfield when the braking system on the lift cage they were travelling in failed and it hit the bottom of the shaft at speed.

Working with Rotherham-based M G Bennett – now part of the Atkins group – Hadee made equipment to catch cages if the brakes failed and soon had their equipment in pits across the North Nottinghamshire coalfield.

Hadee went on to add engineering capabilities to its welding and fabrication skills and set up its own project design team, enabling it to take on complete projects, spanning everything from initial design to manufacturing, installation and commissioning.

“We started servicing the steel industry and quickly realised we needed to offer a complete service,” says Peter Lowe. “People like to come to a one stop shop.”

Although much of its work involves designing, developing and making things to order, the company has developed some of its own product lines over the years, including a furnace charging equipment and an eco friendly system for separating recyclable materials from household waste and turning the rest into compost.

Despite the ups and downs of engineering over the years, the firm has grown consistently, expanding its Holbrook site, increasing its capabilities for processing everything from carbon steels to exotic stainless steels and aluminium.

The firm has maintained a commitment to training throughout its existence, recruiting apprentices at times when a number of leading companies were making trainees redundant and closing in house training centres.

The result has been the creation of a skilled, loyalworkforce, many of whom started out as apprentices and now hold senior positions.

“If we have got 65 people working here, 40 have got 25 years in and they are all apprentice trained,” says Peter Lowe.

Although the company continues to work for the steel industry, making new plant and repairing and replacing old equipment, it has broadened its horizons as steel has shrunk. Today, the company supplies the quarrying, cement and power generation sectors with a range of handling and processing equipment, including crushers, screens, hoppers and feeders.

Hadee makes lock and dock gates and other equipment for waterways and ports, beating big name companies to win contracts to build dry dock gates on the Clyde for BAE Systems and lock gates for the canal system in Glasgow and lock gates on waterways surrounding the Olympic site in London.

The company is now looking to expand in the European renewable energy sector, offering its expertise in making equipment capable of surviving in harsh environments to wind, tidal and wave energy companies.

Hadee’s expertise is also in demand in specialist areas – including making jigs used in manufacturing the wings for the A380 Airbus, parts for the main drives of naval vessels, including the new Astute class submarine, and massive vacuum vessels, used in manufacturing foam.