On the right track for Olympic glory

Eyes down: Wayne Clayton, right, and Dan Curry on the Bombardier production line at Stauff Uk's factory in Sheffield
Eyes down: Wayne Clayton, right, and Dan Curry on the Bombardier production line at Stauff Uk's factory in Sheffield
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Stauff UK is on track to win Olympic gold for train manufacturer Bombardier and the London Underground.

The Sheffield firm specialises in supplying safety-critical pipework, hydraulic hoses and ancillary equipment to blue chip defence, automotive, energy, rail, food and machine manufacturers.

Quality standards: Scott Milligan puts together a complete piping run to be installed on one of Bombardier's new trains for the London Underground.                                      Pictures: Steve Parkin

Quality standards: Scott Milligan puts together a complete piping run to be installed on one of Bombardier's new trains for the London Underground. Pictures: Steve Parkin

Carlisle Street East-based Stauff has been supplying Bombardier with special clamps to support pipework on its trains for years.

A few years ago Stauff UK launched a Special Projects Division with the aim of picking up major contracts which could involve supplying complete assemblies rather than the individual components that are used to make them.

The company also invested in securing the quality standards needed for safety critical applications.

Military and merchant navy contracts followed and now the company has created its own Rail Division after successfully targeting that sector, too.

Bombardier's new train for the London Underground, which uses Sheffield-based Stauff's pipework and accessories.

Bombardier's new train for the London Underground, which uses Sheffield-based Stauff's pipework and accessories.

“We have been dealing with Bombardier for 15 years, supplying clamps when they required them, then we realised there was so much more they needed and so much more we could offer,’’ says Craig Ball, who now has his own desk at Bombardier Transportation and spends three days a week there.

What made the difference was Stauff offering to supply Bombardier with complete pipework assemblies, which can be almost five metres long and are transported from Sheffield on specially designed metal frames straight to Bombardier’s production line, where they can be bolted into place and connected up.

The first major rail contract Stauff secured was for the Sub Surface Line project, which involves building completely new trains for the London Underground lines that run through the shallower tunnels under London and will be its first to have air conditioning.

More than 1,300 new carriages are being built and Stauff has won a £7.2 million contract to supply the pipework and bracketry for the trains – the biggest single order Stauff has ever won globally.

Pole position: A loom of hydraulic tubes created at Stauff UK

Pole position: A loom of hydraulic tubes created at Stauff UK

As part of the deal, Stauff offered to reduce Bombardier’s pipework costs by 10 per cent – a target that it has already exceeded.

That put the business in pole position for the Victoria Line Upgrade, which involves building 47 new trains that will be used by spectators attending a number of Olympic venues.

The trains have to be in service by June – 12 months ahead of the Olympics – and that means Stauff delivering brake pipework assemblies and accessories twice daily to Bombardier’s plant in Derby. Bombardier’s Mick Cresswell says the company chose Stauff for the Sub Surface Line project because of the company’s refreshing approach to issues like on going cost reduction and the support it offered to the firm’s engineering and production line operations.

“Now, Stauff has stepped in to supply all projects on Bombardiers Derby site - currently 5 projects for the UK rail market - and are a key supplier in helping the Derby site produce in excess of 20 vehicles per week in the first quarter of 2011,” Mr Cresswell adds.

Stauff’s potential to supply the rail industry doesn’t end with the UK.

The company can see opportunities to supply complete assemblies to plants in France, Germany and maybe as far away as India, and that will be good news for other UK manufacturers.

“We have a policy of investing in the UK and we try to buy British tubes,” says Craig Ball.

The orders don’t just mean additional security for Stauff’s existing employees.

The number of people the company employs in Sheffield has risen from fewer than 90 to around 130 as a result of Stauff’s success.