VIKING JOHNSON MILLION £ PLANT INVESTMENT IMPROVES LEAD TIMES
Posted: Thursday 5th July 2012
Viking Johnson has successfully completed a multi-million pound investment in its Large Products Factory at Hitchin. The enhancements, which started in 2011, mean that lead times, product availability and flexibility have vastly improved and the Company can now respond to customers quickly in emergency situations, such as pipeline bursts.
Viking Johnson recognised the growth in large diameter coupling demand across all 4 sectors- treatment, pipeline rehabilitation, new lay and desalination- and the need to be able to react quickly in emergencies. As water Companies are tasked with meeting stringent water leakage targets set by OFWAT, the turnaround of pipeline repair products, to exact specifications, is of vital importance.
Viking Johnson, has made a multi-million pound investment to support the creation of a single value stream for the production of large diameter couplings. This investment, along with the implementation of an entire value stream linkage, will allow the business to provide increased capacity and greater flexibility to provide reduced lead times and improved service levels. The area was reorganised into 3 dedicated lines, the latest machinery purchased and staff re-trained. The new machinery, which includes a large ring bar bending machine, a vertical machining centre and a flash-butt welder, has increased both size and volume capacity and enabled one-piece flow through the factory.
The new Fast Track Service has already made life easier for customers. In July 2011, a 40” pipe burst in Huyton, Liverpool, causing catastrophic flooding. Many homes were evacuated and a primary school closed as the fire service pumped water and the water utility sought to get the mains under control. VJ was able to supply a 1048 x 1084mm ductile to cast iron stepped coupling, which was specially fabricated within 24 hours of the request.
When a 914mm steel pipe burst at Wyelands Water Works in the Forest of Dean, the benefits of the recent investment were realised again. The pipe burst on Wednesday 7th March at Wyelands, which pumps water to a holding reservoir at Mitcheldean. The consequence was catastrophic flooding which took 45 firefighters and local road closures. With the aim of safe-guarding water supply to the surrounding domestic properties, Severn Trent acted quickly to perform a temporary repair to reroute water flowing into the reservoir. Viking Johnson manufactured two dedicated flange adaptors using its 24 hour Fast-track Service, to repair pipework without cutting off supply to more than 20,000 homes that rely on the pumping station.
Mark Hopes, Vice President General Manager at Viking Johnson claims the investment as a resounding success. “Customer wants and needs led the investment and so far, their expectations have been far surpassed. Water utilities work hard to minimise water leakage and prevent supply disruption to customers; We are very proud that we can help in their mission and enable them to react with speed when emergencies do happen.”
Viking Johnson is a leading brand of Crane Building Services & Utilities and manufactures pipe connections, repair products and flow control solutions for the water & wastewater industry.