People, Places, Business

Nidum Precision Tooling

Nidum Precision Tooling

Established in 1962, Resolven based Nidum Precision Tooling Ltd provides customised design and manufacturing solutions primarily to blue chip manufacturers. The company came under the ownership of Ewan and Julie McConnell in 2007 and their vision was to broaden the customer base and create a centre of engineering excellence in Neath Port Talbot.

co-ordinate measuring machine

Nidum creates customised engineering solutions through the design and manufacture of custom built fixtures, fittings, gauges and replacement parts.  These enable manufacturers with production line based processes to build and introduce new products, enhance the performance of existing product lines, or to obtain a cost effective source of spares and improved parts. Customers include Tenneco Walker, Ford Motor Company, Senior Automotive, Jaguar Landrover and BAE Systems.

Outside View of the Factory

Supported by Neath Port Talbot CBC, the company invested in developing its premises with the installation of a mezzanine floor. This enabled the relocation of sister company Magor Designs Ltd, a recognised leader in the design of gauging and jigs within the automotive and aerospace sectors, to Resolven. Having both design and manufacturing capabilities on the same site resulted in significant customer service benefits being achieved. In addition to the design studio, offices, a meeting room and a quality testing facility were created.

Nidum employs 24 and has a strong team of highly skilled engineers and designers backed up by dedicated administrative and finance functions. The company has a long history of investing in its staff and currently employs 2 apprentices and will employ a further 2 by the end of 2011.

Magor Designs

When further investment was required to install a turnkey airflow, ventilation and temperature management system to service the mezzanine facilities, business owner, Ewan McConnell was referred to the South West Wales Local Investment Fund.

“Needing to make a further investment in our premises, we sought support from LIF. Ensuring consistent and controllable air quality across the different activities was vital to improving productivity, quality and achieving energy efficiency gains.

Nidum Precision Tooling

The support through LIF has enabled us to move more rapidly up the capability curve than if we had to fully fund an incremental development ourselves. This means we can be more competitive and offer additional products and services to both existing customers and, potentially more importantly, sustain our drive into new sectors and new customers. We have recently made some significant in roads into new accounts – we have secured this business on a mixture of expertise, service and facilities,” said Ewan.

As part of its strategic development, Nidum also invested in new equipment and wanted to establish a certified co-ordinate measuring machine (CMM) capability within its Quality Assurance facility.  

“CMM machinery produces highly accurate and universally accepted measurement and certification of machined parts and assemblies with these products carrying a higher value and level of customer confidence.

Nidum Precision Tooling

This investment had the potential to open wider product sales opportunities for us within our existing customer base, and the market sectors we were assessing all required suppliers to possess CMM capability e.g. aerospace and pharmaceutical.

This investment was a key component of our strategy of broadening our customer base by breaking into new market sectors. However, by this time, the economic downturn had made raising finance difficult and without the further support of the South West Wales LIF team, this investment would not have been possible” said Mark Davies, newly promoted Managing Director of Nidum Precision.

New Offices

He added, “the installation of CMM technology has given us a strong basis for self improvement and learning, as we develop our overall quality assurance standards. Having this facility in-house will greatly increase our capability to extend our ISO9001 accreditation into relevant and recognised standards for other sectors as we continue to broaden our customer base”.

The company has already seen significant benefits from this investment with reduced lead times for customers requiring CMM certification and an enhanced standing and competitive position in its traditional markets and with new sectors such as defence. The CMM machine has also proved to be a great learning and training aid for the team in improving quality standards.

Looking to the future Ewan added – “We have benefited significantly as a business from support from both NPTCBC and the LIF fund. Resources are precious for us all in the current climate and we are gauging and digesting feedback from our recent investments before we determine what we seek to do next. A key task for the next few months is investment in staff training and development to ensure the team have relevant skills and expertise and have confidence deploying these with new and existing customers.”

The investments made to date have provided the company with the facilities needed to operate in an increasingly competitive industry. Moving forward, Nidum will continue to invest in new equipment that increases its technical capability, and to produce high quality products that meet the demands of a wider customer base representing a range of sectors.