Contrary to popular belief, Britain is one of the world’s biggest manufacturing nations, the ninth largest according to recent figures with an annual output of £192 billion. Close to three million people work in this sector, which delivers 45% of all UK exports. Warrington based company Twinfix, established in 1990 and described by some as the ‘Pioneers of Polycarbonate’, in the main, offer polycarbonate glazing solutions, along with canopies, all designed and manufactured in Britain.
Twinfix have recently become affiliate members of Make UK, who focus on creating the most supportive environment for UK manufacturers to thrive, innovate and compete. Make UK member companies drive over 60% of all UK research and development. As a result of that investment, manufacturing as we know it is changing, adapting, and transforming each and every day. Twinfix are also members of Manufacturers’ Alliance, who are a purpose and values-led organisation that inspires progressive manufacturing leaders to break through the boundaries of possibility. With a focus on producing a quality product, it’s fair to say, Twinfix are firmly embedded in the UK manufacturing community. They are utilising old school craftsmanship closely aligned to technology and software advances. From their range of standard “off the shelf” products through to their ability to carry out complex bespoke design, manufacture and installation services, Twinfix can do it all.
Best of British
Twinfix are a British manufacturer and installer of roof glazing and canopy systems, specialising in delivering a safe, high quality product. From its original roots as polycarbonate and glazing bar suppliers, they now offer a full range of glazing products including their non-fragile Multi-Link-Panel which is often incorporated into a wide variety of canopies, covered walkways, and shelters. Twinfix offers a full service across many sectors, including rail, education, industrial and retail.
Best of both worlds
Twinfix have always prided themselves on providing solutions to problems and see innovation as part of the day-to-day business. With a keen eye on quality and craftsmanship they are strong believers in the benefits of some of the more traditional ways of manufacturing. Due to their culture of innovation, they are always looking at developments within the manufacturing arena or in other sectors, to see if there is any benefit blending their proven techniques with some modern processes, without compromising on quality. Twinfix design and manufacture all of their products which gives them a unique in-depth knowledge. It’s this knowledge that allows them to evaluate the benefits of any development opportunities and evolve. Maintaining a focus on providing British manufactured solutions and the continued high quality of the products they make ‘in house’, along with evolving and absorbing improvement opportunities enables Twinfix to keep ahead of the competition. One of the more “traditional” features Twinfix employs is their ability to carry out dry assemblies at their factory, before they go to site. This simple but effective process almost guarantees trouble free site assembly, as any possible imperfections are rectified by Twinfix, before the assembly leaves their premises. The result is a trouble-free product, something which is rare in manufacturing.
Twinfix have an experienced workforce who have honed their skills over years with the company. All elements of the Twinfix team work together and in one place, the assemblers, the designers, craftsmen, managers and manufacturers all work closely, so any ideas for improvements or innovations can be tested and if successful, quickly implemented. This working arrangement and product knowledge allows them to control the solution and helps retain the quality, keeping customer satisfaction, high. Because they understand their product, it allows them to be creative with the solution. Ease of installation is designed into the product, which means it’s less subject to errors, benefitting the customer and speeding up the process.
“We are lucky to have a skilled, long serving workforce who use their traditional skills to assemble the product.” Twinfix Managing Director, Vicky Evans said.
She continued, “Whilst traditional craftsmanship is vitally important, over the years we have adapted our machinery and manufacturing process to cut down the time taken. We have also incorporated the safest possible processes and as Health and Safety continues to improve and evolve, we have learned and aligned. We are believers in traditional methods, but we have moved with the times, assisted by our forward-thinking approach to product development we have been able to introduce new roofing and canopy products to the market. The designs and engineering are born at Twinfix, and this allows us to provide the customer with a solution that we know works.”
Whole life process
Twinfix offers a full service from initial enquiry and advice on projects, to design, manufacture and installation. Unlike a lot of other companies who buy pre-manufactured parts in and outsource their services, Twinfix do it all themselves. This puts them in a unique position to be able to deliver on their promises. There’s no one else to point fingers at, so the customer gets the best solution possible, installed by the same people who designed it. Saving overheads and markups by having a single supplier rather than a supply chain with middlemen and cutouts along the way.
Digitalisation complements Twinfix’s traditional ways of working. They blend traditional and modern manufacturing, design, assembly and engineering techniques, using only what adds value, they are able to speed up the overall process and keep the high quality. Utilising modern technology to ensure speedy and accurate transfer of plans from the designers to the factory floor. They are currently looking at a software solution, which will speed up and improve data transfer between their design systems. This will further improve efficiency and accuracy, driving up sales and adding benefit to the customer.
Springwood Primary School
Recently, Twinfix were approached by MTX Contracts acting as principal contractor to Springwood Primary School, Manchester to help solve a problem. The school was in need of a canopy to cover a walkway but the canopy would need to be dismantled at short notice in order to allow access across the walkway due to a Build-Over-Agreement issued to the school by the Water Board. Using their in-house design capability and the engineering knowhow, Twinfix proposed an innovative and new solution for the school.
Twinfix would construct a canopy to cover the walkway but by mounting the canopy on runners it could be concertinaed easily by a single person to allow access 24/7 for the utility company. In order to facilitate this concertinaing, the canopy is split level but remains weather tight due to the clever engineering involved. The school ‘could not be more pleased’ with the solution and due to the innovative use of materials and technology, it is simple and quick for an individual to retract the canopy. Click here to read the case study.
As Twinfix continues on its journey, they are capturing the learning from the pandemic and their digital roadmap is evolving as a result.
Dan Smith, Technical Director at Twinfix, said;
“Our approach to new technology has always been responsibly cautious. The last thing we want is an expensive white elephant in the corner of our factory because we didn’t take the time to properly evaluate something, the right approach and get the right expert help and advice. We are blessed with a fantastic team at Twinfix, our ethos has always been to involve them and make them part of any solution. This way they are fully engaged in the development of all new systems and we can work collaboratively to ensure its successful integration.”