The History of Filton - the 2000's
Wednesday 13th July 2022
This year we are celebrating 80 years in manufacturing. Today's blog looks at some of the special joints that we designed and manufactured during the 2000’s and how the export market has grown since 1942.
The picture above is from an event we attended in 2010.
Filton entered the new century with positivity. The variety of applications for standard products and Filton’s openness to working with customers to develop special designs meant that sales levels were consistent. Unfortunately, the credit crunch and resulting recession later in the decade affected the company and meant that redundancies were necessary.
Since this time Filton has worked with a smaller workforce but with the same facilities. The growth in the use of technology in every aspect of the business has obviously made this easier and ensured that Filton has continued to deliver for their customers.
The new century brought more new applications for Filton Rotary Unions and Swivel Joints in the UK and around the world.
The 2000’s saw continued growth in the requirement for Swivel Joints on offshore reeling systems. Generally higher pressures were required and the normal was now 10K psi. The number of ports required was also increasing with some units having 22 separate connections!
A customer was using an old, packed gland system on machinery producing silver pigment for metallic paint. This needed regular adjustment and failed frequently. This was replaced with a single flow “overshaft “ design to take the 4 outlets from the end of the shaft. A conventional single flow Filton Rotary Union was mounted on the end to feed the fluid into the machine.
Another new and unusual application was for a company producing fire training equipment for the aviation industry. They approached Filton for a special design which required multi-port joints to supply LPG liquid and vapour to a “fire wall”. The flames could be directed to sections of the wall to simulate different types of fire and the unit could be rotated to change the effect of the wind direction.
A pharmaceutical company had a requirement where they needed supply and returns of solvent and water/glycol to a vessel. These needed to operate from -30 to +200oC. It was a requirement that under no circumstance could the solvent and water / glycol be allowed to intermix. A special Rotary Union was manufactured in stainless steel with additional seals and vents to atmosphere to satisfy the design brief.
Filton received an exhibition enquiry which led to the manufacture of the largest and most expensive Swivel Joint up to that time. It was made up of 3 sections comprising of a DN00 vacuum, six low pressure oil ports ranging from DN20 to DN30 and two DN25 high pressure oil ports. The face of the vacuum connection was a radius of 465mm, and the overall height of the complete unit was nearly 1.9 m.
Around the World
As Filton grew from it’s conception in the 1940’s so too did the export market. Filton identified the need for representatives around the world and some of these stayed for many years passing their businesses on through the generations. The first agents (now distributors) were appointed in France and Germany in the early 1960’s. These markets continue to be the largest.
Later in that decade more agents were appointed in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Norway, Portugal, South Africa and Switzerland. The 1970’s saw Australia, Denmark, Greece, the Phillipines, Spain and Sweden added to the list. Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Yugoslavia and the Netherlands were appointed representatives in the 80’s and Argentina, China, Cyprus, Egypt and the Czech and Slovak republics were appointed during the 1990’s.
New Zealand, the Middle East and the USA were soon added to the list and the representatives in Mexico, Poland and Turkey have been appointed since 2010.
The representatives have changed as the world has changed over the last few decades and Filton is now represented in 26 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Middle East, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the USA.
Peaking at around 60% in the 1990’s Filton’s export market now represents approximately 50% of sales. As we emerge from a global pandemic and face new challenges Filton will continue to supply standard and special Rotary Unions and Swivel Joints all over the world.
Next month – the 2010’s.
15th Nov 2023
18th Oct 2023
20th Sep 2023
23rd Aug 2023
26th Jul 2023
22nd Jun 2023
16th May 2023
19th Apr 2023
17th Mar 2023
22nd Feb 2023