EPS Service & Tooling was acquired by Nick Palmer in 2011 and he agreed to invest the funds to create additional capacity and realise the potential of the Scottish wood processing marketplace. Subsequently, the company reports that the growth has been staggering.
The Fife facility is run by operations director Steve Goodlad, and in 2013, with support from Scottish Enterprise, the company invested over £500k in relocating to a 6500ft2 factory and purchasing a range of new Vollmer CNC machinery to help with the growth in production.
The result is that company revenues have grown by over 30% in the last 24 months and turnover has more than trebled since the 2011 acquisition. Employee numbers have risen from four to 14 whilst the aim is to continue to increase staff levels beyond 20 and extend the facility by an additional 5000ft2 over the next five years as customer demand grows.
By investing in equipment, a new facility and staff, EPS has improved its product quality to position the company in the vangaurd of its field.While being located in Scotland has allowed for much improved service times, compared to companies south of Hadrian’s Wall.
Steve says: “EPS is one of only three leading wide bandsaw manufacturers and service providers in the UK, with the other two companies based in northern England. We have the advantage of being local and understanding the needs of the Scottish market and see the growth potential for Scotland.
“Like any customer-driven business, providing clients with a first class, comprehensive, next day service and quality product, is essential. Our state-of-the-art, modern Vollmer CNC facility is well equipped to provide this level of service with the capacity to support the large production volumes of the major corporate sawmilling companies. This level of service underpins our growth in Scotland.”
In the four years since the company takeover, EPS has acquired five new additional machines from Vollmer that includes two RC automatic levelling nd tensioning machines for the levelling and tensioning of the bandsaw blades.
Eluding to the importance of this investment, Steve recalls: “By investing in the Vollmer RC100 and RC110 CNC levelling and tensioning machines, we can guarantee impeccable and consistent blade levelling and tensioning, providing quality and a consistency to the customer that is second to none.”
Added to this investment, EPS has also installed two Vollmer profile grinding machines, the CA200 in 2011 and the CA210 in 2014. Commenting upon these purchases, Steve continues: “The two Vollmer CNC profiling machines are wet grinding machines, this allows us to program up to100 different tooth geometries on our stellite tipped saws and this is of real significance, smaller saw shops tend to use manual dry grinding machines that generate considerable heat when processing the blades, this can result in the blade cracking, which will reduce blade service life.
“The combination of CNC wet grinding our blades and the CNC levelling & tensioning will improve blade service life and performance for our customers.”
The investment in new Vollmer machine tools has not only enabled EPS to enhance its blade quality for end users, but also meet the rapidly growing capacity demands of the business.
As Steve recalls: “There has been a clear correlation between our investment in state-of-the-art Vollmer machines and the quality, consistency and the growing sales of our products. We also invested in an additional Vollmer CAF100 side grinding machine and it gives us greater flexibility, enhanced product lines and significantly improved production times, which result in reduced turnaround times for the end user.”
EPS says it is aware that it is better placed than its competitors to service the Scottish saw mill industry. The strategy now, is to push this advantage home.
As Steve concludes: “Our levels of commitment and ongoing investment in the Scottish timber industry are beyond compare. We are now inviting potential customers to our facility to witness first hand our level of investment and this is paying dividends.
“We have been servicing some of the major players in the sawmilling industry in Scotland for the last five years such as J Gordon & Son, BSW Timber and Anglian Timber to name a few. We recently won a two year service contract with another one of Scotland’s largest saw mill companies, J Callanders & Son of Falkirk.
“J Callanders was previously sending its blades south of the border for re-tipping, but as soon as they appreciated our investment in technology and trialled our service they opted for our local service. Callanders, like other large saw mills and wood processing companies in Scotland are now starting to see that EPS has made some serious investment in the region.”
Steve adds: “As we move forward, we will continue to invest in the latest technology from world leading brands like Vollmer, to exceed our customers’ expectations. This will also be underpinned by our range of ever expanding tooling products and consumables that go beyond band saw and circular saw blades. We will also continue to grow and develop our own skilled personnel to meet the challenges ahead. By investing in state-of-the-art technology and combining this with investment in staff to increase our skilled saw doctors, EPS has a bright future ahead.”