Gallito’s Mark Carson (right) got quite a welcome on his visit to inspect a recent installation – Matthew East (left) co-director at Event Prop Hire, is pictured second from left!

Based at Thorp Arch Estate, near Wetherby in West Yorkshire, Event Prop Hire provides a (literally) incredible range of goods on hire for any kind of themed event; ranging from indulgent private parties, to glamorous corporate events, new product launches, and have even adorned the sets of Strictly and X-Factor.

Event Prop Hire was founded 15 years ago by co-directors Matthew East and Rosie Ellis – the duo had studied together through university, graduating in 2002 with degrees in Entertainment Design and dreams of setting up in business designing, building and selling props. Within a couple of years, those dreams had become reality and the business, originally called Scenecraft, was operating from a 150m2 workshop and selling props ranging from alien costumes to giant sets of teeth.

The Hulk getting a makeover before being dispatched to another office party

Many of the company’s clients were involved with the events industry and, from early on, it became apparent that the themed props they were being commissioned to build would generally be used just once… and then scrapped. It occurred to Matt and Rosie that it would be much more cost-effective for their clients if they were able to hire the props, certainly much less wasteful, and potentially a much more lucrative business model. 

The upshot of this inspired notion was a relocation of the business to larger premises, employment for an extra pair of hands, a company van… and a reincarnation of the business as Event Prop Hire.

Event Prop Hire rapidly acquired a reputation for exceptional quality and service within the industry and, over the next few years, as the company’s client base grew exponentially, Event Prop Hire grew to meet the demand. In 2014, with its head office and manufacturing facility located on the outskirts of York, the company had accumulated tens of thousands of stock items which were now being stored in rented warehouse buildings at Thorp Arch Estate.

With around 60 employees operating across the two Yorkshire sites, the company took another giant step forward by opening a showroom in The City of London, close to Aldgate Tube Station; giving Event Prop Hire a shop window on the doorstep of three quarters of the company’s expanding clientele.

In 2017, with turnover now exceeding £3m, this continued growth had in no small way been due to the company’s commitment to quality and service, and in order to sustain this ethos the decision was taken to streamline the business by bringing admin, manufacturing and storage under one roof. 

The availability of one vast space at Thorp Arch provided the obvious solution, and the company’s new headquarters is spread across some 13,500m2, storing thousands of props and housing a brand new, custom-built manufacturing facility.

Utilising 3D scanning and the latest engineering design software, Gallito created detailed drawings and a virtual 3D representation of the proposed facility before any construction work commenced

Before this major step could be accomplished successfully, a plan to deliver a smooth transition of production from York to Thorp Arch had to be put in place, with the assurance that the new manufacturing facility was fit and ready from the get go to create new bespoke props, repair and maintain existing stock, and to constantly prepare items for dispatch to an event in ‘as good as new’ condition. 

Event Prop Hire now has state-of-the art production facilities including 3-D scanning, three and four-axis CNC machining, as well as a design and print studio – and all of these facilities are enjoyed to the full by a team of passionate professionals, each skilled in different areas of expertise.

Designed, manufactured and installed by Gallito Ltd, this two-storey installation comprises a total of nine enclosures; providing Event Prop Hire with a clean, safe environment for product finishing operations

In setting up the new production facility, the directors recognised that investment in the best available plant and equipment was a major contributory factor in their quest for unrivalled quality of finish. And, when it came to procuring design and construction of new enclosures for the finishing department, a Google search for prospective suppliers turned up an ace within half a mile of their new premises, on the same industrial estate… 

Gallito has been involved with the design, manufacture, and installation of quality spray booths and paint finishing systems for over 40 years, and has itself expanded rapidly since becoming part of the DCS Group of companies. Today, Gallito offers advanced, cost-effective solutions, and a capability that extends from standard spray booths and ovens, through to turnkey finishing systems.

Gallito’s sales manager, Mike Lodge, handled the initial enquiry and, following site visits and discussions with Matt to assess the requirements, was able to present a proposal to Event Prop Hire which fully met the company’s needs for a range of different sized enclosures; providing a series of clean, safe areas for carrying out a multiplicity of manufacturing and maintenance tasks – but all with the same common requirement for efficient and effective extraction of potentially harmful fumes and particulates.

“Matthew knew what he wanted to achieve from the installation of new spray booths and enclosures, and it was then our job to interpret those requirements and come up with a design that fulfilled all his needs, and provided an extraction capacity that would cope effectively and easily with the many and varied demands of the manufacturing and maintenance departments,” Mike Lodge explained. Before commencing on any design work for the new facility Gallito undertook three-dimensional scanning at the warehouse and, utilising this scanned data within their professional engineering design software, the team’s designers created a virtual 3D environment in which to develop a design layout for the structure – ensuring precision in manufacture and guaranteeing a perfect fit when the enclosures were installed on site.

The result is an imposing two-storey construction, providing a total floor space of around 800m2, with nine individual enclosures, utilising 12 separate belt-driven axial fans, sized at 710mm and 813mm diameter, from 5.5kW to 7.5kW, and capable of extracting a combined total of over 280,000m3 of air per hour. In addition to a ventilated paint storeroom, there are seven enclosures on the ground floor; including four identical enclosures, used primarily for sanding operations, sized at 4.5m x 4.5m x 3m high, each with a dedicated extraction fan, double-width sliding access doors, and a series of interconnecting personnel doors to permit unrestricted access from one room to another. On the opposite side of a 20m long covered access corridor are two further enclosures; each with a floor area of around 40m2 and vertical filtration area of approximately 12m2, again serviced by independent extraction fans – one 5.5kW and the other 7.5kW, and capable of extracting over 50,000m3 per hour.

The paint store is centrally-located for easy access from all areas, and is situated adjacent to the largest enclosure in the facility. With a personnel access door directly into the paint store, and two further double-width sliding doors providing access to 112m2 of workable floor space, this enclosure provides filtration across an area of around 45m2; with one entire wall fitted with filter media, and extraction being provided by four separate 7.5kW fans – capable of extracting over 90,000m3 of air per hour from this large open space.

The mezzanine area is accessed from either end of the structure via steel staircases, and a gated loading area on the first floor landing area allows items to be forklifted up and down as necessary. This area provides two further independent spray booth enclosures, each having a filtration area of around 15m2. These enclosures have three metre high ceilings and each room has independent extraction provided by two 5.5kW fans.

““This has been an interesting and novel project for our team at Gallito,” commented Mike Lodge, “and you can’t help but smile when you walk through the warehouse at Event Prop Hire. The close geographical location of the two businesses ensured excellent communication and collaboration throughout the design and construction process and, with our manufacturing plant on-hand just round the corner, any minor design modifications requested by EPH were executed swiftly and efficiently.”

Everyone involved with the new finishing department is complimentary about the installation which Gallito’s team fitted in just
20 working days.

In the largest enclosure, with a working height of 3.5m, Event Prop Hire has over 100m2 of floor space available – allowing finishing work to be undertaken on multiple items at the same time

“We supply products on hire for over 2000 events every year,” says Matthew East, “including corporate events for some of the biggest brands and blue-chip companies and, to maintain our reputation for excellent quality and service, our production facility must be able to cope with anything and everything we throw at it, in an efficient and timely manner. This installation by Gallito has achieved what we asked for and has fulfilled all our expectations – from first enquiry through to the day of commissioning, Mike Lodge and the team of Gallito designers, engineers and fitters have performed outstandingly.” 

Mark Carson, who took over the reins as Gallito’s managing director in January, following the retirement of former MD, Ian Ward, has been instrumental in the company’s expansion since joining the company in July 2017. The business now occupies almost 3000m2 of manufacturing space at Thorp Arch, and traditional metalworking skills are supported by a plethora of automated machinery, including advanced laser cutting technology. 

Gallito has the capacity to manufacture high quality bespoke spray booths and enclosures, in a range of materials, to just about any shape and size, employing dry filter or water wash filtration systems, along with a standard range of booths, paint kitchens, drying ovens, associated conveying equipment and ancillaries. The company also manufactures the FastClip Ductwork System – a complete range of clip-together ductwork sections and components, made from high quality galvanised steel, and available in a wide range of sizes.

“I was delighted with the end result our engineers have achieved here,” says Mark Carson. “It was terrific to receive such excellent feedback from Matt and the team at Event Prop Hire and to observe the plant being utilised as intended.”

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