RSS Relocates Gemmak Manufacturing Facility

Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd. (RSS) has invested £500k in relocating its Gemmak Engineering Ltd. fabrication business to Swansea from an original building next to headquarters in Pyle, Wales.

The lifting and rigging company acquired Gemmak in February 2019 with a two-pronged strategy to onboard a machine shop and gain valuable land. Three members of staff and a small order book were part of the transaction.

Gemmak, which will retain its name and continue to trade as a separate business, has been moved to a 28,000 square-foot property that sits on an even larger block of land. RSS will retain the previous location, with ideas as to how best to utilise it still percolating. A limited amount of welding equipment will be transferred but most technologies and tools will be new purchases.

Steve Hutin, managing director at RSS, said: “The Gemmak brand had a rich history and good reputation, but we’ve been able to develop it into a fully functioning manufacturing division within our engineering services department.

“We can fabricate anything metal, using the latest design, cutting, and welding technology, while the operation has also served as an efficient way to leverage land, which is hugely important to a rapidly growing lifting and rigging operation.”

RSS has invested in a new suite of design systems, based on SolidWorks, a solid modelling computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering computer programme. Upgraded tooling includes various guillotines, a plasma cutter, radial drills, magnetic drills, pillar drills, a centre lathe, an iron worker / press, an abrasive wheel, a band saw, and a circular saw. Gemmak will continue to deliver one-off projects plus batch orders and maintain ongoing production lines for customers.

Hutin reiterated that the half-a-million-pound investment is in addition to plans to inject £1m over the next two years towards opening three new locations in Glasgow, Bristol, and the West Midlands this year; and two more, likely in the north and south east respectively, in 2025. Steve Simpson, engineering services business development at Gemmak, will be responsible for ensuring that these expanded engineering and manufacturing capabilities will serve all existing and new operations nationwide.

Hutin said: “We will look to increase staff levels to help Steve in his endeavours and win more contracts. Taking advantage of Gemmak is one example of how we need to be cohesive across all depots. At a recent managers’ meeting, he gave a good overview of what the division is capable of doing, using current projects to demonstrate how it fits with our core offerings.”

As was widely reported by trade media, Gemmak recently received a UKCA Certificate of Conformity of the Factory Production Control, up to and including EXC 3. The certificate, to designated standard EN 1090-1:2009 + A1:2011, covers structures and structural components, including manufacture of structural steelwork components.

EXC 3, or execution class 3, relates to supporting structures made of steel up to strength class S700 and structural components made of aluminium alloys. Typical examples include buildings with more than 15 floors; pedestrian, bicycle, road, and railway bridges; and crane tracks. It will continue to manufacture to EXC 1 and EXC 2 standards.

Gemmak is also certified to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and Safe Contractor.

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