An engineering company is putting ambitious expansion plans into action, thanks to support from Innovate Tees Valley and Teesside University.
Industrial and Marine Hydraulics (IMH), a Middlesbrough-based hydraulic engineering company is about to embark on a major overhaul of its systems and processes in preparation for a period of sustained growth.
Over the next three years, the company is planning to double its turnover and take on an extra 10 staff, alongside a major investment in machinery and facilities.
Founded by hydraulics engineer Paul Griffiths, IMH has grown from a home-based business in 1983 to a leading global player in hydraulic engineering, with experience of working across more than 50 countries.
IMH delivers major hydraulic engineering projects and its capabilities include design and build, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, servicing, maintenance and repairs, as well as component supplies and training.
The company has extensive experience of providing hydraulic engineering expertise and solutions to sectors including oil and gas, marine, subsea, energy (including renewables), nuclear, infrastructure, manufacturing and automotive.
Dr Osama Alaskari, a former Teesside University PhD student, has been working at the company as a Systems Analyst on an 11 month project to review all of its systems, processes and procedures to ensure that they can accommodate this growth.
He has been assisted by Dr Ruben Pinedo-Cuenca, business innovation manager in the School of Science, Engineering and Design who specialises in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Innovate Tees Valley, funded by the European Regional Development Fund and led by Teesside University, helps small businesses to try new things and improve or develop products, services and processes.
Innovate Tees Valley’s Knowledge Exchange Internship (KEI) programme has been able to part-fund Osama’s salary and Dr Pinedo-Cuenca’s consultancy.
IMH, Commercial Director, James Griffiths said: “This is the most transformational project this company has undertaken in its 35 year history.
“It’s unbelievably exciting, but it’s really important that we get it right.”
General Manager at IMH, Ian Duffew added: “As we move into Industry 4.0, the businesses that thrive will be ones that have incorporated technology to its fullest.
“We see a massive opportunity to improve what we have and want to automate as many of our processes as possible throughout the business.
“However, that’s not without its challenges and we realised that we didn’t have all the answers, so it was great to be able to utilise the University to bring in new skills.
“As an SME, the fact that Osama has been able to come in and dedicate himself to this project has been fantastic.
“We would still be talking about doing this project if it wasn’t for the work that he has done.”
Dr Pinedo-Cuenca said: “We are delighted to have been able to help Industrial and Marine Hydraulics. It’s fantastic to be able to work on a live project like this.
“Osama has also been teaching at the University and the experience and information he is passing on to the students will be invaluable in supporting the academic activities of the University.”
Both the University and IMH hope that projects like this will have a positive impact on how industry and academics work together to achieve long-term sustainability and business success.