Buying machines from Eric for 40 years

Friday March 22 2024

Cliff Eglington from Blue Chip Engineering with Eric Dugard
Cliff Eglington from Blue Chip Engineering with Eric Dugard

Cliff Eglington from Blue Chip Engineering has been huge Dugard Machine Tools fan for the last 40 years.  He bought his first machine, a Colchester 2000 with Anilam Crusader control, from Eric with a government grant.  That was his first CNC machine and he hasn’t looked back.  Cliff now has 4 Dugard machines, and at 75 years old, his most recent purchase from Eric will be his last CNC machine. 

Cliff has a small workshop at the rear of his house with full planning for light engineering so his walk to work is just down the garden!  His main line of work is his fibre optic connector for the LNG industry, which is a fibre optic ship to shore link.  As the name suggests, it’s used to connect to LNG vessels when they birth. Cliff supplies the connector, and his customer installs the complete package to the various terminals around the world. Cliff developed this product himself, and he’s been making it for 25 years. 

The engineering process at Blue Chip doesn’t stop at fibre optics, as he also produces parts for the historic car market which of course encompasses a whole range of parts.  As well as that, they’re also involved in the BlueROV2, an advanced remote operated underwater vehicle.  He bought it several years ago when working with his friend Andy who was keen to use it in marine conservation.  Since then the scope of the project has grown and they are now developing it for a variety of other uses including different cameras.  Recently they produced a laser scaler for measuring items underwater which is now available through Blue Chip.

With a passion for aircraft, Cliff originally did a 5 year apprenticeship in electrical and avionics at BAC Weybridge, but seeing the decline of this Industry he decide to move over engineering in 1979.  It’s because of this interest that he now also makes parts for vintage aircraft such as Throttle Quadrants, which are back engineered using Autodesk Inventor from old parts.  Like all precision engineers their range of products is so varied it would be hard to explain everything they do in too much detail, but for the past 35 years, all parts have been machined on CNC machines.  Cliff hasn’t had a manual machine in his workshop all this time as he believes all parts, whether 1 off or batch work, can be done on a CNC machine.

His final machine from Dugard, a SMEC SL2000 turning centre, is now in situe in his workshop.  When deciding on which model to buy, as you can imagine, Cliff was very through, looking at several other makes, and Cliff himself says that he is confident he made the right decision with another machine from Dugard.