East Sussex based Dicker Precision Components Ltd is one of those almost fairy-tale like business stories to warm the heart.
There’s a family connection that runs through the business across four generations of the same family since 1974 when current MD Mark Love’s father Raymond first took the business over (with then business partner David Painter). So Mark’s father ran the business, Mark’s grandfather worked in Dicker Precision until he retired; Mark joined the business straight from school and then in 2010 the 4th generation appeared when Mark’s son was able to join the business too. To further ensure family continuity, in 2010 Mark was able raise finance through Venture Finance and buy Dicker Precision from father Raymond.
And what kind of engineering business was it that so attracted Mark to invest in buying it? Well Dicker Precision manufacture parts for the Oil and Gas industries as well as the pump sector with a Military contract to produce parts for the latest Army vehicle The Foxhound. Their machine shop houses various machine tools, from various manufacturers, both for milling and turning. The very varied nature of the industries that they produce components for tends to dictate that the type of components that they have to machine are equally varied too (e.g. they machine small complex parts as well as machining large castings for pump housings).
In amongst all this engineering activity, Dicker Precision endeavours to source materials that are competitively priced in order that they themselves can remain competitive within their market. Over the years, they have also managed to establish collaborative working relationships with all their suppliers and also have a large network of sub-contract companies for plating, grinding and heat treating etc.
Dicker Precision is mindful that Pump Castings was a product area where their service offering was less than robust and that, if they were to turn this negative situation around, they needed to quickly do something about it. Over previous years they were well aware that they had lost out on securing business contracts due to the fact that they did not have the capacity to machine large casings; not only was size a factor, but the extreme tolerances required meant that they needed to acquire a machine with significant rigidity.
Having previously invested in several Dugard machines, they felt confident enough to go back to Dugard to see whether they had a suitable machining centre to handle the pump casing specification? Dugard looked at the parts specification and identified that their Dugard HD1886B, a heavy duty constructed VMC, due to the larger spindle tooling and bed would likely enable Dicker Precision to produce considerably larger parts. Dicker Precision reviewed the Dugard HD spec, compared it to what the competition was offering and decided it was the right choice for them. The HD machine was far more rigid, had a BT 50 spindle (allowing them to take bigger cutters without vibration) and had a big enough envelope to accommodate the pump casings. They invested in the machine and were rewarded when they won the contract to produce the complex pump casings. Dicker Precision thought the Dugard machine would be ideal and so it happily proved to be!
Let’s leave the final word with Dicker Precision’s Manager, Chris Roberts who says: “The Dugard HD 1886B machine is just brilliant; it’s so solid. Whatever stress we try to put it under – it performs every time. The surface finishes are excellent, thanks to the rigidity. The machine may be big but this BT50 heavy duty machine really is a machine built to perform and to last. We’ve won new work because of the investment which, in such early days, is really pleasing.”