History in the making

Building strong customer relationships over time is key to our success and something we at Ficep UK pride ourselves on. Closely connecting with a customer allows us to better understand their requirements, resolve any issues quickly and create a mutually beneficial long-term partnership.

We value these relationships and have many which stem back over decades, such as the relationship with Cairnhill Structures, part of the Watson Towers group. Our relationship started back in 1980 when former Cairnhill Structures managing director, Jack Sanderson, bought the first Ficep system to be sold in the UK – a small gantry system – and our relationship has gone from strength to strength since.

Since 1980, the Watson Towers group has invested in five Ficep systems, including the Ficep P51 CNC punching machine; the Orient drill saw line which years later was upgraded to the fully CNC Endeavour; and their first state-of-the-art Ficep Gemini CNC and plasma machine. The firm has recently added a second Ficep Gemini system to its 125,000 sq ft factory in Coatbridge, Scotland, on the back on the success it has seen with its first.

Employing over 150 staff directly, Cairnhill Structures has created some of the most significant steel structures across the UK, operating in sectors including nuclear and power; oil and gas; rail; bridges; offshore and piling. Group Director, Steven Hendry says: “We must be agile and able to react swiftly in the markets in which we operate and the Ficep systems allow us to do that. Having two Gemini systems helps us to manufacture steel quickly, accurately and efficiently. Our Geminis are currently working 17 shifts per week and the Endeavour is also working at full capacity.”

The multi-tool Gemini gives the business the very latest technology to ensure accuracy and reliability, offering bevel cuts up to 50 mm thick parts and multi-pass bevelling for cuts up to 35mm thick. Processing steel plates from 5mm to 100 mm thick, the Gemini systems complete thermal cutting marking and scribing; drilling; tapping; milling; and bevelling on a 15m by 3m bed.

Says Steven: “The scribing function is particularly invaluable to us as our customers need each part to be individually traceable. It automatically marks all reference points, including fit up lines and reference point indication, for all fittings. The unit even marks the part number of each fitting at the point where it is attached to the job, which is a great time saver during our fabrication process.”

When asked why Cairnhill has invested in Ficep systems over the years, Steven explains: “If a company delivers on its promises, which Ficep has done over the years, and our customers are given the very best then we are keen to remain consistent and favour those who know our company well. We are constantly looking at ways to future-proof our business, be more innovative, provide the best for our customers and Ficep’s service and systems tick every box."