A world leader in engineering vital components for diesel engines was born in a shed in Huddersfield 60 years ago. Business editor HENRYK ZIENTEK charts the rise of Cummins Turbo Technologies.
A TOP engineering firm is celebrating a high-powered 60 years in business in Huddersfield.
Cummins Turbo Technologies began life on March 29, 1952, as Holset Engineering Co Ltd and began manufacturing turbochargers in the town in 1958.
The company, which was founded by business partners Brian Holmes and Paul Croset – who began working in a small wooden shed – grew to become a leading name in the industry by the time it was bought by US-based diesel engine manufacturer Cummins in 1973.
The company quickly developed a strong reputation for engineering vital components for diesel engines.
Today, Holset-branded turbochargers are the market leader in the commercial diesel sector.
About 40% of trucks worldwide include a Holset turbocharger, which was developed at Cummins’s Huddersfield factory.
And the company, owned by US-based Cummins Inc has grown to become a global technology leader with 1,100 workers at its Turnbridge site and more than 3,000 employees worldwide.
It has technical centres at St Andrew’s Road, Turnbridge, and in China, the USA and India and continues to develop technologies for customers in sectors including commercial vehicle, industrial, construction, agriculture, marine and power generation.
On the eve of its birthday, executives at Huddersfield site hosted a visit by technical staff from Cummins plants worldwide to review the latest technologies under development.
This weekend, the accent will be on fun and games with an employee family day at the St Andrew’s Road site. Events will also be held at locations across the world.
The company has never stood still when it comes to developing world-beating products and has been first to market with many new technologies over its 60-year history.
But the company has also played a prominent role in its home town – by making time for employees to take part in community initiatives ranging from river clean-ups and tree-planting to charity fundraising.
The company sponsors the Examiner Community Awards – while last year, more than 2,600 hours of employee time and talent were invested in projects and activities in the town.
The firm is also among the partners supporting North Huddersfield Trust School, which was set up last autumn in buildings previously occupied by Fartown High School.
Simon Bamford, plant quality manager, said: “We actively encourage employee volunteering. In 2011, we had 25% participation. Our target is 62%.”
A keen supporter of apprenticeships, Cummins Turbo Technologies is one of 13 organisations backing Huddersfield University’s new £8m Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Advanced Metrology.
The centre will carry out work to enable machine tools to achieve massive improvements in accuracy – bringing major gains in productivity for UK engineering firms and helping to keep the UK industry at the forefront of engineering technology.
Demonstrating its commitment to environmental improvement, Cummins Turbo Technologies has installed 256 solar panels on the roof of the St Andrew’s Road facilities building.
As part of efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling, the company is looking at more efficient cooling systems for its buildings, rainwater harvesting, waterless urinals and recycling “weash plant” water.
The firm was named Green Business of the Year for South Kirklees in last year’s Green Business Awards run by Kirklees Council and the Green Business Network.