Thursday, August 29, 2019

We’ve spent 40 years in the automotive fast lane – and there’s no slowing us down

We work with customers sector-wide, but it’s our relationships within the automotive industry that’s fuelling our engine.

When we first started out, we mainly supplied JCB with various wire-formed components and pressings for their earth-moving equipment.

Almost 40 years later, we’re still working with JCB. As one of their Preferred Suppliers, we provide welded fabrications and wire-formed and machined products for their backhoe, earthmoving, digger and service divisions.

In the meantime, we’ve made multiple inroads elsewhere across the automotive industry too.

80% of our work is for the automotive sector

When our team of engineers aren’t producing hundreds of components for JCB, they’re working with Tier One automotive suppliers who work with some of the most established and luxurious brands around.

They can (and often do) count on us to consistently meet their welded fabrication needs. From laser cut plates and bent bars, to straight bars, tube and stillage cages, which we’ve been manufacturing for almost a decade.

Meanwhile, a lot of our time is spent machining components for much larger projects, such as digger parts for JCB. You’ll also find us wire-forming components, such as wires for paint jigs, and machine turning parts, such as sleeves and bushes for bearings. But that isn’t everything – it’s a tiny snapshot of what a typical day involves for our talented team.

Many of our automotive customers also come to us for our MIG and TIG welding capabilities – we can weld stainless and mild steel and aluminium with a plated or powder-coated finish.

Driving quality results

Like most businesses who’ve been established for as long as we have, our people and processes have evolved over the years as we’ve honed our services and skills. However, our unfaltering commitment to quality has always remained.

Everything we do, all of our outputs, are underpinned by our ISO-accredited quality management system (ISO 9001 2015). This involves monitoring and mapping every element of our work, from initial enquiry through to procurement of the highest quality materials and delivery of the final product. On top of this, we regularly inspect and maintain our machinery so that it operates at optimum performance. We also regularly train our staff so that they continue to be the best in the industry.

This approach, which is integral to the way we work, makes sure everything we produce is of the highest quality and in line with our industry regulations, as well as our customers’ own industry standards. For instance, we make sure that all of the components we produce for JCB are in line with their own standards system, which covers everything, from the grade of the material we use, to the weld and finish spec.

It’s this commitment to quality that enables us to turn our work around quickly. For example, we can deliver a wired, machined or welded assembly project involving around 50 parts within just four days, from initial enquiry to delivery.

We really do pride ourselves on meeting our customers’ deadlines and, if required, will work overtime to meet them. We’re also more than happy to switch our production schedules around so that they work alongside customers’ lead times.

"We needed some high quality machined and fabricated products on a project for a major supermarket. Rochford made everything so easy delivering everything on time and to our budget. It has been a pleasure to continue working with them ever since. Keep up the good work"
Mark McCleary - Operations Director - Berrys Technologies Ltd

Our roots are firmly embedded within the automotive world. From the very first days of solely working with JCB, to every day since then that we’ve accelerated our insight and industry-leading results for our extensive automotive sector customer base.

For more information or to discuss your metal forming requirements with us, call us on 0121 773 0465 or Alternatively, for more information about our services, visit

Thursday, August 15, 2019

We’re a family engineering business that’s fuelling the Midlands manufacturing engineer

The Midlands’ manufacturing industry has come a long way, from producing Spitfires and trailblazing motor manufacturing, to embracing the digital revolution, there’s so much to be proud of.

While the region’s manufacturing scene may have changed just as much as the Midlands skyline over the centuries, one thing still holds true – family-run SMEs are the lifeblood of the manufacturing supply chain, providing the vital link between larger companies at the raw materials stage and the final manufacturing and sales process.

And we’re one of them.

We first started off life almost 40 years ago, back in 1981

Engineer, Tom Butler, was made redundant from his role as works manager at Colgrip so decided to set up his own business, with Archie Wilson, who already had his own company.

Our first premises were on Glover Street in Birmingham and were so small they were little more than a hole in the ground. Tom and Archie, who had decided to wrap up his company so that he could 100% focus on the new venture, worked in the factory, alongside with two other employees. They offered two services - bending 8mm materials and welded assemblies.

Of course, that was a while ago now and both Tom and Archie are no longer a part of the business today. And we are no longer based in a ‘hole in the ground’, but in modern 5,000sq ft premises at the Stirchley Trading Estate, which we have plans to expand in the future.

We’ve changed a lot since 1981

But are extremely proud of the fact Tom’s and Archie’s legacy very much lives on. While Archie sold his share some 20 years ago, Tom handed his over to his children, Tracy and Mark, who are the current directors of Rochford Engineering.

From the outset, the business has very much been a family affair, with three generations so far playing their part in shaping and delivering what we’ve come to be renowned for – delivering quality and excellence in metal. Here’s a quick plotted history of the family connections and how they run through the business:

1ST generation
Tom Butler – Founder and Director.
Margaret Butler (Tom’s wife) – Director.

2nd generation
Mark Butler – (Tom’s son) – Director – started working for Rochford in the factory in 1982.
Tracy Rushton (Tom’s daughter) – Director – Started working for Rochford in the office in 1997.

3rd generation
Stewart Lowe (Mark’s son-in-law) – Account Manager – started working for Rochford in the factory in 2008.
Jack Webb (Tracy’s son) – Assistant – started work for Rochford in the office earlier this year.

Looking to the future and remembering our roots

Our family connections are one of our core strengths. The older generations set the scene in many ways, sharing with us how they worked, which has instilled a culture of quality and getting things right first time around, that’s now instinctive to us.

Meanwhile, the younger generations have brought new, innovative ideas with them, which has enabled us to move with the times and drive the company forward with a fresh energy and drive.

Long-standing relationships

Our strong heritage has enabled us to carve a name for ourselves within the Midlands’ manufacturing scene, as well as establish long-standing relationships with many of our customers, who know us ‘from old.’

And while we may have evolved, continuously reviewing and refining many of our systems and processes so they are up to speed with modern day requirements, our wire forming, welding, machining, presswork, thread rolling, screw cutting and garden architecture services are to the same Rochford standards that our customers know and trust.

Being a family-run SME in the Midlands has paid dividends for us and our many customers who we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last (almost) four decades. It’s provided us with the flexibility to efficiently and effectively work with our customers and suppliers; adapting our services to every brief we work on, while giving us the foundation and confidence to fly the Midlands manufacturing flag for another 40 years and more.

Friday, August 9, 2019

An expert’s guide to working with metal

You’ll know from our previous articles that metals are our thing. As specialists in wire forming, welding, fabrication, machining, presswork, thread rolling and screw cutting, there’s not much we can’t do or don’t know about metal.

Day in, day out we work with a wide range of metals, but on the whole, we mainly tend to work with stainless steels, mild steels, brass and aluminium.

And while none of these materials present any particular problems for us when we process them, it’s always best practice to take note of their properties, which we’ve summed up below:

Stainless steels

We work with up to 15mm diameter stainless steel and carry out presswork with this particular metal, using presses that weigh up to 40 tonnes.

Stainless steels are becoming increasingly popular due to their attractive appearance, corrosion resistance, low maintenance and strength. But for all of their benefits, they are more expensive than mild steels. However, when considered from a longer-term perspective, they can be more economically-viable once service life and lifecycle costs have been factored in.

All stainless steels contain various amounts of chromium, which gives them their attractive, bright finish. The chromium in the alloy forms a self-healing protective clear oxide layer that makes stainless steels corrosion-resistant.

The self-healing nature of the oxide layer means the corrosion resistance remains intact, regardless of fabrication methods. Even if the material surface is cut or damaged, it will self-heal and corrosion resistance will be maintained for many years.

Although the corrosion resistance of stainless steels comes from the presence of chromium, other elements are also added to enhance other properties, such as nickel, copper, titanium and molybdenum, for instance. These additions can make the steel suited to high temperature applications and increase corrosion resistance. As a result, stainless steels have a huge variety of uses, ranging from surgical equipment, domestic equipment, automotive parts and heat exchangers, to many architectural applications.

Mild steels

Mild steels are made up of iron and carbon and are one of the most commonly-used construction materials.

Known as mild steels because of their relatively low carbon content, this metal is very strong and can be made from readily-available natural materials. There are a variety of mild steels, depending on the content, and alloying elements besides carbon that give them certain desirable mechanical properties.

We often work with up to 16mm diameter mild steel wire and carry out presswork using presses weighing up to 40 tonnes. Of all the metals we work with, mild steels are one of the easiest materials to weld.

Mild steels are easier to work with because they’re quite malleable and are cheaper than stainless steels. And they’re very versatile, strong, cost effective and easy to manufacture, thanks to their low carbon content. As such, they’re extensively used in the construction industry and for machined parts, pipelines and many other applications.


This is a material we tend to work with every now and again. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, in proportions that can be varied to achieve different mechanical and electrical properties.

It's an ideal alloy for transporting water through pipes and fittings and also lends itself well to marine engines and pump parts. It therefore shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of the first commercial uses of brass was on naval ships. 

For more information or to discuss your metal forming requirements with us, contact us on or 0121 773 0465.