Engineering excellence at Hydra
Cornish engineering company The Hydra Group, based in Indian
Queens, has been expanding rapidly since MD Steve Rivers established
the company in 1992. It is now one of the world's largest
suppliers of specialist stainless steel screens to the water
treatment industry and has recently implemented automated
systems which have taken its design and production to the
very cutting edge, way ahead of many of its competitors.
Steve explains: "On a recent visit to a state-of-the-art
factory in Germany I saw similar technology to ours –
but it had taken their four designers three years to develop
it. Our Project Engineer has achieved it within a year and
this just goes to prove the excellent calibre of people we
have in Cornwall!"
James Brennan from Helston is the project engineer responsible
for this, incorporating a new CNC punching machine –
which punches holes in sheet metal – and offline programming
software at Hydra. Starting with the company on a graduate
placement project through Combined Universities in Cornwall's
Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) scheme, James began on the
shop floor learning the operating systems and evaluating opportunities
for improvement. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering from
University of Glamorgan, he was then able to evolve the existing
methods of hand drawing designs and manually setting equipment
into a highly accurate and efficient computerised system.
James explains: "The introduction of a new and
very accurate punching machine was the first step but this
then had knock on effects right throughout the process from
drawing, material properties, tooling, procurement and right
down to the shop floor. All had to be enhanced to get the
best results. We are now seeing huge savings in time and efficiency
– the CNC punch alone has produced an 8% reduction in
costs. We also create more accurate pieces of work and have
greater flexibility in terms of what can be produced. Overall
we can offer a better quality of product and breadth of service
for our customers."
Hydra has benefited from a number of UCP graduates'
expertise over the years – James is the fifth such graduate
to join the company and to be offered a full time job at the
end of his project. As Steve Rivers confirms: "This
really is the ideal model of how we like to do things –
UCP gives us the opportunity to recruit fresh, talented graduates
who have the right mindset to take on a project and run with
it. All credit to our graduates – we can confidently
leave them to carry on and improve our core business, leaving
us free to expand the company into new areas. The outcome
of using UCP has exceeded our expectations in every way."
Unlocking Cornish Potential is managed by Cornwall College
and backed by Objective One. UCP places graduates with local
businesses to work on specific projects to improve success
or profitability. Both the business and the graduate receive
ongoing mentoring and support. Over 70% of UCP graduates have
secured full time roles.
For further information contact David Kirk, Combined Universities
in Cornwall PR and Communications Manager on 01326 370471
or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities
in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through
the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European
Social Fund (ESF).
The Unlocking Cornish Potential (UCP) project is part of
the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) initiative and
is managed by Cornwall College. UCP builds on 5 years of highly
successful, ESF funded activity by the University of Plymouth.
The UCP project seeks to measurably improve the efficiency,
competitiveness and growth potential of SMEs in Cornwall through
the placement of graduates in companies to undertake business
development projects. These projects can last from 6 to 12
The Combined Universities in Cornwall is a dynamic and visionary
partnership that is one of the driving forces behind Cornwall's
economic renaissance. This partnership combines the Universities
of Exeter and Plymouth, University College Falmouth, The Open
University, The College of St Mark & St John, and the
Peninsula Medical School, with Cornwall's Further Education
colleges - Cornwall College, Truro College and Penwith College.
It aims not only to provide the students of the future with
more choice and greater opportunities, but also to boost the
economic fortunes of the region for the benefit of one and
The CUC initiative has been invested in by the Objective
One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, the South
West Regional Development Agency, Cornwall County Council
and the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439