A better passenger experience
RTM hears more about the diverse ways in which Derby-based Garrandale provides services to the UK rail network, and the role of CEO Malcolm Prentice in driving the company forward.
Garrandale has a truly unique offer to the UK railways, both in the variety of services it offers and the way in which it works with its clients.
This is driven by its CEO, Malcolm Prentice, whose background has been in the chemical and engineering industries, and who has been determined to ensure the company is the ‘one to call’ when blue skies thinking matched with steadfast delivery is required. He says that Garrandale has become the ‘go-to solutions provider’ for a huge array of rail infrastructure maintenance and high tech projects.
Over the years this has ranged from simple conveyors, jigs and fixtures, and exhaust test equipment, to sophisticated robotic systems such as the CERN core tube assembly line and the Ariane rocket shell inspection equipment. More recently, the company has worked on cabin crew training simulators, superconducting coil machining/handling equipment and 50-ton plate turnovers for offshore wind farm towers – all designed and manufactured in-house by its own staff.
Today, even the main Bombardier SSL production line for the only train manufacturer left in the UK has been designed, manufactured and is maintained by Garrandale staff.
The company started life in 1967 with three founders: one from Rolls-Royce and two from NEI Combustion.
The growth of the business was down to the success of its design-and-make capability. These refined skills have built the foundations for a company that excels at specialist machining for the assembly and manufacturing process, Prentice says, across the design, manufacture, delivery and installation stages.
The company is now working towards ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) and OHSAS 18001 (Safety Management System) and principal contractor status. Indeed, Garrandale has recently won major contracts with Network Rail that have involved substantial infrastructure work at its Allerton Depot.
Garrandale has built and developed a ‘Winterisation’ train and become the turn-key supplier for the clean-up of the Olympic Games.
As a victim of constant vandalism, Network Rail has selected Garrandale to deal with it, because of the company’s holistic approach and reactive speed when adapting to tackle any situation thrown at them. Graffiti or ‘tagging’ costs the City of London alone over £950m per annum, and the Olympics will no doubt substantially add to this total. Garrandale will be ready with its own-brand products and techniques to tackle whatever comes its way.
Products, methodologies and experience, combined with development and training, have secured the correct references and approvals to combat this huge task, Prentice says. The company’s comprehensive laboratory staff and research department are working to find some of the most innovative and exciting solutions for any eventuality. They are keen to factfind from others and have forged intellectual partnerships to both learn and develop with like-minded others. Their union with Trion Tensid (TT) – the Scandinavian chemical giant – is one such example. TT has created solutions for most of Europe and supplies hundreds of tonnes of chemicals to clean graffiti on routes served by operators such as SNCF, SNCB, DSB, Deutsche Bahn, NS and PKP. This has been a masterful match, according to Prentice, who says that TT’s CEO, Torbjorn Bengtsson, also shares his vision – that the passenger experience is totally linked to all aspects of the journey, and that clean trains and stations free from racist, sexist and highly insulting tagging should be the norm, not the exception.
Depots and innovation
In terms of depot work, Garrandale has excelled in delivering some very canny solutions for, amongst others, Network Rail and London Underground. It has an intuitive understanding at the concept stage of any project, quickly moving to detail design and from that to product design and eventually manufacturing. From commissioning to manual creation and ultimately handover, Prentice says he is determined that Garrandale both lead and listen throughout the entire process.
Its training and committed support is only rivalled by their use of technology and innovation. Ask them about the Selhurst depot challenge and they can provide a list of case studies as long as your arm. With new products to be unveiled at ExCeL during the FOSD 2012 conference on 25 May, Garrandale is growing daily.
A view from Bombardier Martin Bright, project director at Derby based train manufacturer Bombardier, said: “Garrandale have been working with Bombardier for the last 25 years supplying assembly systems and solutions. “Garrandale engineers have worked within Bombardier developing large and small assembly fixtures used in the various stages of rail vehicle construction, from large sub assemblies such as roof, underframe, bodyside and carbody erection, down to small fixtures for locating and setting air conditioning modals and door initialisation. “Without exception the tools and fixtures have always exceeded Bombardier’s requirements and Garrandale has always looked to introduce the latest technology to ensure both ease of assembly and close tolerancing. “In addition to the design and supply, Garrandale provides an ongoing maintenance service for the equipment. The service that Garrandale has provided to Bombardier has always been high quality, latest technology and value for money.”
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