Production back to near full capacity at Bath engineering firm as it reopens from Covid-19 shutdown

May 22, 2020

A Bath-based precision engineering business has bounced back to 90% production after reopening from the coronavirus lockdown.

RPI UK, which supplies parts to major manufacturers such as aero-engine giant Rolls-Royce, continued to win new work during the lockdown and now boasts a full order book until September. 

The firm, based on Brassmill Lane, aims to be at 100% production by the end of next month.

RPI UK describes itself as a “leader in rotational innovation”. As well as designing and manufacturing innovative products for aerospace firms it also works with clients in the gas, academic and scientific research sectors. 

It has also worked with Bristol-based, four-times Oscar-winning animation studio Aardman for the past 20 years – creating rigs to hold the cameras for its acclaimed stop-motion productions.

RPI’s turnover has doubled over the past three years and the company has invested more than £500,000 in staff and equipment. It has also set up a global distributor network, leading to exports accounting for almost two thirds of turnover.

It now has sales representatives in all major markets including the EU, US, South Korea, China and Russia.

With many firms struggling with social distancing at work, RPI credits the successful resumption of its operations to its employees getting behind its stringent health and safety measures.

Managing director Peter Marchbank said: “Our employees are our biggest asset and their safety has always been our number one priority.

“We closed our operations until we were confident we could put measures in place to protect our employees, and by association, their families and the wider community.”

During the lockdown Mr Marchbank phoned each employee once a week to keep them updated.

“We are a close team and I was genuinely concerned for their welfare,” he said.

“Calling to check in on how they and their families were doing felt like the right thing to do.

“People were understandably anxious and scared about both their health, safety and job security.

“Keeping in regular contact helped build employee confidence that RPI was doing everything it could to ensure a safe working environment, so that when the time was right to reopen, employees felt reassured and were onboard.”

RPI has adopted all safety guidelines recommended by the government and introduced some of its own, including carrying out a comprehensive Covid-19 health and safety risk assessment.

These include strictly observing guidelines on 2m social distancing, avoiding physical contact, frequent handwashing and bringing in additional cleaning and sanitising of tools, machines and controls and worksurfaces – especially at the beginning and end of every break when everyone arrives at work and before they leave.

It has also postponed all non-essential travel and has also asked employees who can work from home to continue to do so. Employees who live with vulnerable people are self-isolating, as is any employee vulnerable themselves. 

Employees have also been advised to inform RPI immediately if they, or any of their immediate family, are ill or have been diagnosed with Covid-19 virus so appropriate action can be taken.


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