Deep manufacturing knowledge is essential in the rail sector where safety standards are exceptionally high, and at our Crewe site, this is very evident.
In a recent visit by Unipart Group CEO, Darren Leigh saw the new Smart Bench – developed and manufactured by Unipart company, MetLase. This is now being integrated into our relay servicing to increase the digital elements of the process.
Roy Evans, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, said “This Smart Bench is an enhanced digitised process which has built-in workflow instructions and testing processes, and captures a digital record of each relay’s service life. Our already very high-quality levels now have an additional dimension of totally standardising the process of relay servicing, and capturing that all-important digital fingerprint of the end-to-end process of service. As we service over 24,000 relays a year, it is important that our process is robust and comprehensive.”
Relay Servicing in Crewe – Then and Now
The Smart Bench technology is an Industry 4.0 overlay for the existing manufacturing process. This image shows the relay process in 1994, when Sir Bob Reid, the then Chairman of the British Railways Board, visited Unipart’s site in Crewe, and Darren in our relay cell in February 2023 – with Martin Hulston in both pictures. Like Martin, many of our technical team have long service in Crewe – a knowledge base that is built on decades of experience, and which is essential to pass on to new generations to keep the railways moving today and in the future.
Across the Crewe site, our Innovation, Manufacturing, Servicing and Overhaul capabilities are applied every day to a huge range from electronic to mechanical equipment – keeping older but proven technology operational for many years to come. Find out more here.
MetLase, which was born in the Aerospace sector, is where we integrate digital tooling and sensors with data capture to drive standardisation, increase productivity, ensure a fault-free process and maintain a full digital record of manufacturing activities. Their manufacturing solutions are used across a range of sectors from aerospace to medical. Find out more here.
Pictured in the main image is Darren, left, with Roy Evans with the new Smart Bench.
Adding Value with CSR, Increased Digital, Increased Performance, Delivered Innovation, Optimised Costs and Reduced Risk.