I recently had the pleasure of working with a reported writing an article on a local company – SME Limited. My brief for the day was to walk round with him and “take photos of anything he may want photos of” with no time to set up lighting etc I knew I would need to rely on the low light capabilities of the Sony A7RII camera (with a little added help of a flash 😉 )
It was a fascinating day and showed me that we still have world leading manufacturing in the UK. SME started in 1946 and are still going strong today. There are two sides to their business, manufacturing turntables and pickup arms for the audio industry and precision engineering (including making parts for F1 teams). My day was spent looking at the audio side of the business. One thing that really amazed me was that they manufacture ALL the parts themselves right down to every single screw and pin used. This way they have complete control over the quality of the final product and they know there have been no shortcuts. When you see the number of steps that each part goes through from the first casting through to the final plating and finishing you realise quite how much work there is in things that you either don’t see or just take for granted.
One thing that was noticeable was that most of the employees had worked here for a long time and one thing that Stuart McNeilis is keen to do is to set up two new schemes; an Apprenticeship scheme so people will have work based and college based training and also a school leavers training scheme for people who aren’t as suited to college based learning but do brilliantly learning “on the job”. As part of this an area in the factory is being set up as a training area. This investment in people will ensure that SME continues to have the specialist precision engineering skills that it needs as well as providing jobs and training for local youngsters.
Anyway, these are just a few of the photos taken on my factory walk round 🙂