COMPANY SYNERGY BETWEEN HEMLOCK HPC AND PREMIER MIST
About three years ago a couple of guys from Wakefield walked into Hemlock. Their search for a company with both sliding head lathes and five-axis milling machines had brought them to our door – and the company’s name was Premier Mist.
The company MD, Peter Duval, had in his hand a strange aluminium nozzle which looked similar to a
fire sprinkler, but was, as he put it, “far, far superior”.
This nozzle was designed not to spray water, but mist – which made it far more effective at extinguishing fires. Mist hangs in the air rather than dropping to the floor, which helps stop the transmission of heat, uses far less water, and reduces water damage.
The nozzle featured lots of small, complex components so our engineers were instantly interested in producing them on our sliding head machines. We began making small production runs on the nozzles, but very quickly found them expensive to produce and difficult to assemble, so we set about helping Premier Mist develop new designs which would be easier to manufacture.
We brought in angled powered tooling to remove the need for second operations on the 5 axis, and also combined numerous simple components into fewer complex parts. With production increasing, we designated part of the factory as a dedicated assembly area so we could supply Premier Mist with completed nozzles.
Not much later, we received a call from Peter asking if we were interested in buying into the company. There was obvious synergy between HPC and Premier Mist, and seeing the potential for growth, we agreed. HPC eventually took on development of a new range of brass nozzles and together with Premier Mist, we launched the DualMIST brand for this new range.
The DualMIST nozzle features lots of small, complex components so our engineers were instantly interested in producing them.
Nozzles are currently being put through rigorous fire and component testing at BRE (Building Research Establishment). If they are successful, DualMIST will be the only company in Europe to have a fully BSI-approved Watermist system that complies with the latest standards.
We are now actively looking for partners and installers in the UK and Europe to use this system.
Premier Mist have been doubling in size every year using this technology and with their new range of nozzles they are set to take a significant chunk of the UK market. Volumes are currently at 25,000 nozzles per year – HPC have the capacity to manufacture at least 100,000 per year without buying any additional machines.
Because HPC were now developing nozzles in house, we had free rein on their design and since we could now machine, build, test, and repeat all under one roof, they began evolving at a much more rapid pace.
Years of development took place in just a few months and within a short space of time, we had completed designs for a whole range of nozzles for different applications. We also came up with totally original designs for a metal-to-metal seal that may be set to revolutionise the sprinkler industry, along with a totally unique brass filter that screws into the back of the nozzles to prevent the small misting holes from clogging.