It’s a relatively small part of the firm so far – but as workplace supplies specialist Caswells prepares to celebrate 50 years in business, its fledgling industrial hose division is well positioned to flourish.
Formed in 1972 as D R Caswell, the Caswells Group has become the “go to” one-stop-shop for all workplace needs, with customers throughout the UK and Europe.
Based on Billingham’s Cowpen Industrial Estate, it employs 70 staff and has an annual turnover of around £15m.
The industrial hose and hydraulics division, however, is relatively new, having lain dormant for years after Caswells bought Middlesbrough firm Whitfield and Partners.
In 2019, Caswells opened a purpose-built hose and hydraulics workshop, stores and dedicated trade counter, staffed by industry experts.
Under the guidance of Mark Malone, the last two years have been spent perfecting the processes needed to make its hose operation second to none.
With two new apprentices now on board, it’s ready to grow.
But how does the testing process work?
With hoses requiring annual re-certification, Caswells can collect from site, or receive deliveries.
Each hose received is thoroughly cleaned out in a dedicated trough, with any contaminated water sent to a fully licensed waste treatment partner to ensure a low environmental impact.
The hoses – which can range from an eighth of an inch to eight inches in diameter – are then individually tested in their secure test rig to ensure they don’t combust on reaching a certain level of pressure.
The entire process is recorded and the results are fed through the Caswells Hose Management System register, which can be accessed at any time by the client through the online portal. There is a full audit trail which shows the date and duration of the test.
The Caswells Hose Management system has a dedicated reminder function which informs clients when the next inspection of the hose is due.
The hose division expansion is an exciting development for Caswells, which stocks a vast product range and whose in-house associated services also include workwear and embroidery services.
However, Caswells doesn’t only test and service others’ hose assemblies – it manufactures them too, as well as stocking an extensive variety of hoses, fittings, assemblies, and ancillary products.
And again clients can be confident, with each hose assembly individually and meticulously tested and certified to one and a half times its working pressure.
All of which, Caswells believes, puts its industrial hose and hydraulics division in a good position to expand.
Commercial director Paul Murphy said: “It’s not a big part of what we do at the moment but we’re confident it will be. We’re rekindling it and it’s going well so far.
“What really sets us apart from our competitors is the high level of service – the full audit trail, from the initial inquiry to test certification, and the very professional test facility.
“It’s for any firms using hoses, really, anything from tanker companies to shot blasting and painting firms, industrial cleaning services, all sorts.
“Not too many people know about it so far but hopefully they soon will as business increases.
“We believe we’ve got a golden goose here. It’s about £40,000 turnover a month at the moment but the vision is to get it to £100,000-plus.
“Now we’ve got the foundations in place and the software is available, we’re wanting to promote this department. And with the two apprentices we’ve got on board, we have the capacity to expand.”