Hyde Engineering seeks unique market position


Mark and Samantha Hyde of Hyde Engineering, a fast-growing end-to-end manufacturing solutions specialist, reveal the secrets of their success in an exclusive chat with Contributing Editor Steed Webzell

 The market is awash with subcontract machining companies, which means making headway as a new entrant in this crowded arena takes something a little different, a little out of the ordinary. Step forward Hyde Engineering, a progressive, forward-thinking SME that acts as a collaborative innovation partner to its customers in the provision of end-to-end manufacturing solutions. To say the company’s avant-garde strategy is paying dividends would be an understatement. In just 18 months of manufacturing, Hyde Engineering has gained entry to countless new industries, invested around £2 million in new machine tools, and doubled its floor space. And there is way more to come.

 “I was a manufacturing engineer at various companies following my modern apprenticeship, mostly at gear-cutting and aerospace companies,” says Hyde Engineering’s co-founder and Technical Director Mark Hyde. “However, I found every company had the same issue: a lack of adequate support. It was hard to find services such as fixture design, programming and inspection as part of a single-source solution. That was my ‘eureka’ moment.”

 In the beginning

Mark and his wife Samantha set up Hyde Engineering in April 2013, with fixture design quickly providing the company’s ‘bread and butter’ revenue. At that time, there was no in-house manufacturing capacity, so Hyde Engineering would send a CAD model to an approved manufacturing partner, subsequently performing any required assembly and dispatching the fixture to the customer.

 “We soon found ourselves providing extra support to customers in the shape of CNC machine programming; and so our repertoire of services began to expand,” explains Mark. “The biggest shift saw us establish in-house manufacturing capability 18 months ago, supported by investment of around £2 million.”

 Today, Hyde Engineering exploits the latest CADCAM technologies and numerous multi-axis CNC machine tools with zero-point work holding, as well as 3D printing, 3D scanning and CMM capabilities. The company provides comprehensive engineering and manufacturing solutions in accordance with its ISO9001 accreditation, serving the defence, aerospace, agriculture, automotive, motorsport and nuclear sectors, to list but a few.

 Chosen pathway

“Innovative engineering and advanced manufacturing is our chosen pathway,” says Director Samantha Hyde. “Being an innovation partner from the outset helps customers devise their methodologies and then take advantage of our advanced manufacturing technologies, such as five-axis machining, 3D printing and inspection in a temperature-controlled environment. We’re far removed from being just another job shop.”

 She continues: “Word is really starting to spread now; we can see it in the number of enquires and orders arriving. It feels like we’re on the launch pad and countdown to take-off has begun, which sounds a little scary because we obviously need to manage our growth process.”

 Despite this measured train of thought, growth at Hyde Engineering to date has been little short of astronomic.

 “We started with 3500 ft2, but in October 2022 the unit next door became available, so now we have 7000 ft2,” reveals Mark. “Unfortunately, we’ve already run out of power and floor space. To grow further we have to move. We have our eye on a potential 15,000 ft2 facility nearby. It’s a contained plot with decarbonisation opportunities via technologies such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.”

 The skills gap

Moving will likely spur further growth, which in turn demands more machines and more people. But finding the right workers is far from straightforward.

 “We interviewed a lot of people last year for CNC setter-operator positions, a process that revealed first-hand the extent of the skills gap,” says Mark. “Even if you find the skills, it’s hard to find the right mind set, namely someone who actually wants to make things for a living instead of dreaming about becoming a social media influencer.”

 There is certainly no shortage of high-specification machine tools at Hyde Engineering to help attract new talent, including several DMG Mori five-axis machining centres such as CMX 50U, DMU 75 monoBLOCK and DMU 50 3rd Generation models. In fact, a second fully simultaneous five-axis DMU 50 3rd Generation will arrive in September, this time featuring a 24-station pallet changer. The company also houses a DMG Mori NTX 2000S turn-mill centre with bar feed, twin spindles, B-axis turret, 76-tool ATC, 80-bar coolant and robot unloading.

 “Over the years I’ve worked on the whole gamut of high-end machine tools, but DMG Mori is the brand I always come back to for long-term accuracy and repeatability,” states Mark.

 To support the company’s impressive machine tool portfolio, the company recently acquired an offline tool pre-setter in a move suggested by an employee. Hyde Engineering is now saving hours of set-up time in some cases.

 Life in 3D

The company still outsources certain services, such as wire eroding, waterjet cutting and heat treatment, to carefully-vetted UK-based suppliers. One activity the company does not outsource, however, is 3D printing. Hyde Engineering houses a Markforged Onyx One, which prints Onyx™ composite material (with potential to add carbon-fibre filament if required). The company also has a Bambu Lab X1-Carbon. Although this machine prints PA, PC and PA-CF materials, an in-house research project driven by an employee means it can also print materials such as Onyx™ at particularly high speeds of up to 250 mm/s without compromising quality.

 This is yet another reason why Hyde Engineering stands out from the crowd. And there are plenty more besides. For instance, the company is a member of both Make UK and Make UK Defence, and in 2022 completed the Get into Rail Programme run by the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE).

 “Moving forward we fully intend to grow the business further,” concludes Mark. “I’ve always wanted employees; it’s very rewarding to know we’re providing people with an income and offering them opportunities. I’m not a knowledge hermit. I’m more than happy to share what I know with our staff so they can do it for themselves.”

 Truly, a manufacturing SME and management team like no other, something that is making many sit up and take note. For instance, Mark and Sam were recently made aware of their inclusion in The Manufacturer Top 100 2023, a showcase of individuals who go the extra mile in their work. Nominated by peers and judged an expert panel, these individuals represent the best of UK manufacturing. Says it all really.

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