Helipebs celebrates a Centenary

Promotional Business Feature: Helipebs Controls Ltd

Few companies can trace their heritage back to the 1800’s.  Gloucestershire engineering company, Helipebs was incorporated as a limited company on the 7th July 1922, however the name HELIPEBS was published in an article in The Engineer, right back in 1915, in reference to the launch of the Helipeb product being invented.

From 1834 when Helipebs began life as Kell, Meats and Co, founded to design and manufacture agricultural implements and machines in Ross-on-Wye, to its current day role as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fluid power technology, some things remain unchanged.

Entirely British owned, Helipebs provides global businesses with quality, bespoke and standard solutions to today’s demanding hydraulic and pneumatic cylinder applications and designs, manufactures and supports world class Hydraulic Cylinders, Pneumatic Cylinders, Servo Actuators and Hydraulic Systems.

bw image 2 newThe company was founded by cement works engineer, Robert McDougall, whose aim was to improve the grinding process used in the production of cement.

In 1956, the original company site in Quay Street, Gloucester (part of which had been owned by the famous Cotton Motorcycle Company) was compulsory purchased and Helipebs acquired Kell & Co. Ltd, and its Barton Foundry premises; a company that had been founded in 1838 to manufacture agricultural equipment.

Kell expanded into sub-contract machining and supplied many famous names in the area including Fielding & Platt, Gloucester Aircraft Company, Bryce Berger and Rank Zerox and Arca Controls to name a few.

The company was conscious that with a sub-contract facility it was not in control of its own destiny and following a visit to the United States, an agreement was signed with an American cylinder manufacturer to produce their imperial product range under license and in the name of Helipebs Controls Ltd. In due course, a similar range of metric cylinders was designed for the mould and tool industry.

The businesses all continued to grow and in late 1969, the decision was taken to re-locate to the present 5-acre site in Sisson Road in Gloucester, which had a history of engineering dating back to the late 19th Century when it was used to manufacture chocolate making machines for Cadbury.

With the cylinder side of the business having established itself in the UK and overseas, as a quality supplier of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, the foundry facility was closed, and Kell & Co. Ltd and Helipebs Controls joined forces to operate under the name Helipebs Controls Ltd.  www.helipebs-controls.co.uk

161026 TAR 358Helipebs current Managing Director, Geoff Davis, grandson of the founder, joined the business 59 years ago as an apprentice when he was just 18 years of age. In those days it was standard practice during an apprenticeship to gain experience outside of the business. During his apprenticeship Geoff worked at some of the world’s best engineering firms including Heenan & Froude Fielding & Platt, Dowty Hydraulics (now Ultra Group) Walker Crosweller (now Mira) and travelled the globe learning about the ball making process at plants all over Europe.

Geoff took the helm of the family business from his grandfather and has since been managing Helibebs for more than 4 decades. Today the company has several hundred years’ experience on the factory floor with many of the loyal team also working at Helipebs for most of their entire careers.

As part of a long-term strategic plan and in recognition of the increasing demand for high quality British engineered and manufactured products, Helipebs continues to export into China & further across Asia and in 2016 the company was recognised for its excellence in export, winning a Queen’s Award for Enterprise – International Trade.

“We are proud of our legacy and inherent tradition of combining a quality service with an innovative approach” Geoff Davis, Managing Director.

Looking to the future…

Under the stewardship of Geoff, the company recognised it couldn’t always compete with low cost imports from the Far East, and over time evolved to concentrate on high value low volume bespoke products for such industries as subsea oil & gas, aerospace & Formula 1 fatigue testing, pharmaceuticals and green energy with a range of welded cylinders to be introduced later in the year for use in the food, maritime and pharmaceutical industries.

DSC_4540-EditGeoff Davis, Managing Director, says that “to meet exacting needs of the industries we supply such as subsea oil & gas, Helipebs Controls must operate a fully integrated QHSE system, and therefore we are accredited to the BSI standards ISO 9001:2015 (Quality), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental) and ISO 45001:2018 (Health & Safety).  This means that the company has full control and traceability over the many exotic materials that are used to produce cylinders that may be in use for up to 25 years in an extreme environment”.

In 2022 the business continues to diversify and grow with the recent development of a shot blasting, painting and powder coating facility under the name of Helipebs Metal Finishing Ltd. – www.helipebsmf.co.uk

Helipebs recognises the importance of developing the next generation of engineers, ensuring vital skills are passed on and future proofing the business. As the company continues to grow, there will be opportunities for motivated and ambitious people to join the team.

For further information on opportunities, please e-mail jobs@helipebs.co.uk

Sectors we serve:  Subsea Oil & Gas | Mould & Tool Making | Fatigue Testing | Green Energy | Marine & Topside | Aluminium Smelting | Nuclear | Research Pharmaceutical | Defence

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www.helipebs-controls.co.uk  |  www.helipebsmf.co.uk