We are delighted to welcome three new members to our Tuffa team this New Year. We have new recruits in our Plastic Factory, our mezzanine level Plastic Weld Factory and our Steel Workshop.
Luke Smith, Rotomoulding Oven Operator
Luke Smith from Cheadle in Staffordshire is the latest member of the oven team. Luke has served in the British Army and joined us having previously worked for a firm installing conveyors at quarries all over the UK.
The giant rotomoulding oven is the heartbeat of our plastic factory, running day and night to manufacture our entire plastic tank range with capacities from 1350 – 20,000 litres. There are moulds for all inner tanks, bunds and lids. This huge machine has three arms each of which hold a mould. High quality polymer is added to a mould which is attached to one of the arms of the machine at the beginning of the process. The rotomoulded plastic is created by heating the polymer until it sinters to cover the inside of the mould. This is cooked in a huge oven on the second station, then cooled again to a solid plastic at a third station, before returning to its starting position to broken out of the mould. Once off, the next mould goes onto that arm meaning that there are always three moulds in production.
Luke fills the moulds with polymer, loading the arm before breaking the finished tank, bund or lid out of its mould at the end of the production process. Those parts are then assembled into the finished tanks by the small tanks and large tanks production teams.
Luke is enjoying his new role, saying: “It’s amazing to see the variety of shapes and sizes of tank that can be produced on the oven. It’s great to be involved right at the start of the manufacturing process and see the plastic tanks come to life,” he added.
Outside of work, Luke is a massive Stoke City supporter and rarely misses a match. He’s hoping that The Potters will be like a new team in the New Year too!
Ben Emerson, Plastic Welder
Ben is originally from Lichfield but has lived in Uttoxeter for the last 10 years.
He has joined the production crew in the newest part of our factory, the plastic weld bay up on the mezzanine level. Ben helps to make the large rectangular plastic welded outer bunds that house the inner tanks for our AdBlue Garage Forecourt suppliers. These outer bunds form a tough, durable outer shell that are branded with vinyl graphics down in the Plastic Factory, before being shipped to garages throughout the UK and Europe. They are formed by creasing and folding the plastic, before joining the two edges by a plastic weld extrusion process. This production technique was specifically designed by Tuffa UK for their European AdBlue supply client, and is a unique product in the market place.
Before coming to Tuffa, Ben worked for a large joinery firm building greenhouses and was also a chef at Alton Towers and a number of other venues. Ben has two boys aged 10 and 3, so all his spare time is taken up with his family, although he still loves cooking up a gourmet dinner.
“I like working in the Plastic Weld factory,” he said. “It’s exciting to be part of a unique manufacturing industry and my joinery skills are a good background for this production process. There’s a real family spirit at Tuffa and already I feel part of the team here.”
Oliver Whetstone-James, Steel Fabricator & Welder
20 year old Ollie has already packed a variety of jobs into his short working life. Having trained as a welder after leaving school, Ashbourne based Ollie has helped to run a local Peak District camp site, both in the office and bar, as well as working for a national cabling company, fitting network cables for digital and telecoms applications. He’s managed local bands for a record label and is also a dance music DJ.
“I’m enjoying being part of a small team and working on lots of different jobs,” said Ollie. “As well as getting involved in the production of Tuffa’s steel tanks, it’s a great opportunity to develop my welding and fabrication skills.”
Happy New Year, welcome to the Tuffa Team and we all look forward to working with you and helping Tuffa to continue to grow in 2019.
Good Luck to Luke, Ben and Ollie!