We are pleased to announce we have been working on some big projects for the marine industry over the past 12 months, one of which is production of 11-meter tapered masts.
The project to create a new tapered mast for the Dragon fleet came about after sailors and boat builders had started to notice the bend characteristics differed between each mast produced. Meaning, if you broke a mast and replaced it with a new one all the tuning and set up and measurements would no longer be valid. This also affected the continuity within the fleet, as each boat would require their own settings to get the most from their specific mast section.
Mast tapers are needed to get the best shape and performance from a sail. The basic technique to create a tapered mast requires the manufacturer to remove a “v” section from the mast, once removed the section needs to be closed – usually done with an internal mandrel, hammer, or clamp. Once closed it is held together with a weld. Straight forward it would seem, but it proves very difficult to achieve a consistent result. Each process has a possibility for small variation which will result in slightly different bend characteristics.
We have taken the difficult decision to close our foundry, resulting in the discontinuation of our YS range of fittings.
Whilst the YS range has been tremendously successful for many decades, sales have fallen recently as boat builders switched to a more modern alternative. We have also recently received the disappointing news that the company that completed the polishing and anodising of the fittings has fallen victim to Covid-19 and despite an extensive search, we have been unable to source a new supplier who can meet our quality criteria. The investment required in the foundry, anodising and polishing could not be justified for a shrinking demand. Sadly, we have therefore had to make the decision to discontinue this range.
We still have some stock of the YS range; you can find out what we have by clicking here.
However, some of the YS items will now begin a new life with new manufacturing methods and modern looks. The new AY range will be manufactured using our state-of-the-art VMC machines which will produce more accurate and reliable products. We also have the in-house design and machining capability of producing bespoke designs to a customer’s specification.
Allen renewed as official hardware supplier to the Swedish Sailing Team.
The Swedish Sailing Team has confirmed Allen as their official hardware supplier for another year.
The partnership between Allen and the Swedish Sailing Team was officially announced at the 2020 RYA Dinghy Show, and this extension of the supplier status will further enhance the relationship between the elite athletes and the performance hardware manufacturing company.
Allen manufacture many of the specialised parts for the one-design classes that will be used in the sailing events at Tokyo. The Swedish Sailing Team boasts an impressive 35 sailing medals with 4 teams selected to represent their country in the Finn, 470 men, ILCA Standard and ILCA Radial classes in Tokyo. So, it comes as no surprise that the Swedish team chose Allen as its hardware of choice before the games.
Managing Director of Allen, Liz Adams, commented proudly “We are delighted that the Swedish Sailing Team has extended its partnership with us as their official hardware supplier. By working closely with the elite athletes in the team we are able to further develop our products and ensure that their sailors get the best possible performance hardware to help them win a gold medal!”
Thomas Hansson-Mild of the Swedish Sailing Team stated “It is great to work with Allen and benefit from the 60 years of competitive sailing heritage that they bring to the table. We too have a proud heritage. We won our most recent Olympic medals in London 2012 when Fredrik Lööf and Max Salminen won the gold in the Star and Rasmus Myrgren a bronze in the Laser. We aim for more medals in Tokyo and the cooperation with Allen will greatly improve our chances.”
Around the world, we are known as a company that produces small boat hardware, but this isn’t strictly true.
Let us introduce to you to “The Big Boy” just one example of what we can do for bigger boats.
This new 150mm block has been designed to fit on the end of an 8-meter hydraulic ram and will be under loads of around 27 tonnes. The Big Boy weighs 5kg and has a plain bearing sheave with ball bearings to cater for side loads.
Here at Allen, we are much more than just marine hardware specialists. We are engineering experts who work with a wide variety of companies in different sectors, such as; medical equipment, automotive parts, window manufacturing, public and defence sector, theatre, advertising, aviation and much more.
We can work with such a wide variety of clients due to our multiplicity of in-house resources. Which includes our close-knit team of engineers and designers who can work to deliver premium solutions for custom or mass-production jobs. Allen is also an ISO9001 accredited business, which means we are capable of mass manufacturing high-quality products as well as ensuring a high level of craftsmanship is carried out for custom items.
“The marine sector, from small leisure boatbuilders to large commercial marine engineers all now face the same issue when outsourcing. We are all in the same boat,” explains Liz Adams, Managing Director of Allen. “Sourcing from anywhere outside the UK now carries a higher level of risk to business continuity than it has in the past. Sourcing from multiple suppliers carries the risk they are buying in materials from abroad. The only way to de-risk is to use UK suppliers who, in turn, source from UK suppliers. If you want to see how it should be done, we have produced a video showing how one of our blocks, the A2060Tii, has been designed and manufactured entirely using services we have in-house.”
As a British family-owned business, we ensure 100% of our products are designed, manufactured and assembled in-house at our factory in Essex. All our materials, where possible, are sourced from within the UK. We also guarantee a competitive and fair price for any job we undertake.
If you have any custom requirements, big or small, marine or non-marine, don’t hesitate to get in touch to see how Allen can solve your problems.
Jon Sturmer Joins Allen
UK performance hardware manufacturer, Allen Brothers (fittings) Ltd, has appointed Jon Sturmer as Business Development Manager.
Jon Sturmer has had an extensive career in the marine industry and has previously worked for Dolphin Sails as the Sales Manager. Taking on the new role at Allen from the start of 2021, Jon will be based at the Allen headquarters in Essex and will be driving the business development and sales in the international marketplace.
“I’m excited to be joining a company that supplies great British designed and manufactured parts to everyone from weekend boaters through to Olympic sailors. Having used Allen products on my own boats and professionally at past jobs, I already knew Allen made great products. It is also important to me that Allen is looking to increase its environmental responsibilities by utilising recycled products as used on the 20 & 30mm plain bearing block ranges. And I am really looking forward to working with Liz and such a knowledgeable team who are passionate about sailing and boats.” commented Jon Sturmer.
Allen, the UK marine engineering company, has recently invested in a new injection moulding machine that will be added to its in-house production facilities.
The British company has had installed the top of the range injection moulding machine from BOY, the 100 E. Some of its features include a larger distance between tie bars (430 x 360 mm), a platen opening stroke of 725 mm, with optional 900 mm and a clamping force of 1000 kN. The most important of these features is the clamping force. The higher the force the more it allows for larger products with thinner material to be produced.
This new injection moulding machine will be used to manufacture some of Allen’s most popular products including hatch covers, aerovanes and centreboard slots, to name a few.
This new machine follows on from other investments the marine engineering company has also made over the rollercoaster year that has been 2020. It’s not too long ago the company announced its purchase of a new 3D printing machine to help with rapid prototyping.
Allen is based in Essex, UK, and has been one of the leading sailboat hardware manufacturers for over 60 years. The company prides itself with being more than just a marine specialist but engineering experts. To find out more about some of the in-house recourse available at Allen and some of the custom projects they undertake visit the Allen website – https://www.allenbrothers.co.uk/about-us/allen-in-house-resources/
Investing in Rapid 3d Prototyping
We have recently invested in a new workstation to assist with rapid product prototyping and testing.
At Allen, we were one of the early adopters of 3d printing technology as the in-house design team could see it would help with many areas of the research and design stages of product development. But as technology has moved on so too has the capabilities of 3d printers.
Our existing 3d printer was somewhat outdated and worn out, and so, as a business which prides itself on innovative product design, we did some extensive research and decided to purchase the new MakerBot Method X.
It may come as a surprise that in the peak of a pandemic we would invest in new hardware for the design department. But, due to the demands of many entrepreneurs looking to develop products to assist in the fight of COVID-19 it became a logical investment for us to upgrade the existing machine.
The MakerBot Method X is one of the latest 3d printers available on the market. The new machine can print in multiple materials including ABS, PVA, Nylon and PETG Carbon fibre – Materials which could be used in final production. The wide range of materials will allow for stronger and more reliable parts to be manufactured. Resulting in better and more accurate testing results. Coupling this with quicker print times will also benefit the customers of Allen, as lead times to get their hands on a sample product will be reduced and the results will be more reliable and accurate than ever before.
If you have a custom project, would like to find out what Allen can do for you or If you need help bringing ideas to reality, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Allen Brothers gains ISO 9001 accreditation
The UK’s leading manufacturer of performance sailing hardware, Allen Brothers, has recently undergone an audit to gain ISO 9001 certification, and as a result, the British company now has accreditation to be formally recognised as competent to perform specific processes.
ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard set by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Businesses that gain ISO 9001 have shown to UKAS they are able to keep a high quality of business practice throughout many different areas, including; customer service, consistent product manufacturing and regulatory requirements. Allen Brothers will have to undergo an audit each year to show UKAS it can maintain a satisfactory level or production and business practices.
In recent years Allen Brothers has seen major growth in custom projects for businesses both in and outside of the marine sector. Undergoing many different custom projects is only achievable with a well informed and organised production operation. Having gained ISO 9001 accreditation shows Allen Brothers is capable of mass manufacturing high-quality products as well as being able to ensure a high level of craftsmanship is carried out for custom items.
The Allen brothers Tony and Glen first founded the business back in 1956 with a vision of creating performance sailing hardware driven by innovation and technology. The first products they produced for their own race boats were such an improvement on everything then in use, customers demanded they set up production to meet the market. 63 years later and the family run business still holds true to the same principles by staying at the forefront of innovation and technology for the marine industry.
Allen Brothers still researches, designs, prototypes and manufactures everything from its Essex based factory. The company has recently invested in new computer-aided design software, production software and machinery such as a new vertical machining centre to help maintain a high standard of production.
Some of Allen Brothers in-house resources include:
Design & CAD modelling – using advanced PTC Creo CAD software the Allen design team can quickly develop new ideas and designs into computer models, which can be structurally assessed with their Ansys computer simulated stress analysis software. Prototype models can be seen within hours using the Dimension 3D part printer.
Tool making – finished designs are seamlessly progressed through the tool making stages using the parametric features of PTC Creo tool design and NC machining software. The toolmakers can produce single or multi-impression tools for injection moulding, sheet metal pierce and blank tools, secondary operation form tools, assembly jigs and fixtures.
Component parts – The factory is equipped to manufacture a diverse range of parts and can be particularly flexible in the production of short-run specialist parts, and low to medium volume quantities.
CNC injection moulding – Allen Brothers are experts in the use of advanced engineering polymers and composites such as carbon fibre filled acetals and nylons.
CNC turned parts – 5 axis sliding head lathes produce high precision parts in all materials.
CNC sheet metal forming – presses produce pierced and blanked parts, with secondary forming.
CNC milled parts – 2 HAAS 3-axis vertical milling centres allow Allen Brothers to make precision milled parts in a range of material from marine grade 6082 aluminium to Brass & Acetal.
Pressure die casting – Allen Brothers have the facilities in-house to die cast aluminium
yacht fittings using a hot-chamber die cast machine.
Aluminium gravity cast parts – are also cast in the in-house foundry.
Fabrication – The Allen Brothers versatile and skilled workforce can provide fully assembled products, using a range of techniques such as welding, drilling, riveting, threaded fasteners, adhesives, pad-printing and packing.