Nigel Pritchett is the managing director of Elesa (UK) Ltd. He joined the company in 1990 to develop the sales and marketing activities before moving into a more strategic role.
Over the last 26 years, Pritchett, along with a loyal staff, has seen huge developments in the product range and speed of introduction coming through from the group, in order to keep up with customer demand.
Having such an experienced team has proved essential in providing a smooth transition during a period of growth where new software, procedures and processes needed to be introduced to cope with the ever-changing demands of the market. “To accomplish this without any drop in customer service is testament to the staff involved and bears well for the future,” he says.
As he explains in the interview with FAST, below, the Elesa story is a long and successful one – with much more to come in the days ahead:
When did Elesa establish itself in the UK?
A distributorship was originally established in the UK as far back as 1960 with an agreement with Clayton Instruments Ltd, a well-known and respected manufacturer of position indicators. As the distributorship flourished, a stronger bond ensued with the Elesa Group, resulting in the creation of a fully owned Elesa Group branch office in 1991. Since its inception, the branch office has grown in size, creating a new office structure and bar coded warehouse to support the local needs of the UK market. Now, in 2016, we have a milestone year, with Elesa (UK) Ltd celebrating its 25th anniversary, whilst the Elesa Group celebrates its 75th.
How many different products does the company offer?
Today, Elesa offers over 40,000 standard components to a worldwide customer base through a qualified distribution network.
This is the result of 75 years at the forefront of technology, with one aim: the creation of a range of innovative, ergonomic products, incorporating unique design features, produced to the highest quality standards. Foresight has led to utilising the most advanced production technology to propose technical solutions, while anticipating the needs of the market.
The growing and increasingly sophisticated needs of target markets pushed Elesa both to extend the range of standard products and to study special solutions that meet the specific requirements of each customer. This led to new-generation product lines that offer standard elements made from special materials and advanced technologies.
An innate sensitivity to the quality of design and ergonomic research, a corporate culture strongly oriented to the quality of the products, the affirmation of its brands as a guarantee of quality and reliability, continuous attention to customer needs and a fast and careful service make ELESA a company looking towards the future.
Does the company produce a catalogue and, if so, how big is it and how often is it updated?
Yes, the catalogue is a large investment for the Elesa Group and can be considered an essential designer’s reference book. In its current form, the general catalogue 151 and new product supplement 151.2 contain over 1,500 pages of products classified into 16 key groups.
These key groups cover operating elements, clamping knobs, clamping levers, lift and pull handles, fixed and revolving handles, control elements, rotary controls, indexing and positioning elements, machine elements, levelling elements and supports, hinges and connections, locks and latches, hydraulic accessories, castors and wheels, handles for special applications and connecting clamps.
The constant development of the Elesa range means a new catalogue is already under development and will again contain the high quality imagery and technical information that the current catalogue is renowned for.
Is there an online version of the catalogue?
Yes, the online catalogue can be found at www.elesa.com and is part of a fully responsive site available in four languages. Products are not only categorised into their 16 key groups as per the catalogue, but can also be selected by high performing product lines and new products.
Powerful search facilities, utilising codes and descriptions, are coupled with numerous key feature filters, in order to make site navigation a user-friendly experience.
Can designers download CAD data on Elesa products from the company’s website?
Yes, any user can register for the ‘MYELESA’ area of the website, giving access to download a multitude of 2D and 3D drawing formats, request quotations and ask the expert for technical solutions, as well as being able to save favourite products, quotations and drawings.
Is the company ‘just a seller of products’ or does it offer application and engineering advice, too?
Elesa prides itself on its ability to support customers with application and engineering advice, with technical staff resident in all branch offices, backed by a large R&D department and laboratory facility at our Monza headquarters.
The R&D department is in charge of new product designs, the improvement of existing ones and the study of customised solutions. In the laboratory, new materials are continuously tested by using the most technologically advanced equipment and measuring instruments, with the aim of extending the use of technopolymers to higher performing applications of standard machine elements. Furthermore, Elesa's laboratory is always at the customer's disposal for testing the suitability of products under the most severe conditions of use.
Standard test data can be found throughout our literature and website, along with application advice on how to specify the correct component.
Which are the key markets that the company serves?
With our diverse array of products and concept of design for many uses, we find ourselves operating in virtually every manufacturing market sector. From the traditional machinery and equipment sectors of packaging, food processing, printing, metalworking and woodworking through to the medical, chemical, pharmaceutical and process control industries, as well as the automotive, aerospace and marine sectors.
More recent specialist product line developments have also led to the introduction of components for ATEX, ESD and clean room environments. In all cases, we aim to provide a guarantee of reliability synonymous with the Elesa brand.
Where are the company’s products designed and manufactured?
Elesa design and manufacturing takes place at the Monza plant just outside of Milan in Northern Italy, where a Kaizen philosophy permeates through the company structure. A large technical department of qualified engineers with access to the latest CAD design and mould simulation software is responsible for the design of both products and moulds. By keeping this level of control in-house, we are able to fully optimise the mould, material flow and production machinery in order to ensure the highest quality products with consistent manufacturing.
Our designers are constantly working on new products, fuelled by requests from the market for greater variation and higher performing lines.
What does the company see as it key strengths?
Being a family-run business in its third generation, with a philosophy of quality at its core, is what has put Elesa at the forefront of standard machine element production worldwide. The ability to innovate through a highly qualified staff and a 75-year history has resulted in one of the largest and most diverse product ranges available today, while maintaining a core competency in the manufacture of standard machine elements. What Elesa stands for above all is:
- A commitment to reinvest in the latest automated technology and production techniques, delivering quality, high-performance products competitively, with an emphasis on ergonomics and aesthetics, in order to deliver value
- A focus on delivering a high level of worldwide service through localised stockholding and technical support, and the backup of 38 industrial design awards and 150 patents and registered designs.