Well-established North-East subcontract sheet metal fabrication company, Hydram Engineering, has been successfully recertified for its existing ISO standards following an audit by SGS in September 2021.
This recertification was carried out to the requirements of ISO 9001 (quality standard), ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety standard) and ISO 14001 (environmental standard) in a combined audit. With COVID-19 precautions for visitors still in force at the time, the decision was made to make use of information technology to enable the entire audit to be conducted remotely.
“We were able to use web conferencing and the coverage of our CCTV system so that the auditor could fully engage and assess everything required,” says Hydram’s Safety Health and Environment Manager, Lewis Dartnall. “The feedback was very positive and there were no areas that were difficult to access so that all the objectives were met.”
The SGS auditor commented, “Hydram operates a well-established Integrated Management System that has been in place for many years – the IMS is well presented, implemented and managed. The audit covered all production processes (laser cutting, punching, inserting, painting, machining and welding), support activities, interviews with personnel, and checking of related management system documented information.”
After careful review of process records, testimonials and video evidence, re-certification to ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 was recommended. There were no non-conformances and four opportunities for improvement identified.
Hydram’s Quality Manager, Barry Edgar said, “Obviously I’m very pleased with the outcome of the audit and positive feedback from the auditor regarding the way in which we control our systems and processes. For me though, the professionalism of those who contributed during the audit really stood out, and the management team thanks everyone who was involved.”
Established in 1977 and employing over 250 people in its 115,000 square foot facility, Hydram Engineering is one of the largest sheet metal fabrication companies in Europe. It offers the full range of subcontract engineering services including laser cutting, CNC punching, panel bending and folding, tube laser cutting and tube bending, fabrication, powder coating, wet painting and assembly from its site in Chilton, County Durham, UK.
Hydram has put quality central to all its business activities since its inception, and has held internationally recognised standards since 1996 and has been certified to the ISO 9001 Quality Standard since 2002. Hydram also emphasises the importance of occupational health and safety (achieving ISO 45001 in 2018), and the environment (holding ISO 14001 since 2010). The three ISO standards have been brought into alignment so that they can be assessed in a combined audit, saving time and expense.
Hydram supplies metal products, components and precision sheet metal fabrications to market leading OEM companies in industries such as rail, bus, lighting, furniture, earth-moving machinery and white goods. The company is committed to providing outstanding manufacturing services and working closely with customers to establish long-term partnerships.
Hydram Engineering welcomed the newest group of engineering technician apprentices to the business in September 2021. Six young people from across the region began their apprenticeships, bringing the number of current apprentices studying towards the nationally recognised Engineering Technician level 3 qualification to nine. Hydram has always had a strong ethos in workforce development and apprenticeships in particular, offering apprenticeships to the workforce at qualification levels ranging from level 2 up to master’s degree level 7.
Hydram began delivering its own engineering apprenticeship programme in 2011 having previously worked closely with local colleges which supplied candidates and delivered training. Since bringing the whole process in house Hydram is now able to deliver full Apprenticeship Standards at Level 3, along with a range of other qualifications at various levels as an EAL recognised centre; EAL being one of the leading awarding bodies for manufacturing and technical qualifications.
In recent years the programme has expanded, with applications increasing rapidly along with the quality of the candidates, strengthening the Hydram team and securing a sustainable workforce for the future. It has also gained accreditation from the Institute of Mechanical Engineering (IMechE) allowing apprentices direct entry to EngTech status upon completion, and even gaining access the National Union of Students NUS Extra program. Hydram has a dedicated training centre equipped with all of the required technology apprentices need to achieve their individual learning goals.
“This is a great opportunity for young people with an interest in engineering. They are gaining knowledge and experience from an established team of engineers within Hydram, and from a company perspective they are learning exactly what this business needs to continue its expansion within the sheet metal sector,” said Neil Mawson, Hydram’s Training Manager.
A formalised training programme exists which has fixed training plans and progression routes for all apprentices. Apprentices develop practical skills in line with the core business of Hydram whilst completing their technical studies. Apprentices gain not only the technical knowledge which is delivered onsite by members of Hydram’s training team, but also the necessary practical skills on the latest production machinery: CNC laser cutting machines, punching machines, press brakes, milling machines and the paint and assembly facilities to name a few.