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.”

About Hydram Engineering

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.

Find out more about Hydram’s accreditations here

Engineering Apprenticeships at Hydram

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 Apprenticeship Centre

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.

About Hydram’s Apprenticeship Programme

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.

Since 2013, Hitachi Rail has spent over £1.8bn with UK suppliers, including with local company Hydram Engineering.

Hitachi Rail’s success with the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) has helped to create a supply chain of over 1,400 individual suppliers. This includes over 130 suppliers directly in the North East – close to the manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Hydram Engineering has worked successfully with Hitachi Rail to enter the rail market in 2016, winning a contract to supply over 1,500 components and assemblies.

Hydram’s employees are proud to experience the trains during both the production process and then again as passengers – seeing how the parts they are responsible for make a real difference to millions of people each year travelling on Hitachi rolling stock.

Find out more about Hydram and how collaborating with Hitachi Rail as a partner has supported business growth, whilst developing new talent through a successful apprentice scheme.

Watch the Video:

Click here to watch the video to hear more from engineering Apprentice Holly and Managing Director, David Greatorex.

In October 2017 subcontract sheet metalwork supplier Hydram Engineering Ltd. announced that it has achieved certification under the latest revision of ISO 9001:2015 after undergoing a two-day independent audit of its Quality Management System.

Hydram had attained the previous revision of the standard, ISO 9001:2008, in 2009 and has been successful in updating its system to the latest 2015 version.  The audit was completed by leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company SGS who are recognized as a global benchmark for quality and integrity.

Hydram’s Quality Manager Barry Edgar said, “Our quality management system has been in existence for over 20 years and this latest audit is proof of our commitment to continuous improvement.  Of course, this is just one aspect that customers look for in a supplier, and we work extremely hard to improve in all we do.  Above all, we are committed to our customers, and I am proud that we have attained the standard set by the latest revision of ISO 9001.”

Over 20 years of Quality Accreditation

Hydram first achieved formal quality system accreditation when it attained the (now obsolete) ISO 9002 standard in 1996.  This was superseded by the ISO 9001 quality standard, which Hydram attained in 2002 and has maintained since then through two revisions.

The ISO 9001 standard was introduced in 2000 and underwent revisions both in 2008 and 2015 to ensure its relevance for the marketplace.  The current revision, known as ISO 9001:2015, is designed to respond to the latest trends and be compatible with other management systems such as ISO 14001 by using a common framework.

Long term goals

It is Hydram’s long term intention to integrate its Quality, Environment, and Health and Safety systems under a single integrated management system.  This holistic approach would combine all related components of the business (resources and processes) into one system for easier management and operation.  The aim is to harmonise document management, planning and objectives to reduce duplication and enable a streamlined audit process.


Leading subcontract sheet metalwork supplier

Hydram is a leading supplier of sheet metal components, assemblies and light fabrications to customers throughout the UK.  The leading fabrication company provides the full range of subcontract engineering services, including laser cutting, metal bending, sheet metal fabrication, powder coating and assembly.  Hydram supplies components and sheet metal fabrications to market leading companies in industries such as transportation, shop-fitting and point of display, lighting and earth-moving machinery.