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Farm-based fabricator nails major overseas contract with help of 'extraordinary' local suppliers

PUBLISHED: 09:25 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:25 08 March 2019

From left, DXB Pump & Power Ltd operations manager Matt Flack and managing director Simon Ruffles  Picture: ANTHONY CULLEN PHOTOGRAPHY

From left, DXB Pump & Power Ltd operations manager Matt Flack and managing director Simon Ruffles Picture: ANTHONY CULLEN PHOTOGRAPHY

DXB Pump & Power Ltd

A manufacturing firm based on a Suffolk farm has just completed a bumper £900,000 order.

The five-strong team at DXB Pump & Power Limited, based at Baylham, near Ipswich, worked up to 12 to 14 hours a day six days a week for three months to complete its biggest order to date, which was for a major international mining company based in Africa.

The engineer and fabricator, which specialises in making heavy-duty pumpsets, made a dozen large portable engine driven mine water pumps which will ensure the mining company’s open cast mine remains productive during the annual seasonal heavy rains.

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All the pumpsets were mounted on heavy duty trailers to enable them to be moved around the mine easily behind earth moving equipment, as well as optional extras such as Wiggins fast fuelling systems, Storm & Stone Protection Systems and LED lighting and safety lights.

The machines were designed and built at DXB, which was launched two years ago by managing director Simon Ruffles and operations manager Matt Flack, who is also a cattle farmer involved in a small family farm just outside Stowmarket.

Although setting up in business was “pretty scary” to begin with, the orders have been pouring in, said Simon, with about 70% of its products being exported abroad from the farm. Its main overseas customers are based in Scandinavia and Africa, but it hopes to make progress in France and other mainland European countries. It has already secured around half a million pounds worth of new orders in Europe.

The African mine order was a big challenge, he said, but “extraordinary” local suppliers helped them win through.

“We muddled through it but I tell you what, we could not have done it without the local suppliers,” he said. He estimated those orders were worth around £1m to the Suffolk economy.

“To be selected for this size of contract ahead of our global competitors shows that mines are now looking for a more competitive supplier of high quality pumpsets that offer a low lifetime cost of ownership through lower initial purchase price and through the design of high efficiency pumpsets. DXB Pump had all its fabrications undertaken in two companies based in Suffolk as well as using other local suppliers for other key parts such as engines and control systems,” he said.

“We used fabricators based right here in Suffolk to supply almost 10t of fabrications for the whole project and had a fantastic specialist paint company based outside Ipswich finish the trailers before we mounted the equipment and tested them. The support we received for the project from local businesses was extraordinary.”

The company has designed a range of sound-proofed pumpsets for the UK market which are used by local quarries, construction companies and water companies.

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