Leeds Welding is predominantly a subcontract manufacturing company, fabricating steel, stainless steel and aluminium products and components for a broad range of industries and applications – from construction, transport, and oil & gas to commercial vehicles and mechanical handling equipment. With origins stretching back to the 1920’s, the company has more recently moved into new markets, establishing a business supplying airport equipment – such as baggage gauges, queuing systems and ancillary equipment – as well as its latest venture, making attachments for agricultural machinery.
As a rapidly expanding business, Leeds Welding has invested heavily in cutting-edge technology to drive the fast and efficient processes needed to manufacture precision-made, well-finished products. Four CNC laser cutters, seven CNC presses and two robotic welders are deployed in what is virtually a 24/7 operation.
“At just shy of a million pounds for the latest laser cutter these are expensive pieces of kit,” says Richard Eaglen, Managing Director of Leeds Welding. “So, an uninterrupted flow of material between processes is critical to maximizing productivity and getting the most value from these sophisticated machines.”
However, moving heavy loads of sheet-steel, components and work-in-progress between cutting, forming, fabrication and finishing processes is tough work, requiring a reliable fleet of highly maneuverable counterbalance forklift trucks. Heavy lifting with precision control is absolutely essential when working indoors with such high capital worth machinery.
“We book in between 400 – 500 tonnes of steel every month,” says Richard Eaglen. “We cut it, bend it, weld it, assemble it, galvanize it and paint it – and then that 400 tonnes or more of steel goes back out again but in a very different format. So, in and around the factory we are moving over 400 tonnes of steel a month, all by forklift truck.”
After operating a mixed forklift truck fleet for many years, when contracts came up for renewal, Leeds Welding decided to standardise on a single supplier – one that they could trust on handling performance and reliability. Stepping up to the mark, Doosan’s robust, feature-rich range of standard heavy-lifting counterbalance models were selected – five Doosan G30GP 3.0 tonne four-wheel trucks, one Doosan G20SC-5 2.0 tonne capacity machine and a Doosan G35C-7 3.5 tonne forklift. All were gas powered for continuous shift indoor operations.
“We have been with Doosan for about six years – a long-standing relationship, where the trucks and the service & maintenance have always been good. Any issues are sorted out very quickly, which is important to us as an interruption to production can have significant cost implications,” says Richard Eaglen.
He adds, “Reliability and uptime are critical to us. We can’t afford for a truck to be down for long, that’s why we don’t buy second hand vehicles and we keep the renewals on a rolling lease.”
All Doosan models supplied to Leeds Welding were standard vehicles, offering all the features and reliable performance needed to do the job. As standard gas powered trucks they came equipped with Doosan’s unique award winning swing-out and down gas bottle handling unit for easy change over – an attractive feature for continuous shift operations. Also included in the extensive list of standard features was Doosan’s industry leading oil-cooled disc brake system. The sealed units protect against outside elements, such as water, dust, dirt and shrink-wrap, offering reliable braking performance for enhanced safety and greater productivity.
Summing up Richard Eaglen comments: “Our experience with Doosan has been very good, with consistently high uptime on vehicles and a fast call out on an engineer when you require one. You get the service you expect and need. And that’s important to a customer centric business like ours.”