From design to manufacture

Debar Bi-fold Hardware has moved to new premises in Bradford, which supports the company’s move from an importer of hardware to a manufacturer. Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell attended a customer open day on March 15, where the Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Abid Hussain officially declared the site open.

Bradford based Debar manufactures hardware components for bifold door systems and has invested more than £500,000 to bring manufacturing in house to produce its own hinges, rollers and guides.

Managing director Graham Fawthrop said the company had developed rapidly – Debar posted a turnover of £6 million in 2017, which is expected to top £9 million in 2018.

The company employs more than 50 people, having doubled the number of employees since 2016. The move itself created 11 jobs, and further positions are being advertised, including CNC operators and an export/logistics coordinator.

The move to manufacturing required significant investment and the implementation of a planned growth strategy. With support from the Regional Development Fund, the company now designs and manufactures many of its own bifold door hardware components in the UK, rather than sourcing from overseas.

“Today is a celebration for Debar in opening their new facility,” said Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain, who officially opened the premises. “It pleases me greatly to hear that Debar are able to attract a great workforce from the Bradford area and we know that Debar will grow from their current workforce of 54, now that they are investing in manufacturing in Bradford. Bradford City council and its agencies have helped Debar every step of the way, with even Bradford University assisting with the training of their technical manager.”

Having outgrown previous premises, which were spread across five smaller industrial units, Debar looked for the opportunity to bring everything under one roof. Concept House provided the opportunity to combine all of the company functions, from design and manufacture to sales and despatch. The company signed a ten-year lease for the site, a modern, high eaves building, comprising offices and warehouse space, covering a total of 42,000ft2 and includes a showroom, meeting rooms, and training facility.

Debar worked with manufacturing consultants to plan the premises before moving in, and to build in Lean Manufacturing principles. This included designing bays to incorporate new CNC machines to facilitate further expansion. As well as creating new jobs, the new technology has enabled the company to promote staff internally by up-skilling and offering expansive training across all functions, from the CNC machinery, to health and safety, and quality control.

The customer open day included demonstrations of the Dewall bifold door system, with more than 16 punch tooling functions, a crimping version for sashes and moveable corner post arrangements. The company also unveiled its latest hardware for Visofold 1000, including rollers, guides and shoot bolts that meet PAS 24 as standard.

Managing director Graham Fawthrop said the company was already designing new products and investing in new machinery.

“There has been a lot of hard work and effort put in by all members of the Debar team to reach the point we have today,” he said. “The move to our new premises has provided a great opportunity to celebrate everyone’s involvement and to show our customers how our investment has paid off.

“We look forward to working in close partnership with our customers and suppliers to constantly evolve as a business, and to meet and exceed the requirements of our marketplace.

“Our new internal manufacturing capabilities ensure we are well placed to be at the forefront of product development within the bifold hardware sector and we intend to capitalise on our investment to secure significant growth for the future.”