When Houghton International was founded in 1984, the business occupied just a small industrial unit, carrying out repairs for low voltage motors from the surrounding local industry, mining and hospitals. In the 38 years that followed the business has transformed. It has scaled considerably, bolstered by strong core values, a strategic focus on key sectors including power and transportation, and, perhaps most crucially, an industry-leading apprenticeship and training scheme.
Houghton International now occupies 135,000 sq ft of space on Newcastle’s Shields Road, once home to the historic C. A. Parsons and Company, whose steam turbines can still be found in power stations around the world. Houghton International has made its own contributions to the North East’s engineering heritage; their proprietary design of high voltage coils can be found in critical machines around the world, from hydropower generation facilities in the Americas, to water treatment plants in Australia
Houghton International now carries out work for some of the biggest and most influential industrial companies in the UK and globally, but the business has not forgotten its heritage. The apprenticeship scheme continues to provide young people from the local area with employment, skills and a lifelong career, and, although the industrial landscape of the North East has changed substantially, Houghton International continues to service the region’s motors, pumps and other electro mechanical assets, from large power station generators to small ventilation unit motors.
The dedicated Small Works division is an intersection of these two key aspects of the business, where apprentices learn their craft on small motors and pumps from the same local sectors as the business served almost four decades ago.
As Operations Director and Deputy CEO, Craig Hutton, explains, “For every large, high voltage motor that comes through our doors, we receive several small, low voltage units. The importance of these smaller units can’t be overstated; they help factories put food on the table, keep public facilities and infrastructure running, ensure clean air circulation in hospitals and offices, and much, much more.
“Carrying out rewinds of smaller motors also provides the perfect way for our apprentices to hone their skills. Whilst larger rewinds, using high voltage formed coils, are not without skill, smaller rewinds require much more dexterity and precision – it’s a different, but equally important, skillset.”
Since Houghton International established its dedicated Small Works division it has gone from strength to strength, enabling the business to provide a better and more efficient service to customers with smaller assets, such as fan, convection and circulation units, crane motors, lifting hoists and production line motors.
These small but crucial assets are a key part of the business – and are vital to developing the skills of the engineers of the future.