John D. Hotchkiss Ltd 01474 853131   Westwell Developments Ltd 01634 726148

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Feb 2, 2015


The Hotchkiss Engineering Group of Companies (John D Hotchkiss Ltd) worked alongside Grow in order to capitalise on the opportunities for manufacturers in the offshore wind market.

John D Hotchkiss Ltd (JDH) is a third generation family business, having been in operation for more than over 75 years.

JDH, which employs 22 people at its base in Kent, provides a complete engineering service through a combination of workshop-based heavy engineering, in-situ breakdown rapid response repairs and maintenance worldwide. It also looks after the transportation and installation of plant and machinery.

The company's heritage was in the paper milling industry, which had declined significantly and led to it exploring new markets.

JDH's heavy engineering expertise seemed a natural fit for the requirements of the energy sector and it has recently managed to secure a number of key contracts with major players in the subsea cable sector.

It began to supply fully fabricated cable reels and this involved the manufacture and refurbishment of subsea umbilical manufacturing plant and the machining of large, complex subsea cable interconnectors.

The company quickly realised that this market offered a significant opportunity for growth, but, at the same time, it also recognised the needed for additional capabilities to increase its penetration and expertise.

JDH needed to make a number of investments. The first was to invest in CAD/CAM and integrate infrared measuring capability into its milling operations. This had a dramatic impact on increasing operational efficiency and competitiveness and allowed the firm to meet stringent quality standards in the offshore renewables sector.

Following this, the company secured further contracts for the manufacture of subsea cable connectors but it wasn't long until the need for increased capacity to satisfy demand the volume and complexity of machining reared its head again.

The management team at JDH approached GROW:OffshoreWind and Advisor Fern Doherty, who supported it with funding towards the purchase of a £85,000 turning centre through the flexible enabling fund.

Tom Sisley, Director commented:

"Without the support from GROW:OffshoreWind's Flexible Enabling Fund we could not have achieved the results we have. Fern made it very simple for us to apply and the funding was received very quickly. Our results this year are a testament to the soundness of the investment and this will continue for the foreseeable future."

JDH has since won large contracts with a level of machining complexity it couldn't achieve before and the company anticipates a 20% increase in turnover this year.

Over the course of the next four years JDH expect to increase its workforce by 60% by 2018. It has already employed four new sales and skilled engineering staff.

Tom Sisley concluded: "We really valued the benefits of having an Advisor who understands the sector and we hope that together we can continue to invest in the business and employ more local people."

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