You may have heard the sad news that MAN Energy Solutions (Formerly Paxman Diesels) has announced plans to shut their facility in Colchester.
Paxman has been in Colchester (currently next door to our own facilities) for more than 150 years and this news is a major blow for our town and the UK engineering industry.
At its peak, the facility was employing around 3,000 local people, plus all the local support and sub-contracting companies, so it really is tremendously sad to see it go.
There have been reports that economic effects of Coronavirus have caused this decision, but there were already problems, and although we are nowhere near the size of MAN, there are lessons we can all take from this situation.
Paxman engines were one of the world leaders for Naval and locomotive power, priding themselves on their power to weight ratio.
In fact, if you’ve ever had anything to do with Naval vessels, then the chances are you’ve come across their engines, particularly the Valenta and Ventura models.
Or if you’re in the locomotive sector you are likely to have come across the RPH models.
When I look at the MAN heritage brands (Paxman, Ruston & Mirrlees), compared to MTU, who is now the leading engine supplier to Navies across the world, there is a significant difference in the investment in innovation.
It’s the same when looking after critical equipment.
If you don’t invest in the short term, it will cost you in the long term. We have seen the results of making savings by not investing in engine maintenance which then ends up costing more when the inevitable failure occurs.
There are also significant gains to be made by embracing and incorporating innovations. When working on engines that were designed 50+ years ago (or even 20 years ago), there are lots of progressions in materials, designs and improvements that could be utilised.
Paxman has a special place in Bartech’s history, with our founder, Gerald “Barney” Barnett and Technical Lead, Andy, completing their apprenticeships there, and we continue to support many of their engines around the world.