Firm to make ‘world first’ navy machine

The new factory premises on Thornborough Road of Unison, the engineering and manufacturing company based in Eastfield. Photo by Andrew Higgins 130201f    07/01/2013
The new factory premises on Thornborough Road of Unison, the engineering and manufacturing company based in Eastfield. Photo by Andrew Higgins 130201f 07/01/2013

A Scarborough firm has landed a landmark contract with the US Navy to build a machine, the first of its kind ever to be made.

Staff at the Eastfield-based firm Unison will begin work on a pioneering all-electric tube shaping machine, following a huge order from Virginia-based Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS).

The contraption is capable of bending eight inch piping and large-bore tubing, and is the latest deal between the Scarborough company and the American firm, which is currently making nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for its navy.

Bosses at Unison, which employs approximately 45 staff, claim the electric pipe-bending machine is the largest and most ambitious ever developed.

Jim Saynor, sales manager for the Scarborough company, said the machine will significantly cut trial production for the American firm, as well as help them make further savings on scrap material.

He added: “This order highlights the flexibility of our bending machine control technology.

“Through collaboration and the support of our US partner, Horn Machine Tools, we have gained a thorough understanding of the needs of this shipbuilder, and have helped and advised them on numerous aspects of pipe and tube fabrication.

“Our software-based approach to bending control provides a fully scalable solution that can easily be extended to large diameter pipes, such as this order.”

The machine is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

NNS has worked on US Navy and commercial ships for about 130 years, launching the Ranger in 1933, which weighed 14,500 tonnes and had a 700-foot flight deck, and was the first ship designed and built as an aircraft carrier.

The Stateside firm employs roughly 22,000 workers,