Celebrating 50 years of HCM Engineering

By HCM Engineering
schedule20th Dec 19

Made in the Midlands member HCM Engineering is celebrating their 50th anniversary, we take a look back in time with images taken when the company was first established and what it looks like now. Along with taking a look at how far the company has come in terms of technology and quality.

Established in 1969, HCM has developed into one of the UK's leading exponents in the manufacture of tooling for a European-wide base of Aluminium and Iron foundries. On top of this, the company’s vast capabilities expand to designing and manufacturing die casting machines, ancillary machines, jigs, fixtures to enable the processing of the components.

HCM considers its main asset to be the people it employs. Their highly-skilled employees are supported by the company's continual recruitment and training scheme incorporating a structured modern apprenticeship programme.

Raymond Hanson along with two other founders started the business in Stourbridge 50 years ago, in 1969, when they noticed an opportunity after working for Birmid Aluminium, a large foundry in Birmingham. They noticed the growing tooling industry at a time when engineers could choose the work they took on for the automotive industry due to the level of work available. Raymond and company rented a small facility where they started working long hours to get the business up and running.

The first image below shows engineers working with manual copy milling machines back in the early 70’s, used for die milling to produce products from blocks of metal. Copy Milling machines were one of the first investments the company made back in 1969.

The second image shows a comparison of where the companies machinery stands in 2019, engineers use computerised CNC machines and CAM programming that display a 3D image of the product being produced.

HCM stands for the three surnames of the people who started the business, ‘H’ being for Hanson, the idea to set up the company derived from their passion for making Tooling for the automotive industry. The Stourbridge based company started off in the industry with low and high-pressure die plus gravity tooling to create engine parts. 50 years later, HCM has a wider range of capabilities including component design with 3D printing and a facility that is a hundred times the size, compared to the 100sq facility they started out with.

Now in 2019, celebrating their 50th anniversary, the company is owned by Raymond’s sons, Mike and Simon Hanson and have for the past 26 years. The company now supplies to a range of industries and uses their long-standing experience, coupled with the latest technology, to make their products. During their ownership, they have also extended the company overseas including setting up a branch in Bangalore in 2003 to compete with Eastern pricing.

The first image below shows Raymond when the company was set up in 1969. The second is an image of Simon in the same position as his father as Managing Director.

Going back to when the company was founded, the 1980s brought about the decade of computerisation and HCM Engineering wanted to be part of this to be ahead of the game. In 1981 Raymond, founder of HCM Engineering, and company visited Japan to look at the automation of manufacturing. Noticing that the technology was advanced, they decided to invest in a large copy milling machine. The company’s research also saw visits to Austria and Japan, in fact, the company purchased two copy milling machines from Austria in the late 1970s.

Simon Hanson, Current Owner and Managing Director with Mike Hanson, said Raymond and company would regularly take risks and source funds through selling their personal belongings to stay ahead of technology. He added:

“When the company is growing, you get the enthusiasm for it to keep having that winning streak.”

In the late 1980s and early 1990s 1 million was invested into the company, filling it with CNC machines and CAD cam. This allowed the company to compete with Eastern countries when it comes to cost and improve the quality of their products. They were also able to produce more product by running the machines at night with no labour required. This led to the company working with massive brands such as Bentley, JLR, Mercedes and Aston Martin.

The image shows (left to right) Mike and Simon Hanson,  Srikanth and Ray Hanson when opening their subsidiary in Bangalore, India. 

Established for 50 years, HCM Engineering has broken boundaries when it comes to keeping up with the latest technologies and competing with lower prices coming from other parts of the globe. Now, with the ability for low pressure, high pressure and gravity tooling, along with being able to create complex component designs in conjunction with the OEM’s, the company's client list expands across the biggest automotive brands in the world.

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