May 16, 2018

17/05/2018: Movers, shakers, and… driers

by Vaughn Entwistle, Features Editor, Milling and Grain

From its humble beginnings in 1947, Perry of Oakley Ltd has grown to become the UK’s most experienced manufacturer of materials handling and drying equipment. In 2017, the manufacturer, based in Honiton, Devon, was awarded “Exporter of year,” by SHAPA, the solids handling and processing association.

Such an impressive pedigree makes this British manufacturer stand out in a field crowded with competitors. To find out more about this unique company, Milling & Grain visited them on a rainy day in March, where we sat down with managing director David Perry who ran through the impressive product line that Perry’s produces.
 


“Driers for gran and biomass are a big part of our business,” Perry explained, “but we also do belt driers, and materials handling equipment. We are about 40 percent farming, 30 percent large scale farming, with a tiny percentage of ports grain handling and the remaining balance on the biomass side.

For years the Perry name has been synonymous with grain driers and handling systems, but that is beginning to evolve. “Until around five years ago all our design capability was focused on grain,” Perry explained.

“Now we’re producing driers for other products. Fundamentally, it’s all about hot air flowing through furnaces – all stuff we know a lot about. As well as driers, we support all forms of handling: conveying systems, bucket elevators, screw conveyers, belt driers. We add new systems every year, so our product line is continually growing.”

But with so much competition, we asked: why should a customer choose Perry’s?

“Because everything is done here in-house,” Perry answered. “A drier is more than just a metal box. We write our own software and design our own control panels. I’ve seen huge complexes with thousands of silos and one drier that is handling everything that goes into those silos, so it’s one of the most important parts of the system. The interface for your customer is arguably the most critical component. If something goes wrong (especially for an export customer) he doesn’t want to have to phone his importer, who then phones his rep, who then phones the manufacturer to talk to someone who wrote the software or designed the drier. Because we design the driers and the software in-house they can call us directly; or if there is a language barrier, we can three-way Skype with our rep who can then translate for the customer. We also encourage customers to connect their panel to the Internet. The PLC is data logging the whole time, so we can we can connect to the panel and download the data from here to see exactly what’s going on.”

An engineering approach
We noticed that many of the company’s products feature stickers proclaiming, “Perry Engineering”, which is a legitimate claim, because engineering is the lifeblood of the company.

“Everything is manufactured in-house,” Perry said. “I’m very proud that we don’t sub anything out. We do all the machining, welding, fabrication and sheet metal. We punch all the blanks for our machinery using two computer-controlled punches that can handle sheets up to 6mm thick. We’ve thought about investing in a laser cutter, but for the type of work we do – with lots of secondary operations like dimpling, countersinking, thread forming – it all happens in the punch before the metal blank drops out.”

Who are your customers?
“We have equipment in around twenty countries,” Perry said, “with a mix of working with dealers and direct customers. Obviously, the UK market is important to us. We don’t export anything to the EU, but we export to countries such as Russia and Ukraine, where you have to do all the difficult paperwork. Exports are very important to us, and at the moment we are focused on sub-Saharan Africa because the DIT (Department of Industry and Trade) is doing a big push there. I give the DIT a lot of credit. They’re doing a great job for British manufacturers, especially if you are interested in the countries they’re targeting, like the Ukraine. We attended a big exposition there just a few weeks ago.”


Read the full article, HERE.

Visit the Perry of Oakley Ltd website, HERE.
 

The Global Miller
This blog is maintained by The Global Miller staff and is supported by the magazine Milling and Grain
which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.


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