Nearly fifty years ago, a father and his son, Douglas and Richard Curtis, had a vision to set up a company to rebuild machine-tools to a "better than new" standard and build a large and comprehensive machine shop to support that dream for total quality and delivery control - could this be an early example of recycling?
The dream became a reality and in July 1973 Douglas Curtis Machine Tools (Colchester) Ltd., was formed. A specialist team was recruited, from carefully selected top craftsmen in the many large engineering companies in the area, the aim being to provide the best quality and service possible. It is an aim we hold dear to this day.
From reconditioning, rebuilding and re-engineering machine-tools DCMT began retrofitting plant to maintain production competitiveness at about 66% of the replacement cost of a new machine. A successful progression into this area gave DCMT the confidence to design and build their own sub-micron precision CNC grinders.
As their expertise and experience grew further, DCMT became the name of the place to seek solutions to problems at the boundaries of production technology, to exact customer requirements as opposed to finding the nearest fit, - special-purpose machine-tools. It was not uncommon to hear a customer say "I need a machine to do this and don't have a specification, just an idea." DCMT would work with the customer as a partner, long before the word became fashionable. Together we would develop the machine and process to a successful conclusion.
In early 1992 our adventures took us into the world of high pressure and high pressure testing. High pressure in those days was 500 bar ± 25 bar and considered state of the art, as a comparison today we hold pressures to 3000 bar ± 1 bar and leak testing was monitored by physically counting the drips emerging from a curved pipe.
Our first test machine changed all that. Test pressures were raised to 1200 bar and leakage measured by precision flow meters or by pressure rise in a closed volume for smaller flows. That first machine ran for almost 15 years on a three shift basis, seven days a week and still continues to be used on a single shift basis.
The small team working in a corner of the workshop soon needed their own facility, both for space and environmental conditions. In 1994 they moved to a modern larger building on our main site. By 1997 that facility too had been out grown, due to the demand for test machines and final assembly checking, generated by DCMT's expertise and ability to provide solutions to challenging problems.
In early 1998 the DCMT test division moved to its current premises on Colchester's premier business park with good access to all major routes. These premises being five times the size of the previous ones gave plenty of opportunity to develop a specific facility suited to all the professions required, to ensure a successful project. These are the premises from which we continue to operate today with many of the original team plus new specialist members to meet the challenges of today's miniaturised components with ever tighter tolerances.
The Assembly and Test Division continued to develop its expertise and in 2001 became a limited company: Curtis Assemble & Test.
From mainstream automotive production to providing testing solutions for the best in Formula 1, testing and measuring today's products requires a level of cleanliness previously unnecessary. To meet this demand, CAT has developed a range of in-process and clean room high pressure wash units - details of which may be seen on the following pages.