Econ Engineering

Econ Engineering Limited is the UK's largest manufacturer of winter and road maintenance vehicle bodies, founded as a supplier of agricultural equipment under the name of Agriquipment Ltd on 9 December 1959 by W. George Lupton in Otley, West Yorkshire.[1] As of December 2021, they produce more than 85 percent of the UK's winter service vehicles, leasing them to councils and highway authorities.[2]

Econ Engineering
TypeLimited company
IndustryCommercial vehicle body builders
Founded1959, Otley, West Yorkshire
HeadquartersRipon, North Yorkshire, UK
ProductsSalt spreaders, Road Menders, Tippers, Unibodies, Hotboxes
Number of employees
200+
Websitewww.econ.uk.com

The first Econ prototype salt spreader was finished in 1970 and the machines were launched at the 1972 IWM exhibition in Torquay.[3] The name Econ comes from a Bradford-based company who manufactured industrial heating units called “Econoheat” bought by WG Lupton to balance production whilst developing the salt spreaders.

Econ Engineering manufacture all of their machinery at a custom-built site on the outskirts of Ripon, North Yorkshire, constructed in 1980.[4] In January 2022, Econ reported a turnover of over £40m, boosted by continued investment in the business including satellite facilities in Alloa, Scotland and Cardiff, Wales.[5] This was followed by the opening of a new service site in Sowerby, Thirsk in April 2022. Equipped with 24 service bays, the site cost £7m, with Highways Magazine calling it 'a tour de force of productive investment'.[6] Sustainability was a priority at the site, which has 114 solar panels, LED motion-sensored lighting and a water recycling system.[7]

HistoryEdit

  • 1959: Agriquipment Ltd was founded by WG Lupton on 9 December in Otley, West Yorkshire.
  • 1961: Patent granted for the world's first flail mower designed by WG Lupton.
  • 1965: Agriquipment Ltd was sold to the Oliver Rix Group and production was moved to AC Bamlett in Thirsk.
  • 1966: The Lupat Flail Mower goes into production at AC Bamlett and continues until 1969.
  • 1969: WG Lupton parts ways with the Oliver Rix Group to found Econ Engineering Ltd based at an old vaux brewery site in Ripon. The Lupat Flail Mower was re-purchased from Oliver Rix and production moved to Econ in Ripon.
  • 1970: The first Econ prototype salt spreader was built.
  • 1972: The salt spreaders are launched at the IWM exhibition in Torquay.
  • 1975: Econ introduce road speed related spreading to discharge salt at the same rate irrespective of travelling speed.
  • 1979: Planning was secured for a new purpose-built factory on the outskirts of Ripon.
  • 1981: Econ bought Atkin's of Clitheroe (then the largest UK spreader manufacturer) from the Cammell Laird Group.[1]
  • 1984–1986: The acquisition and merger of Spencer's of Market Harborough and Acklift of Southwell saw the creation of a street lighting division, the addition of Taskers of Andover, Taylors of Consett, Lister Farm Machinery and L&K Sprayers create a burgeoning agricultural division.
  • Late 1980s: The agricultural and powered access divisions are dismantled and sold off following the 1980s boom and bust.
  • 1991: The Hot Box highway maintenance equipment is released.
  • 1993: Econ QCB system is developed and launched.
  • 1994: Unibody multipurpose body and salt spreader is released. Econ leaves the agricultural market completely and continues in the highway and winter maintenance sector.
  • 1995: Pre Wet spreader is released.
  • 1996: The Low Throw spreader is released for urban spreading.
  • 2003: The Econ factory site was expanded to include a large refurbishment centre at the north of the site.
  • 2004: Econ installs the most advanced paint facility in England to increase anti-corrosion performance.[8] SPARGO control system goes into production allowing remote salt-spreading adjustment on the move.
  • 2005: The acquisition of MHS's hire fleet doubles the size of the Econ fleet to 160 units.
  • 2008: SPARGO IS goes into development, an electronics GPS control unit that allows sat nav style route directions and preplanned automatically varying salt spreading patterns.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Independent 13 November 1996 The Independent - True Grit Article
  2. ^ Gritter driver shortages tackled with advanced tech – 'pride in British engineering Express. 4 December 2021.
  3. ^ "Econ shows true grit this winter". Yorkshire Post. 22 October 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Yorkshire Manufacturer Recognises Talent During National Apprenticeship Week" Yorkshire Post. 9 February 2022.
  5. ^ "TURNOVER TOPS £40M AT GRITTER MANUFACTURER" Insider Media. 10 January 2022.
  6. ^ Econ on the move in Sowerby Highways Magazine. 6 May 2022
  7. ^ Econ Engineering installs 114 solar panels to roof of new £7m building Yorkshire Post. 5 January 2022
  8. ^ "Econ's investment to maintain high quality". Harrogate Advertiser. 10 December 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2019 – via Newsbank.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Econ Engineering Ltd at Wikimedia Commons