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Coiled and ready for action

16 September 2013

Leading international wire industry specialist William Hughes Ltd is enjoying increasing success in a market that has the potential to offer enormous growth opportunities.

The manufacture of special copper coils for use as part of trip fuse/circuit breaker mechanisms within domestic and commercial properties is now firmly established as part of the company’s growing portfolio of expertise.

When a current passes along the specially designed conductive copper, a magnetic force is created through the middle of the coil. In the event of a current surge or spike, the magnetic force increases so that a spring is pulled to trip the main switch.

“We already have an established customer for this product in the UK – a leading manufacturer of circuit breakers and switchgear – and we are now hoping to attract another customer, this time a European giant in power technology that is in the process of setting up a new factory near our recently established Bulgarian manufacturing facility,” says the company’s managing director Max Hughes.

According to Mr Hughes, should the company be successful then part of its production for copper coils will be transferred from its UK headquarters in Stalbridge, Dorset to Bulgaria.

At present there are already a huge number of varieties of copper coils being manufactured by William Hughes. A small change to the copper coil can affect the magnetic force produced to suit different currents, making it a very efficient mechanism as there is no need to have different designs of any other standard parts.

The copper coils are manufactured on standard Japanese-built CNC machines that have been subjected to extensive modification by William Hughes’ engineers (including the manufacture of special tooling) to suit the products. The automated machines are fed with 3mm diameter copper wire that is coated with enamel.

The coating is stripped from each end to reveal the conductive copper before coiling operations take place. Bends can then be created at either end to suit mating components before the part is trimmed to length. All operations are completed in a single set-up.

The copper coils usually require high levels of dimensional accuracy from one end to the other,” explains Mr Hughes. “This is to ensure that assembly is as efficient as possible and to make it easy to change from one product to another.”

At present the company is shipping around 50,000 copper coils a week, although at peak times of production this can extend as high as 100,000 coils a week.

“Flexibility of manufacture is one of our key differentiators,” says Mr Hughes, “along with state-of-the-art machinery and the ability to provide multi-drop deliveries in line with the requirements of our customers.”

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