65 Year Milestone Hails Growth for Otley Engineering Firm

The Managing Director of a family-owned precision engineering firm based in Otley has used the milestone of the company’s 65th anniversary to pledge to continue to invest in technology and people in West Yorkshire.

Robert Johnson, Managing Director of Craftsman Tools Ltd, has said that continuing investment, together with recent news that UK manufacturing output is at its highest for 10 years, means that the future of the company is looking bright as it looks to expand its worldwide customer base for toolholding, workholding and sub-contract machining.

Robert Johnson, Managing Director of Craftsman Tools Ltd

Founded in 1953 as a tool and cutter grinding company, Craftsman Tools has grown to become one of the country’s leading manufacturers of workholding and toolholding products, servicing a broad spectrum of the engineering industry. The company exports over 60% of its Yorkshire-made products all over the world, including to strong new markets like Russia, China, and Brazil. In 1999 the company opened Chevin Tools, a sister office in Chicago, USA.

As an SME, one of the keys to success has been the establishment of partnerships with major global companies, from producing a wide range of toolholders for Yamazaki Mazak, collet chucks for Fives Landis, and complex parts for oil giant Cameron. In 1998 Sandvik Coromant, one of the world’s largest suppliers of cutting tools and related services, awarded Craftsman Tools a license to manufacture and export Coromant Capto® toolholders.

Craftsman Tools also benefits from having an in-house design department, who design all standard products, but also work closely with a large network of customers to design products to suit their applications and requirements.

Craftsman Tools has continued to invest locally in knowledge and training, opening its Apprentice School in 2013, which won the Manufacturing Technology Association’s “Best Training Scheme” Award just one year later, for training undertaken in partnership with the University of Sheffield AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre) and Boeing.

In order to continue fulfilling the increasing orders while targeting continued improvement; the company has just been awarded a grant worth £50,000 from Leeds City Council’s Business Growth Programme. The grant will go towards the purchase of a new machine and taking on five new members of staff.

Speaking of the milestone, Managing Director Robert Johnson said:
“For the past 65 years, Craftsman Tools has owed its success to the skills, dedication and loyalty of its workforce. With our continuing investment in technology and local people, the short and long-term future of the company looks very bright indeed.”