The success and growth of Chester Machine Tools is attributed to customer satisfaction. Since the company first started over 20 years ago, we hav promoted an ethos that puts the customer first. We pride ourselves on quality service, from sales all the way through to support. We are certain that with our unparalleled expertise in the machine tool industry, we can help you find the perfect machine. We understand the importance of after sales support. If something happens to your machine our trained team of support engineers are always on hand to help.
With no appointment necessary, you are welcome to come and view our large range of hobby machine tools, tooling and accessories at our showroom here at the Head Office in Hawarden. We are open Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm and one of our sales team will gladly help and answer any questions you may have.
If you are unable to make it to our Model Engineer Showroom in Hawarden, you will always find us at Model Engineer Shows such as the London Model Engineer Exhibition at Alexandra Palace and the Midlands Model Engineer Exhibition at the Harrogate Exhibition Centre, which takes place on a yearly basis.
Chester UK opened their doors to the general public for a special week in J
une this year. The firm are located on Hawarden Industrial Park, just inside the Welsh border about six miles west of Chester in a neat unit, surrounded by the kinds of businesses that, should you listen to the sceptics, just don’t exist any more; scores of small firms manufacturing all kinds of things from aircraft components to fastenings; just the kind of company that are Chester’s ‘bread and butter’ customer. The neighbouring Hawarden Business Park is fully occupied with plans for expansion. This part of the North West is certainly standing its ground, if not flourishing. At the heart of this zone is, of course, Airbus and it is estimated that this company is keeping about ten thousand people in gainful employment.
On arriving at Chester Machine Tools I was
greeted by Chester’s Company Secretary Chris O’Hare who took a good hour out of his day to chat about the business, its origins and where it stands today. Chris had a varied career, which included some time in the motor trade before, together with his brother, Michael, establishing Chester Machine Tools in 1992. They originally set up in smaller premises in Waverton, nearer to Chester but moved out to Hawarden in 2000 in order to benefit from the bigger space the business then required. These premises include the firm’s head office and also a showroom where potential customers may drop in any time between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm and be attended by an experienced sales engineer who will be happy to talk through their machine and tooling requirements. The June Open Week, however, was an opportunity for customers to take advantage of some very special offers, especially on machine tools.
Early in 2007 they opened an office and show room in Burntwood, Cannock that, thanks to its geographical location, serves a huge customer base. This office is open to browsers Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Although it tends to display bigger machinery for the more industrial end of the market, there is also a complete range of the smaller machines on display and the engineers and sales staff are always happy to chat with customers from the ‘home workshop’ community. The manager at Cannock is Anthony Edwards, known to many readers, and he would be your contact should you wish to pay them a visit or require any guidance or advice.
The company’s third office is located in China where Michael O’Hare is happily resident; he speaks fluent Mandarin and has very much made that country his home.
Michael’s presence there is vital to this company’s success in terms of quality assurance; being ‘on the ground’ so to speak, he keeps a close eye not only on the industry in general but on production at the firms own fully CNC equipped factory in Xiamen in Fujan Province. The company employs about 30 personnel and makes a variety of components and accessories including the machine stands and cabinets.
Many readers will be familiar with Chester’s stand at the Model Engineer and other exhibitions; indeed many will have chatted with the team - Gareth (who is no longer with the company having left the industry to return to college), Tony Durkin and Paul Pritchard. These two, together with Anthony at Cannock, would be the first point of contact should you have an enquiry or require advice or assistance. The company has also been helped very much over the years by John Harrison, a highly skilled engineer and tool maker who presently works three days a week, and in the past Alec Price, a very accomplished craftsman clock maker who has spent many an hour demonstrating machines at exhibitions.
Also based at the Chester office is a team of advisory staff for the education sector; they have been supplying schools, colleges and Government training establishments for many years and between them have a wealth of experience in this field.
Spares and quality checks
Every single machine that arrives at Chester’s headquarters, regardless of its country of origin, is unpacked and thoroughly checked over by their own engineers before being dispatched to the customer. Chris emphasises that it is simply not worthwhile cutting corners at this stage; after all, their reputation is built upon this level of service and quality control is a big part of the service offered by Chesters. Another is the assurance that spare parts will either be available off the shelf or to order. Thanks to a programme of some standardisation the Chester premises are able to carry a large stock of spares, which will more than likely cover your requirements. In the event that the part you require is not available it will be imported for you without delay.
The customer has the option of having the machine commissioned upon delivery and there is also training available on some of the more specialised machines. Whether or not this service is taken up, all machines are supplied with a full parts list and instruction manual.
Tooling and accessories
The importance to customers of being able to enhance the basic machine with accessories and additional tooling was realised at the very beginning of this business and Chester supply a comprehensive range of tooling for all their machines, allowing the user to maximise the potential of the machine. Hand tools, cutting tools, work and tool holding etc. are all included in the range. Indeed, the machine tools themselves are not confined to lathes and milling machines; the range includes shaping, bending and rolling, sawing, drilling and boring machines. The company also now incorporates Brierley Grinders, a market leading name in the field of specialist tool and cutter grinding which will be perpetuated by Chester. Within the last three months they have also incorporated another well known name, Kitchen & Walker, synonymous with drilling and drills of all kinds, and will continue to supply these.
Something you need?
Chester UK is a successful business and this success is based on quality service and providing what the customer requires and, indeed, demands. They are a very approachable team and acknowledge the importance that the model engineering sector has been to their own success, forming, as it does, a significant proportion of their business. Now the autumn days are here and it’s time to get busy in the workshop, why not give them a call or even pay them a visit when you are next thinking about an accessory, piece of tooling or, indeed, a more significant Christmas present? In fact - why leave it until Christmas… !