A simple product needn’t mean a simple operation as one incredibly high-tech manufacturer is proving.
Few manufacturers in the UK can boast of 80pc export rates to international clients in every sector, from global pharmaceuticals to supercars and aerospace.
You’d be surprised then, to discover that such a high-tech business is in fact an apparently simple one: hoses.
Aflex Hose operates out of Yorkshire, drawing on a rich heritage of textiles and machining, but continuing to innovate in space-age materials. The company’s flexible hose products are many and varied, but all lined with PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene).
The hoses are highly engineered, servicing a variety of industries including pharmaceutical, biotech, food and beverage, chemical and automotive to name a few and solving technical problems in the most demanding fluid path applications.
“Our product is fundamental,” says Aflex managing director, Jeremy Hudson. “In many instances, a hose is what stands between a machine working or not. And so, we develop, manufacture and assemble the widest, most technically advanced range of PTFE-lined flexible hose products in the world.”
PTFE is familiar to anyone with a frying pan, of course. Smooth, non-stick, with huge temperature-range capabilities, extremely heat resistant, scratch-proof and impermeable, it is a perfect material to line the inside of high-performance hoses. Despite many of its manufacturers believing such an application was impossible, Aflex designed its own machines to do just that.
Mr Hudson says that the company continues to innovate and explains that, whether a hose needs to be resistant to corrosion, work at a high temperature, or be hygienic.
“We have to find a product that meets the need. Sometimes that product already exists and sometimes we have to go back to the drawing board and create something.”