2008 is set to be a vintage year for Dennis. The leading British grounds maintenance equipment company has ambitious expansion plans which will take its renowned mower and renovation machinery range to the market leading position.
A proposed extension to the factory at Kirk Langley, Derbyshire will allow Dennis to take advantage of the latest computer aided design technology, while a new design engineer has been recruited to help expand the product range with a host of leading edge developments.
Managing director Ian Howard takes up the story: “We have some major changes ahead of us which will build on our reputation for quality, innovation and operator-focused design. A complete overhaul of our design, manufacturing and assembly process is in the pipeline so that we can offer our customers the best products and service possible,” he explains.
One improvement already gaining the seal of approval is a new state of the art bar-coding system for stock control, which will streamline the manufacturing process and ensure that orders can be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The new equipment has joined new computer controlled Haas CNC lathes and milling machines added as part of a six-figure investment in component manufacturing last year.
Dennis has made a name for itself not just from the superb quality of finish afforded by its mowing and maintenance equipment, but also by virtue of advanced designs which tackle the increasingly important issue of operator exposure to noise and vibration.
In 2007, new design features were added to the FT mower range to further reduce noise and vibration levels, including the use of a low vibration Honda petrol engine as standard. Handlebar and transmission design has also been optimised to significantly reduce hand-arm vibration.
The in-house laboratory at Dennis’s factory will be kept busy researching new methods of minimising noise and vibration across the range this year.
“We have an ongoing commitment to reducing noise and vibration levels, and this forms a central strand of our design strategy. Safe and comfortable operation also boosts productivity, and will allow operators to get the very best out of our equipment,” says Ian Howard.
Dennis mower production began in 1922 and quickly became an icon in the mowing world with customers including the Royal Household. Acquisition by Ian Howard’s family firm, Howardson Ltd, in 1981 marked the beginning of the company’s current purple patch, with a number of market leading products purchased into the range and subsequently upgraded and improved.
Dennis now has a turnover in excess of £2m, and is looking forward to a programme of expansion that should take it to the forefront of the industry.
“This is a very exciting time for us,” says Ian Howard. “Our plans should see us in a position to help our customers get more out of their turf, and our dealers to provide an improved choice of grass maintenance products with the best parts and technical back-up.”