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A 50-year legacy - responding to changing needs

2017 marks a major milestone for Acetarc Welding & Engineering Co Ltd as the company officially celebrates its 50th year in business. Originally started by brothers, Ken Harker and Peter Burrell, Acetarc continues to be a family owned and run enterprise with the second generation, Steven and Chris Harker and Anthony Burrell, running the business on a daily basis. Both founders are still actively involved with the running of the company.

A question often asked is: “where does the name come from?” The name Acetarc derives from oxy-acetylene and arc welding. The name was chosen because Acetarc was one of the first small engineering companies in the Keighley area in the UK to use both of these welding processes, with most other companies just using the oxy-acetylene welding process.

The full company name, usually shortened to Acetarc Engineering Co Ltd, reflects the fact that in 1967 it was also one of the first engineering companies in the Keighley area to offer both machining and welding services combined within a single company. From the start, those running the company were never afraid to try something new, an ethos that has continued throughout the fifty years. Over time, the company has always looked to make use of the latest manufacturing processes to improve the quality of its products and reduce manufacturing times.

The Workhorse logo represents the company’s Yorkshire heritage and symbolises the design ethos for its foundry equipment; solid, heavy-duty and dependable under heavy prolonged use. It’s a logo that can be seen in many foundries around the world.

Although beginning as a general engineering and fabrication company, in 1969 the opportunity arose to purchase the designs and manufacturing rights to the foundry ladles designed and manufactured by another local company, H Beck & Son. These ladle designs became the foundation for the Acetarc Engineering range of foundry ladles that are manufactured today. From that point onwards the company began to specialise in the design and manufacture of molten metal pouring and handling equipment. The rest, as they say, is history.

Constant design development

While they can proudly claim that their foundry ladles have a heritage that stretches back, via H Beck & Son, to the early 1950s, Acetarc Engineering has always developed and improved its designs. Responding to the changing needs of the foundry industry has led to significant incremental improvements to the basic ladle design.

The company can offer many standard options such as motor drive gearboxes, powered bottom pour systems and ladle shells specifically designed for ease of refractory lining removal. The company is equally able to supply a 250kg capacity foundry ladle to a small foundry in Birmingham, as it is to supply a pair of 65t capacity ladles to a US Naval foundry.

Most of the company’s ladles are tailor-made to suit each foundry’s specific needs. Acetarc Engineering has never subscribed to the ‘off-the shelf’ solution, but instead has always listened and responded to what each foundry asks for.

Over the years the range of equipment has expanded to match the changing needs of the foundry industry. For example, the range of ladle pre-heaters plays an important part in a foundry getting the maximum life out of modern castable refractory linings, whilst at the same time reducing gas and compressed air costs.

The company has brought its expertise to many molten metal handing projects, working alongside companies such as Inductotherm and DISA, not only in the UK but also for foundry projects around the world.

The design office uses the latest version of AutoCAD Inventor 3D, which enables the company to send accurate drawings of equipment at the quotation stage so a customer can see a true representation of what is being offered. The days of a customer getting a generic drawing with a few filled in overall dimensions are long gone!

A global player

Acetarc Engineering has always understood the need to export; from the company’s start those involved have worked to open up overseas markets. The ability to exchange data is an integral part of the company’s success in securing orders around the world.

Initially concentrating on Europe and Scandinavia, for many years the company has also supplied equipment to foundries in the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and India. This has been greatly aided by taking full advantage of changing communications technology and having an Internet presence.

Developing new markets have, over time, lead to a steady need to expand production and administration facilities. In 2016, the company purchased several buildings adjacent to its factory that are currently undergoing major refurbishment. Once they are completed later in the year, the company will effectively double its existing production area.

This expanded factory space will serve Acetarc Engineering well for the future whilst cementing its position as a leading specialist company in the design and manufacturing of foundry ladles and associated equipment.

For more information regarding Acetarc Engineering and its range of foundry ladles plus associated equipment contact: Acetarc Engineering Co Ltd, Atley Works, Dalton Lane, Keighley West Yorkshire BD21 4HT, UK, Tel: +44 (0) 1535 607323 or visit