Ireland’s Plumbing & Heating Magazine editor, Adam Hassin, takes a behind-the- scenes tour of Rettig Ireland’s Newcastle West manufacturing plant.
Reliability, precision, attention to detail, innovation – all apt descriptions of Rettig’s complete range of ‘Made in Ireland’ heating solution products that can be as easily applied to the manufacturing process at the company’s impressive Co Limerick facility.
The recent behind-the-scenes tour granted to Ireland’s Plumbing & Heating Magazine at what is Ireland’s last heating control manufacturer found a team of people who are as proud of their Irish roots as they are of the part they play on an international stage for this family- owned company.
That pride is also evident at every stage of the manufacturing process, with a focus on continuous improvement visually on display at every turn. Given the fact that the average years of service is 25 years that commitment to continual improvement is impressive. What is also striking is the family ethos at every level of the company. From those working in the offices to the various teams working on the machinery, there is a collectiveness that permeates the team at the Newcastle West factory. And it is from this solid foundation that world-leading products are manufactured at a rate of three million a year.
“Precision engineering combined with the experience of our people is the secret to our success,” explained Colman Duffy, Plant Manager. “We have cutting- edge technology that produces world-class products right here in Ireland, but our most valuable asset is our people. “The factory has been part of the local community for nearly 50 years and, at our most recent long-service presentation, the shortest award was for 15 years while the longest was for 49. That level of expertise and dedication to the company is exceptional, and with it comes a desire for our products to be the best in the world.”
Myson products manufactured at the plant by Rettig Ireland’s skilled workforce include manual valves (Matchmate, Matchmaster, Full ow, Autobypass) and thermostatic valves (TRV2, Petite). The factory also produces MPE motorised valves along with an extensive range of electronic controls including MEP, MPRT, MCT, MRT and MRTE.
“With our strong brand name, people can easily forget that our products are manufactured here in Ireland,” said Colman. “We have complete control of the quality and aren’t relying on component parts being brought together from across the world and then put together. “This is high level manufacturing that must meet the exacting standards that our customers expect. That is where all our focus is.”
Several processes take place on the factory floor at Rettig Ireland every day including hot brass forging, machining of brass nickel and chrome plating, auto assembly, manual assembly, toolmaking, prototypes, and engineering and product design.
“We’re always looking ahead and that is why the input from different parts of the company is important. We love to hear feedback on our products – both good and bad. You can always improve and we are constantly looking for the latest development or the latest product innovation.”
This forward-thinking attitude is part of a positive mindset at the Rettig factory. While there is a place for everything and everything has its place (all clearly marked), continuous improvement is a constant mantra throughout the facility. “We encourage everyone to have their say and make suggestions on ways we can improve,” added Colman. “We have the hard and cold analytics showing us the facts and figures, but you have to look beyond the spreadsheet. That is where our team come into play and even if it is a simple change in our processes, we want to know.”
This collective approach is indicative of Rettig’s position as the UK and Ireland’s total heating solutions and it will clearly help Myson continue in its market- leading position.