Raising the bar

‘Safety through mechanical excellence’ – this motto guides Bartech Marine, encapsulating the combination of technical innovation, engineering finesse and dedication to safety that has seen the company grow from a garage space at the end of the 1980s to the large, multi-functional workshop it resides in today.

Utilising his apprenticeship and engine development career at Paxman Diesels, together with diesel service engineering experiences at other companies, Gerald Barnett – better known as Barney – set up Bartech Marine with his wife Jane, combining his engineering knowledge with her administrative and legal background to provide the maritime industry with a company reactive to customer expectations. When first established in 1987, Bartech Marine started working with companies such as Shell, BP, Lockheed and Paxman Diesel’s by manufacturing and supplying parts for Paxman engines, but Bartech Marine’s precision and quality soon saw its business portfolio with other companies grow. Eventually the company moved from Barney’s garage to larger premises, then moved again during 2003 into the 4000 square foot workshop and office complex it is in today.

“In terms of products, we really try to react to the requests of clients,” explains Commercial Director Paul Bleck. “Through building up good relationships with customers, they would ask us to be involved with other engineering projects so we procured our own equipment to provide overhaul and service exchange for governors. In addition to the governor work Bartech Marine also received several enquiries from new and existing clients regarding sheathed fuel pipes for compliance with SOLAS regulations. These enquires required us to develop a complete process from design, manufacture through to installation as well as alarm systems. Turbochargers are another important sector of our business, which includes the supply of complete assemblies, repair and reconditioning of units, supplying spare parts.”

Shaping itself to client demand is not easy, though, and Paul expands on the challenges: “Our facilities consist of a machine shop, dedicated governor bay, a standards room as well as the main workshop areas. In these we have a full range of CNC machines including pipe benders, lathes and mills which are used alongside integrated CNC/CAD software so that we are able to do everything in-house from design and drawings to fabrication and manufacture. There is also a real demand for us to provide solutions to equipment up to 30 or even 40 years old, engines the OEM may not support any longer but still have client demand for new components. We’re looking at re-engineering to provide these solutions, all part of our ‘safety through mechanical excellence’ vision.”

This vision, driven for over 20 years by Barney’s desire for best in class, appears in Bartech Marine’s every detail. “Cleanliness is a big thing for me,” highlights Barney. “We work hard to maintain cleanliness in the workshop at all times and aim towards a hygienic engineering environment. This workshop environment gives both engineers and clients a confidence that the risk of ingress is non-existent when assembling of components and engines; we are all too aware of the results caused by ingress of foreign material in an assembly, especially to the end user.

“Something else we do is check and double-check our processes. For example what we’ve always done is, when installing critical bolts, we mark each item when they are torqued to the required setting. Recently, our engineers have extended this process to more or less all other bolts as well, critical or otherwise. This sort of thinking is not necessarily part of the culture at other engineering companies.”

To really emphasise the differences of partnering with Bartech Marine, the company supports its services with a 12-month warranty on all work, whilst another initiative is enabling client access to complete job pack documentation through its website. This electronic access has received particularly warm welcomes because crucial information is no longer lost and can be viewed by everybody involved – office staff, vessel crew, ship operators and yard workers – at any time. The upshot is a more reliable, efficient and customer-friendly service.

It’s no surprise, then, that business for Bartech Marine has been vibrant in recent times. As one of the most recognisable names in British diesel engines, business during the recession picked up as clients sought to renew and refurbish their diesel engines and ancillary equipment. This, combined with its component supply business for unsupported units, has ensured the company some exciting partnerships to look forward to. In fact, business has been so good that Bartech Marine is now looking to move once again into larger premises. “We’re almost bursting at the seams where we are right now,” says Paul, “so we’re looking at a new location with an area of 17,000 square feet. It’s a significant increase that will give us more room for improvement because when you’ve limited space safety and logistics becomes a lot more complex. It will also, of course, allow us to increase our workload and the amount of workshop equipment and machinery.”

Bartech Marine’s future prospects are as bright as ever, new premises affording the opportunity to expand the company further than ever. Already it is looking at re-organising its international business by opening offices in key regions to facilitate a more personalised response, and with activity rapidly increasing for the UK’s Round 3 windfarm plans it sees in this sector a glut of opportunities over the coming years.

Barney concludes with a confident statement of Bartech marine’s capabilities: “Our ethos is to be as good as it gets in both the mechanics of what we do along with the planning, reporting and client support. Very often companies tend to ignore the importance of looking after the client but I believe in looking to the long term and building a partnership that works for everyone involved. This is our focus and what places Bartech Marine above the competition.”

Soon moving to new and larger building
Dedicated team of engineers and office staff
Brilliant reputation for products and services