Offering a greater field of solutions

For Fred Heaton, what started out as a hobby in 1999 quickly grew into a thriving business specialising in hydraulic bolt tensioners. Now Boltight has been acquired by the Nord-Lock Group, in a move that is set to strengthen both companies.

FACTS: Fred Heaton
Role: Founder and Managing Director of Boltight.

Background: Started his career with GKN Bolt & Nuts at the age of 15. After ten years with GKN, he founded Hydratight Ltd in 1975, which he sold to T&N in 1979. He remained Managing Director of Hydratight for 17 years before becoming New Business Director for the T&N General Products Group. After T&N was acquired by the automotive company Federal Mogul he left and started his own management consultancy company, which would later become Boltight.

For Fred Heaton, what started out as a hobby in 1999 quickly grew into a thriving business specialising in hydraulic bolt tensioners. Now Boltight has been acquired by the Nord-Lock Group, in a move that is set to strengthen both companies.

What does Boltight do?
“As the name suggests, we provide tools for tightening bolts. Bolted joints do not always receive sufficient attention at the design phase, which can lead to tightening problems later, and we are here to provide a solution.

“Most of our customers are in the oil and gas, offshore, power generation and heavy engineering industries. Around 50 per cent of the time, we can provide a solution using standard tools, while the other 50 per cent will require tools designed and manufactured by us to meet the customer’s needs. We use a 3D CAD system to model the customer’s problem and our solution.”

What are Boltight’s strengths?
“We are fast to respond, quick to deliver and have many years of experience solving customers’ bolting problems. We keep every tool we’ve ever designed stored in our 3D modelling system, which we can use as references whenever we’re faced with a new problem.”

What will Boltight bring to the Nord-Lock Group?
“Being able to draw on our product range will mean the Nord-Lock Group can offer a greater field of solutions. No one tightening solution fits all applications, so it’s important to have a number of different products, other than just mechanical. Some customers will want a hydraulic solution, and Boltight has a whole range.”

What will the Nord-Lock Group bring to Boltight?
“We have good products and good engineers, but we are a small company and not particularly strong when it comes to sales and marketing. We have built up a distribution network and 95 per cent of our products are exported from the UK but we’ve only really scratched the surface of the available market. With Nord-Lock sales & marketing resources, we can reach out to new markets and applications, and we expect to see good growth. For example, we tend to sell to large one-off projects, but with the Nord-Lock network, we can now start to supply to original equipment manufacturers as well.”

Is the Nord-Lock Group a good fit for Boltight?
“Yes, Nord-Lock has a clear strategy and sees this as a long term investment. They are not just buying and selling companies – they expect long-term value and want to see Boltight grow.”

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