Spiral welding specialists Atlantic Engineering profile



Atlantic Engineering Ltd (AEL) commenced business in 1993 after a management buyout from Ocean Fleets Ltd (OFL)
which was part of the Ocean Transport & Trading Group of Companies at that time.

Originally the facilities which are now Atlantic Engineering Ltd were the engineering services provider for
the repair and maintenance of the ships owned by the companies which made up the Ocean Steamship Company (OSSC).
These companies were Blue Funnel (Alfred Holt & Company) NSMO (Dutch Silver Line)
Glen Line and Elder Dempster Lines. The OSSC was founded by Mr Alfred Holt in circa 1890 who was
instrumental in the early design of his ships to be specifically designed and modified to suit the specific trade requirements.
In the latter years with changing trade patterns OSSC sought trading partners in such consortiums as OCL and Barber Blue Sea which operated container ships plus Ro-Ro's from the UK to the Far East and between the Far East and the West Coast of USA.

In many cases OSSC designed their own ships and supervised their building.
As the ships became more technically complex the OSSC decided to increase their technical staff and set up cadetships
for deck and engineering officers to man their ships this latter was extended to deckhand staff as the fleet of ships expanded.

In order to give engineering cadets greater experience the Odyssey Works site was extended in the early 1950s.
The previous meager fleet support services were upgraded to establish an engineering workshop with facilities capable of
maintaining the onboard equipment of their modern fleet of ships without being totally reliant on local shipyards/ engineering support companies.

As the fleet increased and the cargoes became more varied there became a need for a chemist to advise the company's officers about some of the more difficult and dangerous cargoes. This facility was then enlarged in the early 1950s when the company engaged a metallurgist to advise on ship building materials and also on failures of all manner of ships equipment
from corrosion to fatigue.

The chemical and metallurgical facilities had for a long period been offering their services outside to other ship owners and local industrial companies with regard to failure investigation and support in weld procedure qualification. The chief metallurgist (John Deegan) became world renowned as an expert witness with regard to failures in ships structures and engineered components. One of his latter cases being as an expert witness for the families of the bulk carrier MV Derbyshire which sank in the China Seas with the loss of all hands.

In the early 1980s the company made the decision to extract themselves from the liner shipping trade
and therefore the engineering facilities would no longer be required. Shortly before this decision was taken OFL had made an investment to operate an automatic fusion welding process
(commonly referred to now as spiral welding) for the repair of rotating machinery within the
engineering workshops at the Odyssey Works site.

With the closure of the Odyssey Works Site, the Philip Holt Trust announced that any employees who had a business idea
may be eligible for support via the trust to fund its start up. It was at this time that two soon to be made redundant engineers submitted to the board of OFL a business proposal to set up a small private engineering company utilising the recently purchased automatic fusion welding equipment to continue to provide a facility for the repair of rotating machinery.

The OFL board saw a glimmer of hope in this enterprise and decided to fund a small operation
to see how things would develop. During the early days business was challenging, as convincing people to have weld repairs carried out on rotating machinery was extremely difficult.
Early methods adopting metal spraying techniques of components had in some cases been disastrous.

In 1988 OFL decided to relocate their naval architects and engineering technical consultancy departments from
India Buildings Liverpool to the Odyssey Centre as it was now called.

This fusion of the Technical Consultancy, Metallurgical Laboratories and Engineering facilities Ltd,
prompted OFL to invest in specialist welding equipment to support APPH Precision Hydraulics,
in the manufacture of hydraulic undercarriage components for the new passenger airliner MD11 being produced by
the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation Longbeach California as the replacement for the aging DC10 Aircraft.
In 1993 OFL decided that Technical Consultancy, Metallurgical Consultancy and Engineering services were not
core businesses and therefore wanted to dispose of these facilities. As there was collaboration between
the metallurgical consultancy department and engineering facilities, these two parts of the business where amalgamated
and the two senior principals where asked to consider a management buy out, which they did and thus
Atlantic Engineering Ltd was founded.

AEL continue to support our many customers locally and world wide in the supply of our on board fuel oil
and lubrication oil test kits (FUELAB), repair and manufacture of marine components not only to local shipyard
and ship owners but also to the provision of technical support all over the world on a case by case basis.
We also provide metallurgical consultancy services both in the UK and overseas including expert witness.

The aerospace part of the business suffered a down turn due to the closure of the MD11 production line
when the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation was amalgamated into the Boeing Aircraft Corporation. However, the need for spares for both DC10 and MD11 aircraft came on line due to the depletion of the original build spares. This together with support from APPH on other new and existing aircraft parts has enabled AEL to invest in latest CNC machining centres to provide a greater range of machining capabilities.

In late 2012 the aerospace business dried up due to the cancellation of contracts between Boeing and the BBA Group of which APPH was part of, this together with a downturn in general engineering created a situation that Atlantic Engineering could not sustain.
The Directors sought to find a buyer for the business one or other of the major users, unfortunately time was short and no sale could be agreed.
The company was therefore put into administration in order to complete the work in progress and pay off all the outstanding debts.
During the course of the sale most of the main equipment was purchased by Cammell Lairds Group to continue to supply the repair, refurbishment and manufacturing facilities previously provided by AEL, and so Atlantic Engineering and Laboratories was created as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cammell Lairds Group PLC

AEL continue to seek new markets and customers to offer them quality and innovative engineering services to meet their changing requirements.



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