Basil King is a key member of our highly talented Engineering department – Engineering is very much the engine room of Flexiform, if you have a Flexiform product in your office, then at some point in its life, Basil and the Engineering team will have had their hands on it.
So, who is Basil King – Design Engineer?
Basil (as all in the Flexiform family know), is an engineer with some 20 years fabrication experience and a keen eye for detail. Basils skill with a welding torch is pure legend, so much so, Basil is our pin up welder, featuring in many factory shots on our website and in our company literature.. In addition to being a welding guru, Basil is a Golfer, Cricketer, a keen cyclist and fountain of fabrication knowledge.
“So what does the Engineering department actually do?”
“We are the generally seen as the nuts and bolts of the company, all of us here have years of industry experience – at the last count some 200 years combined departmental knowledge! My own personal background is in fabrication, I’m a fully qualified welder (as well as an Engineer) In addition to my engineering duties I’m also in charge of the BOM (Bill of materials) side of the business, creating product codes and generally ensuring the factory make the right parts for each product. – These days engineering has evolved in Flexiform, we have gone from being the dirty guys sat in their office to a “go to” department. Flexiform are known for their flexibility and quick turnaround, so our daily email boxes are full of “how can we do this”?? type questions from sales and customers alike. Every day at Flexiform is different, each day brings fresh challenges, from a tweak to an existing product to a full redesign, we can do it all”.
So you can weld, Is practical experience important? Do you actually get out into the factory?
“Experience is the most important part of being an Engineer! How we can design products without knowing how a product can be made? We have recently been creating some fantastic products, such as Ferro and Jot-Up. But once we have come up with our initial designs, then the real work begins. Can we actually make the products? Can we make them within our existing factory constraints??? Sometimes it’s easy to forget, we are a business, we need to pay the bills, so there is a need to make our products cost effective to produce and sell…. Factory wise, yes I am getting back out into the factory more and more. Ferro was a recent project that gave all the engineers an opportunity to get back out there. The early prototypes were all made by myself and my colleague Chris – that’s the advantage of coming from a practical background, we are in touch with the product from start to finish. Dictating the design and finish of a design led product such as Ferro to a third party would be impossible, the subtitles of the design would be lost in translation. Flexiform gives us an opportunity to lead from the front, we can physically realise our visions, then teach the guys on the shop floor how to make the product correctly – that way we can maintain the look, feel, finish and quality of the product.
What products are you most proud of?
I’ve not been here that long, around 6 years in total – But, Parq is something I’m really proud of. The (Parq) product is something new to Flexiform, a simple ad-hoc meeting bench system available in two heights – it’s one of those products that has some clever things going on underneath the skin, yet to the untrained eye. It just looks like a bench with a couple of square legs.
Yes it just looks like a bench, so what’s the big deal?
Parq represents something different in the market place, it’s technically something I’m really proud of and a great example of how Flexiform can take a product from a concept, through to prototype, then get right into the detail of design for manufacture. It is that last bit that really interests me. I enjoy the challenge of taking a product or project and … well …. making it better.. .. The original legs were traditionally made as you would expect from a metal work factory; 4 box tube sections welded together, which takes time and money to do. I felt we could save both time and money and make a stronger product by laser cutting them. The laser cutting process saves time on the saw & the drill. Whilst the laser also guarantees’ absolute precision of every single hole, meaning the assembly process is always going to be easy for the on site fitters. This can be seen on the latest project, Beer Hawk, the quality of the finish is spot on.
Is there anything else that you have enjoyed working on?
“Flexiform have some big name clients, so there is always something interesting to get involved in – We have recently completed an install for Greggs the bakery – I designed some really nice L shaped lockers, that interlocked like Tetris pieces, giving the customer lots of storage for their staff, within a small footprint – and they look interesting. We have a sister company “Asgard” which is mainly outdoor steel storage. A recent challenge was to adapt one of our top selling products (Vertical Bike Lockers) for a Government Tender – The task was to make a base that could sit on uneven ground, fulfilling this tender and then opening up the potential end user market. Previously in order to use our vertical bike locker the customer had to level off approx. 1000mm square area for the locker to sit on (not easy if you live on a slope) now with the Height adjustable base, the locker has up to 100mm in adjustment on each corner, whilst still offering the same look and security features of the mark one base”.
What projects are on the drawing board today?
I am currently working on an exciting Asgard product that will offer customers with small garage space, the ability to still park their cars in the garage but afford them some storage, it could prove to be very popular Asgard product in the very near future. The initial market research seems to indicate a lot of potential, though I leave all that side to our Marketing team, I do the hard work, they make it look good!