Teepee harnesses electrification dreams for fire and rescue appliance specialist

07th Apr

Teepee Electrical has signed an extension with one of the UK’s leading emergency appliance manufacturers that will see it support a concerted roll-out of its new electric vehicles.

The Black Country-based company will supply complex harnesses and wiring looms to Emergency One’s latest electric fire engines, which are increasingly destined for use across the UK and the rest of the world.

It marks what has become a 15-year strategic partnership for both firms and a relationship that has developed from a few harness sets per month to providing 18 different configured sets for six different vehicles every month.

The move to electrification has involved the development of a different type of harness, with alternative specifications of cables and connectors catering for high and lower voltage circuits, integrating with on-vehicle systems and full harness sets.

This was a challenge that Teepee relished. Systems and processes have been developed so the firm can use Emergency One’s design software outputs and import them into harness and manufacturing software.

Dedicated production cells and comprehensive testing facilities have subsequently been set-up to ensure the necessary capacity required by the Scottish manufacturer is in place.

“Emergency One has grown massively in the 15 years we have been supplying it and expect production to be more than 250 fire fighting vehicles this year,” said Steve Clarke, managing director of Teepee Electrical.

“Electrification isn’t purely for passenger cars; all sectors are looking at cleaner engines and more sustainable means of transport. It became the first in the world to develop an all-electric model in 2020 and continue to be ahead of its rivals in terms of delivering a vehicle that offers similar if not better performance and range than its traditional counterparts.

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“We have been with them from the start of this journey and our agility and desire to be involved in the early-stage development work has paid dividends with the harness architecture proving ideal for what the Emergency One engineers were looking to achieve.

“This new deal extends the partnership and will see us continue to supply traditional sets for the Volvo, MAN and Eurocargo chassis, as well as building in new capacity so we can meet the expected demand for electric fire engines going forward.”

Emergency One, which was established in 1989 in the Scottish town of Cumnock, is emerging from the shackles of the pandemic with a growing order book for its fire and rescue service appliances.

Two production facilities spread over an eight-acre campus are home to 240 staff, with the firm expecting sales to hit £40m for the first time by the end of this financial year. This will be boosted by a growing export market that includes clients in Malta, New Zealand and the US.

Ali Bell, director at Emergency One, added his support: “Harnesses are a critical part of the build and often the first piece of architecture we add to the chassis. Traditionally, trying to find a supplier with this expertise was challenging, that was until we were introduced to Teepee in 2007.

“Steve and his team got to know our business and what was required and there was an immediate eagerness to deliver solutions, often in a matter of weeks which is pretty much unheard of in our sector.

“The partnership has continued to get stronger, and we now see Teepee as a Category 1 supplier to our business, meaning they are critical to our current and future production schedules.”

Teepee Electrical, which also supports clients in the automotive, rail and electrification sectors, is looking to grow 20% in 2022, taking turnover past the £3m mark as more customers tap into its ability to supply low, medium and high volumes.

Following the purchase of £100,000 of automatic crimp presses, ancillary tooling and a cable cutting and process machine, the Bloxwich-based company has started supplying volume cable assemblies to a second tier UK automotive supplier with plans in place to be involved in new vehicle platforms by Spring 2022.

This complements recent wins with a major rail customer for an ongoing fleet upgrade project and the development of a wiring harness for a niche EV client.

BusinessWorks Wocestershire & Black Country spring 2022 | BusinessWorks Magazine

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