One of Banbury’s most iconic family-run companies, Norbar, opened its new, high-tech premises last week with local dignitaries and product distributors from across the globe in attendance.
The new Wildmere Road facility is the fourth Banbury location in the company’s illustrious history and will allow the Norbar to increase manufacturing output and house future growth.
Started in 1943 by Bill Brodey, the company is a rare beast in today’s business climate, maintaining its epicentre in the town where it was born and headed by the grandchildren of its founder, Neill and Phillip Brodey.
Specialising in torque tools for the precision tightening of mechanical components, the company was instrumental in the engineering of World War II Rolls Royce Merlin engines after Bill Brodey gained permission to manufacture a patented torque wrench for its precision construction.
The original location of the company was on North Bar Place in Banbury where it was called The North Bar Tool Company.
It moved from this location in 1969 to Swan Close but due to its now well recognised name decided to keep its links to North Bar and simply became Norbar Torque Tools.
After WWII when demand for Merlin engines decreased the company made everyday household items such as tables and trays but as post-war Britain’s economy improved it soon reverted to its roots making tools for the aerospace industry.
The company now has locations across the world and its dedication to precision has been mirrored in the new build.
One development within the new facility is a larger calibration laboratory, which operates within strict climatic conditions.
The laboratory is approved for exacting torque measurements and is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) making Norbar the only torque equipment manufacturer to be able to offer accredited torque tool and instrument calibration services to the original factory standard across four continents .
Neill Brodey, managing director, said: “Everything that we do in the company relies on the knowledge that our torque standards are correct. The additional space and improved climate control will allow us to continue to develop our calibration capabilities and to further improve the support we provide to our customers.”
The building has been a combination of new build and the refurbishment of an existing building procured from Hella in 2012. Doubling the square footage from its previous Beaumont Road to 120,000 square feet the location has options for further expansion.
Phillip Brodey, sales and marketing director, said: “As the company grows and it becomes more necessary to employ more people we now have the space to do that. The important thing about this site is that it does future proof us.”