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Controlled Bolting OEM HTL Group and Gee-Force Hydraulics Combine Forces In Great Yarmouth

Wed 14th February 2018
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Global OEM, HTL Group, have strengthened their UK presence in the South East by adding Great Yarmouth based Gee-Force Hydraulics to the HTL Group.

Gee-Force Hydraulics partnered with HTL Group back in 2016 as their Rental and Training Partner for the South East corner of the country. The partnership combined Gee-Force’s established brand and HTL’s extensive hire fleet and training portfolio to deliver a package of solutions.

Now, part of The HTL Group of companies, Gee-Force Hydraulics can offer an even greater range of HTL controlled bolting and products and services from their Great Yarmouth facility on Beacon Business Park.

Additionally a wide range of ECITB Approved Mechanical Joint Integrity Training can be delivered from Gee-Force’s dedicated training centre. Ideally suited to Engineers and Technicians who wish to achieve the required skill, ability and knowledge in specialist controlled bolting, ECITB Approved Training is recognised globally.

With access to the entire group portfolio, Gee-Force can now, amongst many products and services, offer bespoke engineered to order project specific solutions from concept to completion utilising the latest 3D printing and rapid prototype technology.

Stephen Jones, Group CEO, HTL Group: “We are delighted to welcome the Gee-Force team into the group. The acquisition combines our presence in Great Yarmouth, complementing and strengthening our strategic UK footprint. We look forward to maintaining the second to none customer service both HTL and Gee-Force are renowned for.”

Graeme Cook, Managing Director, Gee-Force Hydraulics Part of The HTL Group adds: “Being part of the HTL Group dramatically enhances our offering to the East of England and wider South East market place, including a much greater extent of “Made in the UK” bolting equipment and we look forward to bringing this enhanced capability to both existing and new customers alike.”

From Attic Room to Engine Room

Thu 12th October 2017
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Gee-Force Hydraulics started life in an attic room. Not the first company to do so and it probably won’t be the last. But an attic room nonetheless was where it all started back in 2000. An attic room in Scott Park Road, Burnley to be precise. Followed a couple of years later by a move downstairs to the larger and more practical sitting room at the back of the house (we were carrying hire stock by then). Then on to small industrial premises on the Farrington Road Industrial Estate in Burnley and finally on to 2,400 sq.ft. modern industrial premises on the nearby Network 65 Business Park.

In between times of course, the company had also established a presence in Great Yarmouth, a mere 250 mile, 5-hour (on a good run) van journey between the two offices. But the company’s home remained in Burnley. Until now that is. And much as the company’s short history is undoubtedly East Lancs based, the future is very much East of England focused. It is our East of England presence that has fuelled our business growth over the last five years. And with the lease on the Unit 65 premises falling due for renewal, we took the decision to consolidate the company’s business activities under the one roof, in Great Yarmouth, the engine room of the East of England’s energy sector.

The end of an era as far as Gee-Force in Burnley is concerned. But for Gee-Force in Great Yarmouth; more hire stock, more personnel and more capability. Our hire fleet now consists hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic and manual torque equipment, hydraulic tensioning equipment, flange alignment and spreading equipment, hydraulic lifting cylinders and hydraulic vertical lifting wedges. And through our rental partnership with industry leader HTL Group we enjoy access to the largest hire fleet of its kind in the UK including portable machines, flushing rigs and hydraulic cutters.

So, the attic room is no more. The engine room beckons. Thanks for everything Burnley. It’s been a blast.

EEEGR Member of the Year 2016

Sun 25th September 2016
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Ever since we first established premises in Great Yarmouth back in 2012 we have been enthusiastic members of EEEGR (The East of England Energy Group). I guess it’s one of those things where the saying “the more you put in, the more you get out” is very definitely the case and our resultant enthusiasm for and interaction with the organisation is quite simply because we think it has been good for us.

It is 12 years now since Gee-Force first started trading and I am embarrassed to confess that it took me some time to fully appreciate the benefits of networking. Perhaps it’s the word itself but “networking” still conjures up memories for me - when in a previous life – of sipping at cups of un-drinkable coffee in drab hotel meeting rooms making small-talk with fellow suited, provincial High Street “professionals”, many of whom detested it just as much as I did. But with hindsight, I know now that’s because I just didn’t get it at the time.

If you want to learn then learn from the best. In this case John Best. At EEEGR’s 13th Annual Awards event held earlier this month John, who founded and drove the organisation until 2012, was honoured by EEEGR’s members and presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless work on behalf of the organisation. John was and is the consummate networker, knowing and putting together people for the benefit of the region and its industry. And one little such piece of putting people together resulted in our setting up in Great Yarmouth 4 years ago, at least 12 months ahead of a rather more conservative timescale I had in mind had it not been for John’s enthusiasm and assistance.

John’s Lifetime Achievement Award was richly merited. And if rather less merited, Gee-Force Hydraulics was named by EEEGR, to our complete surprise, as its Member of the Year 2016. We certainly do make active use of our membership, attending and supporting EEEGR events and activities – because it’s been good for our business. Networking is about knowing people and through our membership of EEEGR, and particularly following the example and enthusiasm of John Best, we have gotten to know people in the East of England energy market place far more quickly than would otherwise have been the case. And as we look to use our Great Yarmouth facility to expand our client base and area of operations down towards London and the wider South East, you can bet that we won’t be winding down our involvement with EEEGR any time soon!

Son of a Beach!

Sun 22nd May 2016
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It’s been quite a last twelve months at Gee-Force Towers, during which we have enjoyed a record growth in turnover, increased our staff numbers from five to eight and most recently announced new partner arrangements with industry leader HTL for rental equipment and bolting training in Great Yarmouth. So what exactly are these new partner arrangements and what do they mean for our customers? And what the hell does the “Beach” have to do with all this?

Ahead of EEEGR’s SNS2015 Sea of Opportunity conference and exhibition last year, we came up with a strapline “The Beach Got Closer” being a reference to our Great Yarmouth location and unique proximity to the southern North Sea service industry. “The Beach” is of course the local vernacular for “onshore”. And that Beach, in terms of our offering to the industry, is getting bigger particularly now that we have access to HTL’s extensive fleet of hire equipment. Already these new arrangements mean that we have pneumatic torque wrenches on our Great Yarmouth hire shelves; and torque multipliers; and hydraulic lifting cylinders; and cutting equipment; and more hand torque wrenches; to be followed soon by pressure test pumps, chart recorders and flushing rigs. All these items we would previously have had to bring in from other suppliers, with associated carriage costs, but now they’re on our hire shelves in Great Yarmouth ready for immediate mobilisation and use.

Next month we move to new, bigger premises on Beacon Park, Great Yarmouth’s newest business park and hub for the energy sector. The premises move and recent partnership with HTL also adds enhanced service, repair and calibration capabilities and will also incorporate a fully equipped dedicated training facility to run ECITB MJI10/18 & 19, MJI 31 & 32 Wind Turbine Bolted Connections training and TMJI testing.

So, as straplines go “The Beach Got Bigger” is a bit like the offspring of “The Beach Got Closer”, a sort of (wait for it) son of a beach. Okay, I admit it’s a rubbish analogy intended solely to produce a headline but I liked it anyway. And I like it that we can add to our existing equipment and service offering by bringing HTL’s extensive hire fleet to our Great Yarmouth location. For all operators and service providers in the region, that Beach really is getting bigger!

Gee-Force partners with HTL to boost equipment hire and training capabilities to East Anglia and the South East

Mon 29th February 2016
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Gee-Force Hydraulics, specialist supplier of controlled bolting and flange working equipment, is partnering with industry leader HTL to bring an unrivalled hire equipment and training offering to East Anglia and the South East.

With Gee-Force’s facility already established in Great Yarmouth and HTL’s extensive rental fleet and training portfolio, the partnership is a natural step for both companies to supply industry in an area of the country historically poorly served in terms of equipment availability and on-the-ground service back-up.

Supplying a wide range of industry sectors including oil & gas, power generation, renewable energy, subsea & decommissioning, mining, petrochemical, heavy engineering and construction, Gee-Force and HTL will not only offer premium quality rental solutions but also ECITB accredited training.

Gee-Force’s dedicated training facility in Great Yarmouth, coupled with HTL’s expert trainers, allows the partnership to offer ECITB MJI10/18 & 19 training and TMJI testing, ideally suited to Engineers and Technicians who wish to achieve the required skill, ability and knowledge in specialist controlled bolting to maximise productivity and safety in the workplace.

HTL’s unparalleled hire fleet of torque and tensioning equipment, portable machines, flange working, cutting and subsea equipment, flushing, test and instrumentation equipment and essential maintenance tooling will be available locally to Gee-Force’s existing and prospective customer base.

Graeme Cook, Managing Director, Gee-Force Hydraulics comments:

"As part of our expansion plans to serve the wider South East corner of the country, these new partner arrangements will significantly enhance our equipment hire capabilities both to our Great Yarmouth client base and beyond"

Paul Storey, Group Managing Director, HTL Group comments:

“Rental business is all about service and with Gee-Force’s established base in Great Yarmouth, the partnership allows Graeme’s team to instantly access one of the largest controlled bolting and ancillary equipment rental fleets in Europe.”

For more information contact Gee-Force on +44 (0) 1493 603797 or e-mail sales@gee-force.co.uk.

Pendle Pub Walk

Tue 2nd June 2015
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Gee-Force Hydraulics MD Graeme Cook proudly shows off his new walking boots as he plans the Gee-Force team’s preparations for the Pendle Pub Walk taking place on Saturday 20 June. Graeme, Jane, Dan and Jon – all based at the company’s Burnley depot – will be undertaking the thirteen mile, thirteen pubs, thirteen pints annual charity walk around the stunning Pendle countryside in aid of Pendleside Hospice, a registered charity providing for the needs of adults with cancer and other life threatening illnesses in the Burnley and Pendle area. The care provided by this remarkable organisation is matched only by its stunning fundraising operation which raises £2.7m each year.

If you are inclined to support our efforts on behalf of the hospice then this link takes you through to their JustGiving page at http://bit.ly/1FSat55.

Gee-Force extends football club sponsorship

Sat 23rd May 2015
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Here at Gee-Force Hydraulics, we’re delighted to confirm that we have agreed to continue our sponsorship of Great Yarmouth Town FC, specifically in conjunction with the club’s Academy Side, for a further 12 months.
MD Graeme Cook met with the club’s commercial manager Steven Brown together with all-round human dynamo Anne Jones over a very nice pint or three at The Pier Hotel, Gorleston last Tuesday evening to confirm the new arrangements.

The club very nearly went out of business just four years ago but with the support of major sponsor DSL (Derrick Services Ltd) and a small but dedicated band of supporter volunteers, the club has pulled itself up by the football boot straps and now finds itself in much ruder health. With a successful season on the pitch just behind them - for all eight of the club’s teams - there is a real desire and optimism about the club to build on its recent progress and to help prove the Great in Great Yarmouth. Aside from the first team, the club runs Academy, Under 18’s, Veterans, Under 15s, Under 14s and two Under 13s girls’ teams. That really is some community involvement.

In financial terms our sponsorship is more of a tiddler than a bloater, certainly in comparison to main sponsors DSL and Alicat Workboats, but for a club the size of Great Yarmouth Town FC every little helps. And by putting out details of our involvement with the club, we’re hoping that it might encourage others amongst the town’s businesses to get involved with their local club. Up the Bloaters!

SNS2015 - The Beach DID Get Closer

Sat 7th March 2015
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Just like a holiday. You spend weeks, maybe months, looking forward to it, planning for it, saving up for it, talking about it, building up towards it. And then it’s been and gone. You’re back to the daily grind. Already a distant memory. But what a memory!

At least that’s what SNS2015 has been like for us. A short but very sweet two days spent on the Gee-Force beach at EEEGR’s flagship conference and exhibition. And what have we got to show for it? Well, actually we think quite a lot and that’s not including the sun tan (okay, maybe not a sun tan but the weather was glorious considering it was the first week of March).

The Beach Got Closer! That was the message we were wanting to push out. With Gee-Force in Great Yarmouth, access to some of the #PowerfulStuff you need for offshore maintenance and repair in the southern North Sea got a whole lot easier. So, we were wanting a crowded beach and we got one! The combination of two times Britain’s Strongest Man Laurence Shahlaei (Big Loz), the Half Penny Lifting challenge, some lovelies from Great Yarmouth Town FC complete with the Beevor Cup (I kid you not), Norbar baseball caps, Big Loz mugs and the animal magnetism of yours truly ensured that our double-stand beach was well and truly rippling with beautiful people. It reminded me of Banana Beach in Marbella. A bit.

Highlights of the two day event for me, in no particular order (or indeed much thought as to proper construction of a sentence) were; the Woodfordes Wherry going off just as they were pouring my first pint at the Premier Inn where we were staying (bad start); sharing twelve pints of rubbish (the Wherry had gone off remember) between me, Nick, Laurence and Ian except Laurence and Ian weren’t drinking; managing 7.5kg on the Half Penny lift; meeting and actually liking a Sheffield United fan (only joking, I didn’t like him really); general reaction to the rhubarb soup; EEEGR’s answer to the Pied Piper, i.e. Martine, rallying the brave-hearts for a late one in Norwich; the dynamo that is Anne Jones from the football club generating support for their Energy Tournament to be held in May; Alisha and Zoey from the football club who are lovely but one of whom doesn’t know how to make a whiskey (!); getting over 70 new “likes” (whatever that means) on our company Facebook page; meeting up with lots of friends old and new. Does this sound like a conference and exhibition or more like a beach party? Well, in my opinion, business is all about people. And the more people you can get to visit your own business beach party then the more people you have the opportunity of doing business with in the future. So thank you to EEEGR for putting on another splendid event. Farewell to Celia Anderson and good luck in your new role at Cornwall Energy. Thanks to strong man Laurence Shahlaei (good luck at the World’s Strongest Man event in six weeks’ time), Colin Sinclair of Norbar, Anne, Alisha and Zoey of GYTFC, Ian Harris of SPX and Steve Gerrity of Equalizer International for your help and support on the stand over the two days.

Finally, leaving the best ‘til last, a big thank you to Dan “Scrappy Doo” Benson of Cooper Lomaz for re-enacting his unique method of hailing taxis. No one was hurt in the making of the attached image!

The Bloaters are Coming!

Sat 28th February 2015
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The Beach Got Closer. In fact, so close that the Bloaters are coming! Those of you who have been following our build-up to next week’s SNS2015 conference and exhibition (yes, all five of you) will have seen that Gee-Force Hydraulics have invited representatives of Great Yarmouth Town FC, nicknamed The Bloaters", on to their exhibition stand. The club is enjoying some local success, currently vying for promotion from the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League First Division and having just reached the final of the First Division Knockout Cup. As proud shirt sponsors of Great Yarmouth Town’s academy team, we thought we’d let someone from the club come on to our stand and tell you a bit about their plans to engage with the local business community.

Did you know that Great Yarmouth Town Football Club;
• Was formed in 1897
• Has what is believed to be the oldest stand (1982) still in use at football matches – in the world!
• Was a founder member of the Norfolk & Suffolk League
• Was a founder member of The Eastern Counties League in 1935
• Became the first ever Eastern Counties League side to knock a professional club out of the F A Cup, beating Crystal Palace 1 – 0 in the first round proper in front of a record crowd at the Wellesley of 8,944 in 1953.
• Nearly went into extinction four years ago.
• Currently run 8 teams (First, Academy, Under 18s, Vets, Under 15s, Under 14s and 2 Under 13s girls’ teams.
• With the support of the local business community wants to help put the Great back into Yarmouth!

We're very pleased at Gee-Force to be able to provide this platform for the club to engage with the local business community. Come on you Bloaters!

Free Hydraulic Safety Training

Fri 27th February 2015
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Next week at SNS2015 - the most important conference for the offshore energy industry in the East of England – we will have that nice Mr Ian Harris from SPX on the stand with us explaining why they have been allowing us (equally nice from Gee-Force Hydraulics) to take hydraulic safety training courses direct to our clients………….for free!

SPX offers safety training seminars to demonstrate the proper methods for operating high pressure hydraulic tools to avoid equipment damage, lost time accidents and injury/harm to personnel. In the USA, where SPX is headquartered, they charge US$350 per attendee to bring this training to site.

Anyway, we sweet-talked them into making available their training seminars to our own clients for free. By doing so they enhance their Bolting and Power Team brands and thus our opportunity for doing more business with their products. Genius!

Typically, the safety seminars includes High pressure hydraulic tools – Safety points, Safety standards and lifting norms, Basic hydraulic systems, Lifting forces, Hydraulic equipment components (jacks, hand pumps etc), Electrical risks, Maintenance advice and Equipment storage. Attendees receive a Safety Handbook covering all the above in which they can make notes during the seminar. They also receive a certificate of attendance. The SPX trainer leaves a free Hose Rack for hose storage and alongside which can be displayed a visual checklist poster – with useful Do’s and Don’ts - which is also provided.

Three of our fellow exhibitors at next week’s SNS2015 have already taken advantage of this free training and the feedback received to date has been excellent. We shall now go and reward ourselves with a cup of tea!

Powerful Stuff

Thu 26th February 2015
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Powerful stuff from Gee-Force. Including two times Britain’s Strongest Man Laurence Shahlaei! With just a few days to go before SNS2015 - the most important conference for the offshore energy industry in the East of England – we thought you might like to know a bit about our relationship with the big guy who has been a regular qualifier, over recent years, for the World’s Strongest Man event which airs on Channel 4 over the Christmas period. We first met Big Loz nearly three years ago. Funnily enough he’s not actually THAT big, certainly in comparison to a lot of the guys he competes against, and that struck a chord with us. He isn’t the biggest but he’s one of the best in providing powerful performance. And Gee-Force is a bit of a tiddler in comparison to some of its competition but we provide some pretty powerful equipment and (we like to think) we make a half decent fist of it.

So, that’s why we asked him if he’d like to work with us to help promote the Gee-Force name. And we’re really pleased how it’s worked so far. We’ve got him on our exhibition posters, he’s on our e-mail signatures, he’s on our coasters and mugs, our marketing literature and he’s going to be on our exhibition stand again next week. Now we can’t be absolutely sure if it’s Laurence or our MD Graeme Cook but whatever it is there always seems to be a constant stream of women heading their way to the Gee-Force stand whenever we exhibit. So, rather than risk losing a winning formula, we always ask Laurence back even though Graeme thinks it’s him.

Laurence is currently gearing up for the World’s Ultimate Strongest Teams competition to be held at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke on 30 May where he will team up with the current holder of the Britain’s Strongest Man title, Eddie Hall. Next week, at SNS2015, you can ask him how the training is going in this respect. And if you’re a woman and you ask nicely, he might even lift you up on to his shoulders so we can take a picture for you. Sadly, Graeme admits that he can’t quite stretch to that.

The Beach Got Closer!

Wed 25th February 2015
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The Beach Got Closer. What the hell does that mean? Well, if you’ve ever worked offshore out of Great Yarmouth then you’ll probably recognise “the beach” as a term used meaning onshore. And when it comes to Powerful Stuff such as bolting and flange equipment required for offshore maintenance and repair, then it wasn’t that unusual for such equipment to be sourced from as far afield as Aberdeen. Which meant that the beach – from where the equipment was being sourced – was a pretty long way away when needed on southern north sea assets. Until of course Gee-Force Hydraulics set up in Great Yarmouth. So then just a week ahead of SNS2015 - the most important conference for the offshore energy industry in the East of England – we really want to make the point. Gee-Force is in Great Yarmouth, right on the doorstep of the region’s single most important energy hub. For southern north sea operations, The Beach Got Closer!

Come and visit us on stand A5/A6 where we hope to reinforce “The Beach Got Closer” and “Powerful Stuff” messages with the help of manufacturers SPX Bolting Systems, Norbar Torque Tools and Equalizer International, the latter who will be displaying their impressive demo rig on adjacent stand A7. Our good friend Laurence Shahlaei, two times winner of Britain’s Strongest Man, will regale visitors to the stand with some of the “Powerful Stuff” that he’s been up to over the last 12 months. And, just in case you didn’t already know it, Great Yarmouth Town F.C. is enjoying some local success currently lying 4th in the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Division 1 and having just reached the final of the First Division Knockout Cup. As proud shirt sponsors of Great Yarmouth Town’s academy team, we thought we’d let someone from the club come on to our stand and tell you a bit about their plans to engage with the local business community.

And we have an exciting new product, exclusive to Gee-Force, to show off on the stand. Hope to see you there!

Making Headway

Tue 13th January 2015
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Stacey Smith is one remarkable woman but she very nearly wasn’t. She very nearly wasn’t because a freak accident at home six years ago nearly did for her. One week before she was due to marry Ivan, she was excitedly coming down the stairs with wedding rings in hand to show off to her son. She fell down the bottom two stairs, cracked her head and life changed forever. Stacey was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where she spent two months, the first six weeks of which in a coma. Thereafter she spent five months at the Colman Rehabilitation Centre in Norwich before returning home to Great Yarmouth. Unable to walk and in a wheelchair, barely able to talk and blind in one eye – all direct consequences of the devastating brain injury suffered in the fall – Stacey was pretty much having to start her life from scratch again, re-learning the basic skills that most of us are lucky enough to take for granted. Headway is a UK-wide charity that works to improve the quality of life for those who have suffered brain injury. There hasn’t been a great deal of good luck associated with Stacey’s story thus far but the fact that the charity has a centre in Gorleston, Great Yarmouth was certainly a godsend. And whilst it hasn’t been anything other than a long slog the charity has helped Stacey get through the dark times, assisted her re-education, encouraged her back to college to study computer skills and most recently suggested she look to undertake some voluntary work as a means to re-acquaint herself with the working world. Six months on and Stacey works three mornings a week at our Great Yarmouth depot. To be honest, with pretty much all of the company’s administration handled at the Burnley head office we aren’t able to keep Stacey as busy as she might choose. But it has been quite an eye-opener getting to know her and to learn about her story. In many ways she has had to be the epitome of patience as she has slowly re-built her life and capabilities but now she is impatient for more. More work. More life experiences. More everything. So now she’s going to jump out of an airplane! Yep. Stacey is planning a charity parachute jump on 7th March to raise funds for Headway. Wow. What a girl! So the least we can do at Gee-Force is to make sure that people know about it. I have to admit that I would NEVER voluntarily jump out of an airplane for charity or otherwise so if she was eventually to change her mind then she would still have my full support and donation to the cause. We feel quite humble that we have been able to play our small part in Stacey’s progress to date but we know that she has a lot more to give. So if that more is via a parachute jump then absolutely all credit to the girl. If you are based in or near to Great Yarmouth and you think that you might be able to help Stacey continue her work experience then please let us know.


And if you are similarly inspired to make a donation to Stacey’s charity parachute jump then this link takes you through to Stacey’s online SponsorMe page http://www.sponsorme.co.uk/staceysmith/.

Seven Costly Hire Mistakes

Sat 1st February 2014
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When you hire hydraulic torque wrench equipment from Gee-Force Hydraulics, we want to make sure that your overall experience of dealing with us is both positive and beneficial. As with most things in life, good communication is central to preventing misunderstandings and delays so here are seven tips to ensure that you don’t get frustrated with us - nor us with you!


 


1.       Typically, hire charges will commence on the day the equipment is delivered. We offer standard next day, pre-noon and pre-10.30 a.m. delivery options. Sometimes, it is worth paying an extra £20 for a premium delivery to ensure that the equipment use doesn’t drag into an extra day thus incurring an extra day’s hire charge.


2.       Do contact us as soon as the equipment is finished with. Even if it takes a couple of days to get the equipment back to us we will normally end the hire charges on the last day of use. When equipment arrives back with us without any prior notice then we will assume that the last day of use was the working day prior to its arrival back with us.


3.       Make sure the operator knows what he is doing and is competent to use the equipment. Whilst hydraulic torque equipment is relatively easy to use, you need to know the good habits. You would not believe some of the things we have seen! We can arrange and/or supply; formal ECITB accredited competency training; informal training in the safe use of the equipment; detailed operating instructions; quick set-up and user guide; telephone advice.


4.       What power source (air, electric) are you using? Will the hydraulic pump be powered using long air lines or extension leads? Air hydraulic pumps gobble up the air so you need around 100 psi and minimum ¾” dia. air lines. 110V hydraulic pumps will not run properly without sufficient amperage reaching the motor. In case of need we can supply 10m length (4mm dia. wire) extension cables. Longer extension leads require an even bigger gage cable.


5.       Are you using the equipment in conjunction with sockets? If so, these must be good quality impact sockets (we can supply if required). If there is much stud protrusion beyond the top of the nut then you may need to use deep length sockets in order to ensure fit. Alternatively consider using a limited clearance (direct fit) wrench instead.


6.       Do you need to ensure that the stud won’t turn when tightening/loosening the nut? If so you may need a back-up wrench. More often than not you will find that a slogging spanner will do the job although removing these, post tightening, can sometime be problematic and possibly also compromise the  bolt load. In case of need there are alternative, more bespoke, back-up wrenches available although these may require a few days notice to obtain.


7.       Are you intending to use the equipment on High Strength Friction Grip (HSFG) bolts? Some HSFG bolt sizes utilise larger nuts than their non-HSFG equivalents so make sure that you know the nut AF size before ordering sockets or limited clearance wrench hex links.


 

Come on you Bloaters!

Sat 1st February 2014
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No, we're not talking about the MD's post-Christmas waistline. Gee-Force is now a proud sponsor of Great Yarmouth Town Football Club, nicknamed the Bloaters. Very soon the Gee-Force logo will be adorning the club's reserve team home and away shirts.


So now it's official, the Gee-Force team are all Bloaters!


Pictured are Nick and Graeme with club chairman Len Beresford.

We've Moved - Again!

Wed 18th December 2013
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Hot on the heels of our premises move in Great Yarmouth, now it’s the turn of our Burnley head office which, last week, completed the move out of Units 19 & 20 Farrington Court to new premises on the Network 65 Business Park just off Junction 9 on the M65 motorway. Our new address is;


Unit 14 Kestrel Court, Network 65 Business Park, Burnley, Lancashire BB11 5NA.


Telephone and e-mail contact details remain as before.


The new premises affords much easier access for customers and carrier companies and we now have plenty of room to accommodate further expansion to our hire stocks of hydraulic torque wrench equipment. We will continue to house hire stocks of hydraulic nut splitters, flange alignment and flange spreading equipment out of our Great Yarmouth depot where demand exists pretty much on the doorstep although from where we can still supply the rest of the UK within 24 hours.


So then, we’re getting that bit bigger but not at the expense of the prompt and personal service we are renowned for. To keep the operation lean and in the spirit of solidarity with our Great Yarmouth depot colleagues, the heater in the loo (a luxury compared to the previous premises) is to remain OFF at all times thus ensuring we’re at our desks where we should be when you call! 


 

Enterprise in Burnley

Fri 18th October 2013
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Our home town base of Burnley hasn’t always enjoyed the best of press on a national basis but there is real enterprise in Burnley, so much so that the town has very recently been labelled as “Enterprising Burnley” having been awarded the accolade of “Most Enterprising Place in Britain 2013”. Here at Gee-Force we have been well aware of the efforts being made in the town, over the last three to four years particularly, in making it a great place to invest and a great place to live. These efforts have been led by a thriving and energetic business community and have led to millions of pounds of investment; the University of Central Lancashire has arrived in Burnley; major new developments underway which will transform shopping in the town; the new Burnley Bridge Business Park is taking shape situated right off Junction 9 on the M65 motorway; new direct rail link to Manchester opening Easter 2014; the new University Technical College for 14 to 19 years olds and a fantastic new leisure, fitness and restaurant facility right off Junction 11.


 


That’s not too shabby really is it for little old Burnley, a place with a great history and now building an exciting future. We’re really pleased to be part of the Burnley community. Watch out soon for news about a new premises move for Gee-Force – right off Junction 9 on the M65 motorway!


 

Open Day Event at New Premises

Tue 1st October 2013
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We marked the opening of our new, larger premises in Great Yarmouth, with an open day event on 26th September. Assisted by our good friend, Britain's Strongest Man 2012 AND 2013,  Laurence Shahlaei (he's the big guy in the picture!) we were pleased to show off our new hydraulic torque wrench calibration rig now installed, up and running, in Great Yarmouth. 


We were able to display working demonstrations of various flange alignment and spreading tools by Equalizer International on their new demo/training rig and SPX Bolting Systems brought their new flange and joint management software to show off.


The Equalizer demo/training rig will be back down with us again in Great Yarmouth in another two to three weeks time following the extent of interest shown on the night.


Thanks to all who turned up to help us mark this further stage in the development of the company and its activities. A hardy few then participated in a post-event de-brief involving the occasional shandy and Laurence lifting various people above his head because he can!

Gee-Force on the Beer!

Fri 13th September 2013
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On the extremely strong (5.9 OG) and very tasty Riggwelter (by the famous Black Sheep brewery) to be precise.


Last weekend, Gee-Force was pleased to sponsor a barrel of Riggwelter at CAMRA's 2nd Burnley Beer Exhibition where proceeds raised went to Pendleside Hospice, a registered charity providing for the needs of adults with cancer and other life threatening illnesses in the Burnley and Pendle area.


Over the four hours that Gee-Force representatives were present, the beer was excellent, the food wash really good and the entertainment wash really really very very good. The nice taxi man helped us get home. He's my best mate. I really love him.   


The image shows two of the exhibition volunteers looking very carefully after our chosen tipple!

SNS 2013 Conference & Exhibition

Thu 7th March 2013
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Well, we’ve just got back from exhibiting at EEEGR’s SNS2013 Sea of Opportunity Conference & Exhibition - the biggest energy event ever held in the East of England – and what a great couple of days it’s been!


Laurence Shahlaei was with us on the stand and the winner of Britain’s Strongest Man 2012 proved to be quite a draw. The first international strongman event of the 2013 season - the Iceman challenge in Lapland - takes place on Saturday 16 March so we didn’t want to disrupt his preparations too much but he got to grips (quite literally) with the Rolling Thunder challenge. This basically is a deadlift, revolving handle which is all about grip strength. Based on the performance of yours truly, we perhaps ought to be re-naming the company as Gee-NotMuchForceAtAll Hydraulics following a disappointing 45kg lift. Hats off to the two young Perenco-sponsored students who managed 50kg and the three not-quite-so-young delegates who achieved 60kg. But the star of the show was Halliburton’s Ian Littlewood who managed a whopping 70kg. As we only had weights totalling 77.7kg, needless to say Laurence wasn’t troubled greatly by whatever combination of weight was used, particularly as he has previously achieved 120kg!


It was good to catch up again with friends and clients amongst the 400 plus delegates including Andrew Wood and Simon Jennings of Score (Europe) Limited, Paul Wright of Expro North Sea Limited, Colin Clarke and Nick Alliston of Denholm Valvecare, Dan Benson of Cooper Lomaz and Lee Wright and Ian Littlewood of Halliburton to name but a few.


The Gala Dinner on the Tuesday night saw the winner of EEEGR Member of the Year 2012 announced and congratulations to the winning company 4NRg Ltd who won in the face of some stiff competition. And I mean really good competition. Really, really excellent competition. Unbelievably almost-too-close-to-call-it competition. And the voting couldn’t have been closer. Probably.


Seriously, it has been a real privilege to have been one of the three nominees for Member of the Year 2012 and the profile gained as a result has been very welcome. Thanks to everyone who did take the trouble to vote. Also we should all be able to laugh, once again, at Nick’s video interview which we hope to put up on the website very soon.


From a Gee-Force viewpoint, the event has been a great success and  it really is a “hats off” to EEEGR for the organisation  of an event which, in football parlance, has leapt from League 1 to Premiership in just 12 months. And talking of football (which we weren’t really but anyway) if anyone reading this blog can correctly identify the football event in May 2012 which links me, Nick, Andrew Wood of Score (Europe) Ltd and the meteor landing in the Ural Mountains (Russia) last month, then I’ll buy you a beer.

A Beginner's Guide to Hydraulic Torque Wrenches

Mon 18th February 2013
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I had originally wanted to entitle this article "From Banking to Bolting in One Easy Step". But this was only because I thought I had a really good first sentence to follow up the title. For what it's worth, it would have gone on to say They both begin with a "B", and end with an "ing" - and there the similarity ends! And whilst it would have emphasised the fact that if an ex-bank manager can suss hydraulic torque wrenches, then you can too, you probably wouldn't be able to find this article via a Google search so it's entitled "A Beginners Guide To Hydraulic Torque Wrenches" because that's what it's supposed to be. Nothing too technical. Nothing too demanding. Simply an article designed to provide an introduction to these tools which are increasingly being specified as necessary to ensure safe bolt tightening and break-out procedures and to provide accurate bolt tightening torques.


So then if you're reading this article with a view to possibly requiring this kind of equipment in future, then you're probably someone who knows what a ratchet spanner is. This being so, just think hydraulic ratchet spanner, combine this with extremely accurate tightening torque, and you're already well along the way to knowing what a hydraulic torque wrench is and what it does. And whilst you may be new to this kind of equipment, it isn't a new concept. In fact the hydraulic torque wrench has been around now for more than 40 years and whilst innovation during the intervening years has dramatically reduced the size and weight of the wrenches they remain, essentially, hydraulic ratchet spanners. 


There are two main types of hydraulic torque wrench, the Square Drive wrench and the Limited Clearance wrench (also known variously as Low Clearance/ Direct Fit/ Cassette/ Hex Link wrench). The Square Drive wrench drives a socket whereas the Limited Clearance wrench fits directly on the nut. The vast majority of hydraulic torque wrench tool systems are "double-acting" (hydraulic advance, hydraulic return back over the ratchet) although single-acting (hydraulic advance, spring return back over the ratchet) systems are available and whilst few manufacturers/suppliers cater for this option, the single-acting system can bring advantage in terms of cost and on remote, difficult-to-access bolting applications where a power source is not readily available.


The Square Drive wrench is by far the more versatile of the two wrench options in that it will drive any AF size socket with a suitable drive. The Limited Clearance wrench requires a bespoke AF size hex link for each size nut which can make it expensive to assemble a suitable range of equipment for all bolt sizes. With good operating habits, both wrench types are easy and safe to use although the Limited Clearance wrenches are generally more suited to flange work than their Square Drive counterparts.  Given a choice on any bolting job where either wrench type can legitimately be used, I would personally opt for the Limited Clearance wrench as it negates much of the twisting force and reaction challenges often experienced by the Square Drive wrench. Having said that, the Square Drive wrenches find more favour with our customers which is indicative of their much greater versatility and resultant cost effectiveness.   


The wrenches are powered by a hydraulic pump. Most hydraulic torque wrench systems nowadays are designed to work to a maximum pressure of 10,000 psi (710 bar). The pump pressure, as measured by the pump pressure gauge and locked in at the desired rating, dictates the torque output of the wrench. Typically, the pumps are either air or electric powered (usually 110V) although the single-acting wrenches can be powered by any 10,000 psi pump including manual hand pumps.  The wrenches are connected to the pump by a high pressure siamese hose (or single hose for single-acting wrenches) usually around 5m in length although can be any length within reason.


The most commonly used wrenches tend to be 3/4" and 1" Square Drive Wrenches with maximum torque outputs ranging from 1000Nm up to 4,000 Nm and their Limited Clearance counterparts - accommodating nut AF sizes up to 80mm - up to around 5,000 Nm. Beyond these, the Square Drive wrenches ( 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" drives) and Limited Clearance wrenches in most tool ranges accommodate tightening torques up to and in excess of 30,000 Nm for working on large bolts. 


This equipment is not difficult to use. In fact it is relatively easy (and safe) to use. But you need to know the good habits. And you also need to know that when the wrench manufacturers talk of "one-man, remote operation", it isn't always like that in the practical world. In fact, it isn't like that much of the time and it is when addressing the practicalities of real bolting applications that the good habits need to come into play in the handling and positioning of the wrenches.


Hydraulic torque wrench equipment can be supplied either for sale or hire. Generally speaking it is the frequency of usage that ultimately determines whether a user elects to purchase or hire although initial "toe in the water" usage is usually best undertaken on hire for a variety of fairly obvious reasons. Thereafter, it is not uncommon for frequent users to purchase core equipment requirements (for example a pump, hoses and one or two tools) and thereafter to hire in different size tools and/or hex links as and when occasional need dictates.


In theory, most hydraulics distributors could source and supply hydraulic torque wrench equipment. But few - very few (you would be surprised how few) - have the knowledge, expertise, equipment or response to properly back up such supply. Which is why very few choose to do so. For those that do the equipment, back up and standard of customer service is generally excellent although there can of course be exceptions. 


 


About the Author


Graeme Cook is managing director and owner of Gee-Force Hydraulics, a UK supplier of hydraulic tools and equipment specialising in the sale and hire of hydraulic torque wrench equipment. Before setting up the company he spent 23 years with a major UK Bank, the last 6 years of which as a Corporate Manager. He resigned from the bank in 2000 and spent 4 years working for a well known manufacturer of hydraulic torque wrench equipment before commencing trading in his own right through Gee-Force. He has spent much of his time with companies and users new to this equipment, nurturing them through from initial enquiry to end use.

Britain's Strongest Man gets the Gee-Force!

Mon 18th February 2013
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Gee-Force has teamed up with Britain's Strongest Man, Laurence Shahlaei, to help promote our high pressure, high strength hydraulic tools and equipment.


Laurence is a professional strength athlete and won the coveted "Britain's Strongest Man 2012" title in May last year. Before that, he finished fourth in the World's Strongest Man competition in 2011 and has a string of podium places to his name over the last two years including a 1st place in Giants Live Finland 2012 and 3rd place in Europe's Strongest Man 2012, Unfortunately injury prevented him from competing in last year’s World’s Strongest Man competition but he is now back in training and targeting this year’s opening event in the Strongman Champions League – the Iceman in Finland on 16 March – as his comeback event.


Laurence also holds an official Guinness World Record in the Farmers Walk event, carrying 150kg in each hand over 20 metres in 6.73 seconds.  


In teaming up with Laurence we think there are some obvious synergies with the power and strength of our equipment. Laurence is actually one of the smaller competitors on the Strong Man circuit but regularly outperforms his larger opponents and we like to think there may be some comparisons to draw between us in that respect too.

EEEGR Member of the Year 2012

Fri 15th February 2013
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Wow! We’re one of three companies nominated for EEEGR Member of the Year 2012.

We only joined EEEGR some 18 months ago but we had already seen enough by this time last year to determine that we wanted to concentrate our 2012 marketing activity around our membership. It has certainly been no hardship attending and supporting various EEEGR events and activities – it has played a major part in our building the company profile following the opening of our Great Yarmouth office back in May. We are absolutely chuffed to find ourselves as one of the three companies nominated – and not a little taken aback as well because we feel we have been a beneficiary of their excellent services rather than any sort of contributor thereto. But we certainly aren’t knocking it! So thank you to the guys and girls at EEEGR for our nomination and we look forward to working ever more closely with you as we look to grow our business in the East of England.

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CONTACT INFORMATION
Gee-Force Hydraulics
Unit 12 Blackfriars Court
Excalibur Road, Beacon Business Park
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR31 7RQ

Email: sales@gee-force.co.uk
Tel No: +44 (0)1493 603797

CONTACT INFORMATION
Gee-Force Hydraulics
Unit 1, Enterprise Court
Gapton Hall Road
Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR31 0NL

Email: sales@gee-force.co.uk
Tel No: +44 (0)1493 603797

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