We are celebrating 35 years since we first established our UK operation, remaining at the forefront of innovation within the plastic compression fittings market for more than three decades.
We have come a long way from our beginnings in July 1983, when Philmac UK was set up as the very first overseas branch of Philmac, with four members of staff and a caravan as an office. An established manufacturer in Australia, Philmac was looking to expand into Europe and so Philmac UK was born in Hailsham with the aim of challenging the dominant metal fittings as the fitting of choice for use within water pipe applications in the UK.
Initially only offering one fitting, in the form of Polygrip, we offered a unique product that was able to connect different standards of imperial PE pipe. Recognising the benefits of Polygrip, water authorities and builder’s merchants alike starting placing orders, with rapid growth experienced in our first 12 months. That growth continued at pace and today we have our products stocked in more than 2,800 merchant branches across the UK and ship in excess of five million fittings per year.
We have continued to drive innovation in the UK fittings market; we were the first to offer a solution for connecting metric to imperial PE pipe, a product that is still a market-leader. We also remain the only company that can provide a fitting to connect any two dissimilar materials including PE, PVC, copper, stainless steel, ABS, galvanised iron and lead.
Never a company to stand still, we have ambitious growth plans and so, in our 35th year, we have taken advantage of being part of Aliaxis and moved our operation from Hailsham in East Sussex, relocating our warehousing to a larger site in Kent to benefit from improved logistics capabilities.
All of our commercial activities have been moved to a new location in the West Midlands, alongside group company Durapipe UK, with a focus on greater collaboration with group companies GPS PE Pipe Systems and Durapipe UK. The new facility offers improved research and development capabilities, in addition to enhanced technology and systems for our customer services, sales and marketing teams. The new facilities and resources will enable us to continue to provide a product portfolio that meets the needs of the plumbing industry today, backed up by an exceptional customer experience.
Commenting on our anniversary, our Marketing Director, Tim Handy, said: “It is fantastic to think that we have come from four people sitting in a caravan selling one fitting to the market-leader we are today. The key to our success is our solution-based approach, continually developing new ways to address the challenges faced by both water authorities and plumbers.
“We have developed our product offering in line with the advancements in pipeline technologies. As new materials have been developed, it becomes increasingly difficult for plumbers to undertake repairs or extensions to water pipes due to the array of different pipe materials that can be found. We provide the solution and are proud that many plumbers and contractors keep our fittings as van stock items so they can be confident they will always have something to hand that will work with virtually any situation that they may encounter on site.”