Strength in numbers

Operating as part of Unitech Aerospace, Tods Aerospace and Tods Defence specialise in the engineering, design and manufacture of advanced materials technology for aerospace and naval acoustic structures

Tods Aerospace was established in 1932 as W&J Tod Limited and transitioned into boat building and defence work during the 1960s before finally joining the Unitech family in 2013. The company is based in Crewkerne, Somerset and today represents an industry leader in the design and manufacture of complex composite structures for the aerospace, rail and defence markets.

Within this dynamic group of companies, Tods Aerospace specialises in the engineering, design and manufacture of advanced materials for the aerospace sector, while Tods Defence is focused on serving clients within the naval and defence industries. During its history of operating within the aerospace sector, Tods Aerospace has provided products and advanced support services to prestigious industry operators including Rolls Royce, Leonardo Helicopters, Airbus, BAE Systems, Zodiac Interiors and Hitachi Rail. By operating as a key part of Unitech Aerospace, Tods Aerospace is able to leverage the strengths of the wider business to gain further efficiency and generate further benefits for its clients. “Through our membership of Unitech Aerospace we have gained additional financial strength with an added capability for investment to grow the company’s product portfolio. We can draw on the expertise and support within the group to achieve a greater offering for our customers, as well as access to a larger customer base,” reveals Vice President and Managing Director, Peter Eckersall. “Tods Aerospace has been a recognised and respected brand in the industry for over 30 years and merging this reputation with Unitech Aerospace results in a very powerful combination. Having the support of a talented and experienced senior executive team also fur ther provides the stability and direction to allow each individual business within the group to flourish and grow.”

Throughout all of its operations, Tods Aerospace is dedicated to providing its clients with the highest standards in quality, in accordance with the strictest industry certifications and customer requirements. This includes more than 30 separate qualification specifications for composite, sandwich and bonding related works. These qualifications are continually kept up to date, while new process credentials that are demanded by the manufacturing industry are further incorporated through on-going investment and training. “Tods Aerospace is extremely customer focused and we strive for superior quality, on-time delivery, customer value and satisfaction. This is complemented by world-class design and engineering, which enables the business to provide a complete composite solution,” Peter says. “This incorporates concept design, process development, qualification support, manufacture, repair and full throughlife maintenance. We are fully committed to investing in technology and people to support future state-of-the-art developments with continuous improvement through lean practices, staff development and training throughout the business.”

Tods Aerospace presently maintains three production sites, with two located at Crewkerne and the other in Portland, Dorset. Each of these sites is AS9100 approved and the two Crewkerne sites are additionally NADCAP approved for composite manufacture. The company operates an extensive array of equipment including three clean rooms, four autoclaves, two five-axis CNC machines, an X-ray and NDI lab, reticulation machine and curing ovens. Tods Aerospace also operates two design offices that employ industry standard design tools comprised of CATIA, NASTRAN/ PATRAN and MARC with configuration control using ENOVIA PLM. These enable vital design operations relating to:

  • Types of analysis
  • Stress analysis – Static, fatigue and dynamic
  • Requirements – Safety, environmental
  • Acoustic analysis – Sonar domes
  • RF analysis – For radome construction
  • Testing
  • Material qualification – Strength and environmental

“The company’s facilities are constantly developed to meet the challenges of a continually changing industry and dynamic customer requirements. New product introduction and adapting manufacturing technology alongside continuous lean activity, means that Tods Aerospace is always challenging itself to improve the layout and capability of its facilities. Being par t of Unitech Aerospace has suppor ted this development and during 2016 we invested in an X-ray capability, additional paint facility, larger autoclave, new digital curing ovens and our reticulation capability,” Peter details. “Investment in people and personal development is also a core value within the company. We have a very successful apprentice scheme and graduate training scheme. All employees have a personal development plan and all staff will go through some type of formal or workplace-based training while working with Tods Aerospace.”

While Tods Aerospace has already achieved a strong reputation with both new and existing clients, which is further bolstered by its membership of Unitech Aerospace, the company will seek to expand its reputation even further during the coming years. This it will do by placing a high priority to achieving the 100 per cent on-time delivery of products, while maintaining the highest levels of quality. “We will continue to utilise the financial strength of Unitech Aerospace alongside our own capability for investment to grow the company’s product portfolio,” Peter concludes. “Perfect delivery and quality performance through continued lean initiatives and investment in new technologies will equally remain a high priority, as well as continued investment in people through apprenticeships, vocational training and graduate training schemes. All of these initiatives will fur ther allow Tods Aerospace to develop a stronger supply chain that is inclusive to looking to identify low cost countries for further growth.”

Tods Aerospace
Tods Defence
Services: Complex aerospace solutions