Category: News

Why Should I Calibrate my Fastening Tools?


Manufacturers are only as good as their end product and the reputations built around those products. In most cases, there will have been significant investment in tooling and setting up the production process: a capital expenditure that must deliver a ROI.

So why wouldn’t a business protect that investment by ensuring their tools are working efficiently and profitably?

Tools that are operating to incorrect parameters are not only inefficient, they expose businesses to poor brand perception and, more seriously, the risk of litigation should faults occur.

Regular calibration for tools is recommended to ensure that they are working within the original manufacturers parameters and consistency is being maintained. Even those tool manufacturers offering impressive guarantees of up to 1 million cycles of maintenance free usage should be calibrated on a regular basis.

However, calibration must be precisely carried out, using a transducer calibrated under laboratory conditions. It’s vital also, that the transducer is certified at the lab by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service), the internationally recognised standard of calibration. The laboratory environment will ensure that parameters have been correctly set and any testing by that transducer will also satisfy regulation.

Why is this important? Because businesses need be assured of an unbroken chain of traceability, therefore calibration should be traceable to UKAS standards. This may prove to be invaluable if problems occur during the production process or worse, once products are out in the marketplace and have to be recalled due to faults.

Certified, calibrated tools, with the appropriate documentation and traceability are imperative should a fault result in litigation. A business employing this system can prove competence and retain credibility should a problem arise later.

There are plenty of companies who will not only supply tools but also offer to service and calibrate them. Manufacturers are advised to thoroughly investigate their suppliers to make sure they are providing a robust offer and delivering a high standard of service. Certainly, only those offering UKAS traceable certification are worth considering.

Abbey IS have been supplying tools to some of the most well known blue chip companies within the manufacturing sector, including auto assembly, gas & oil industry, heavy plant manufacturers and aerospace. For those businesses where precision and reputation is paramount, Abbey offer a considerable wealth of expertise. Abbey can create a bespoke service and calibration plan, advise on tooling procurement and even assist with a specific challenge. Renowned for innovation, their qualified, manufacturer trained engineers are often consulted about specific issues.

Being an independent supplier means they can offer a truly unbiased approach, a valuable asset for those investing considerable sums in tooling. Customers are assured of straightforward, expert input.

For more information drop us an email at

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Abbey welcomes Les Watson to the team


Abbey IS welcomes a new member to the team: Les Watson joins Abbey, bringing with him a wealth of expertise, having represented world class torque wrench manufacturer, Sturtevant Richmont in the UK for almost two decades.

Les, along with the wider Abbey team, will provide technical support to our customer base, who will now have access to Sturtevant Richmont’s extensive range of products. Including the Digital Torque Controller System, which can be programmed wirelessly and provide multi-tool control and reporting.

Originally designed for US Air Force, the tools are now favoured by manufacturers who value quality and consistency. Widely used in the auto-motive and aviation industry, Airbus and Vauxhall are amongst their clients.

Sturtevant Richmont’s tools are renown for durability and impressive life span: torque wrenches can operate for 30 years with little or no need for adjustment. However, Abbey IS have a robust tool management system so customers can rest assured their investment will be well taken care of.

Les explained his move to Abbey: “Sturtevant Richmont’s reputation for quality and value is unparalleled. Abbey IS is already supplying high quality tools and excellent service packages, I think the cultural fit between Abbey IS and Sturtevant Richmont is perfect, I’m looking forward to introducing the products to more customers.”

Les Watson

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Abbey Industrial Solutions is an established distributer of Atlas Copco products and is the first UK supplier to achieve £1 million worth of sales for the market leading tool maker

Abbey’s experience of selling and maintaining industrial tools and consumables has earned the family business an enviable reputation in the marketplace.

Renown for innovation and excellent service standards, Director, Josh Stead said: “we are delighted to reach this milestone with Atlas Copco. It represents a long standing partnership and mutual ambitions to supply the highest quality products to our customers.”

Abbey are distributers for a wide range of industrial equipment, supplying a number of well known brands and providing after sales care and servicing. Focussing their expertise in supplying intelligent tooling solutions to the industry has seen the business grow in terms of sales and diversity. Abbey’s contracts range from aerospace to construction and include international partnerships as well as taking care of local businesses.

For more information on sales, servicing or advanced fastening, call 01924 224240 or email us at

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Tool Repair Engineer – Job Vacancy

we are hiring

Salary on application + bonus + overtime

We have a vacancy for a Tool Repair Engineer to carry out maintenance, repairs and servicing to hand held tools in our busy workshop. This will include three phase tooling, pneumatic and electric tools.

Tool Repair Engineer Role
You will be working in the workshop alongside our other tool fitters, supervised by an Engineering Workshop Manager. The fitting team pride themselves on being friendly and easy to work with, we are looking for a Technician who will fit into the workshop team well and match their hardworking ethos. The role is varied and interesting with no 2 days ever being alike!

What do you need?
To hit the ground running in this Tool Repair Engineer role you would need previous experience of working on similar equipment (three phase tooling, pneumatic and electric tools).

Formal qualifications (relevant NVQ / City & Guilds) would be desirable, however, are not essential for the right candidate with tool fitting experience.

Suitable skills / experience: Tool Repair Engineer, Fitter, Maintenance Fitter, Tool Fitter, Engineering, Three Phase Tooling, Pneumatic Tools, Electric Tools, Workshop Technician

How to apply
If you wish to be considered for this Engineer (Tool Repairs) job please email us at

You must be eligible to work in the UK.

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Top tips for choosing the right abrasive

Abrasive, grinding wheel

There are so many different abrasive solutions available on the market today and there can vary widely in terms of quality and business benefit.  So how do you decide which is the best one for your job?…

We’ve put together some top tips to consider when purchasing abrasives for your business.

  1. Quality – The quality of abrasives available today can be extremely variable. By varying the properties of the abrasive and bond and the makeup of the wheel it is possible to produce grinding wheels with a varied range of grinding characteristics. Stock removal performance is a great metric to ensure you are purchasing the most suitable abrasive for the job.
  2. Time – The right abrasives needs to save you time on a particular job or element of the process and this can then be turned into a quantifiable cost saving, which means resource can be placed elsewhere.
  3. Specialist Applications– There is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to abrasives. There are different abrasives for specific materials, so don’t just go with generic, it will result in a poor finish, short lifespan and extra costs elsewhere such as slow turnaround on jobs. Why not have the best product for that particular application rather than a ‘jack of all trades’, it may cost more than the generic option, but will be more profitable in the long term.
  4. Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) – Setting the correct RPM when using your tools for the job in question will help ensure good tool life and the longevity of your abrasives.
  5. Cost – Cheapest is not always the most cost effective, you need to consider the lifetime value. If you purchase a cheap alternative, but have to replace frequently then it’s probably costing you more than it should.
  6. Procurement – Consider what material, what application and what tool drive, all of these elements go hand in hand when selecting the best abrasive product.
  7. Not just a bolt on – Abrasives are not simply the end point of the process with something bolted on the tools, they are an extremely important factor. Why go to the trouble of buying the best possible tool and then putting the cheapest, low quality abrasive on it.  It’s like the analogy of buying a high-end supercar and putting remould tyres on it, don’t be tempted, it was cause problems in the long run.
  8. Ease of use – Consider ergonomics, lower vibration, reduced noise and dust, these all make the job easier, plus it helps in regards to compliance and health and safety issues.
  9. Specialist applications – Special metals require special abrasive products, you may need to look at something bespoke rather than off the shelf in some instances.
  10. Feedback – Team work is key, the decision of tool drive and the abrasive on the end of it need to be looked at as a team to ensure buy-in.

Choosing the right consumables ensures you get the best return on your investment. Our dedicated sales engineers have industrial experience and will advise on the best, most cost-effective route to keep your tools running at maximum efficiency and keeping your workforce protected.  We take the time to understand each client’s requirements and consider each tools application to recommend the right solution.

We would like to offer a FREE abrasive audit to optimise your processes and product use, to arrange please contact us on 01924 224240 or fill out our enquiry form.

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Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) – What you need to know!


What is Hand-Arm Vibration (HAVs)?

 The term Hand Arm Vibration or HAVs as it’s widely known is a serious issue for businesses and workers across the UK.

According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Hand Arm Vibration is defined as: “Vibrations that are transmitted to workers’ hands and arms. This can come from use of hand-held power tools (such as grinders or road breakers), hand- guided equipment (such as powered lawnmowers or pedestrian controlled floor saws) or by holding materials being worked by hand-fed machines (such as pedestal grinders or forge hammers).”

Why is it so important?

Regular and frequent exposure to hand arm vibration can lead to permanent damage and ill health, more specifically – hand arm vibration (HAVs) and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).  These illnesses bring depilating symptoms such as tingling and numbness in the hands, loss of strength and painful fingers with changing weather conditions.  Using power tools on a regular basis if not properly assessed can have a significant impact, not only affecting the operator’s days to day activities, it can also seriously affect the ability their to work.

What laws apply?

All businesses that use machinery and tools which give off vibrations have to comply to a number of workplace legislations including:

  • Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
  • Management Health & Safety Works Regulations 1999
  • The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005
  • PUWER Regulations 1998

The Control at Work Vibrations regulations stipulate that businesses need to ensure that the risks from vibrations are controlled, and that they provide adequate training and information to workers to ensure they are aware of the risks and what action is being taken and that there is suitable assessment and surveillance around the health of these workers.  Basically, it’s all about ensuring exposure is kept to an absolute minimum and ideally below an exposure action value (EAV) of 2.5 m/s² (100 points) and certainly below an exposure limit value (ELV) of 5 m/s² (400 points).

All employers have a duty of care to ensure that the risks from vibrations are at the lowest practical level possible.  Over recent years there have been many high-profile cases that have reached the headlines and this legislation does not just affect large businesses, any business large or small that uses equipment that omits vibrations has a legal responsibility to comply.

Risks for non-compliance are severe and businesses risk being faced with large fines.  Recent changes to the legislation have made the impact of non-compliance even more serious.

So, what’s changed?

New sentencing guidelines came into effect in February 2016, whereby any non-compliant businesses that have a claim against them for Hand Arm Vibration or any other health and safety offence can be fined at much higher levels.  These apply to the company and not the employee, so the burden is completely upon the company to ensure exposure to vibrations are minimised and workplace training is provided to mitigate the risks, providing a safe working environment for all employees.

Offence fines range from £50 right up to £10 million and are based on two categories: culpability and the size of the organisation.  For example, if a small business with a turnover of between £2M – £10M was found to be negligent, then the fine would range from £100 up to £1.6M, depending on the severity of the injury and culpability of what they did to negate the problem.

On top of that the operator/employee can put in their own claim against the company which is entirely separate to those from the HSE, so a non-compliant business could face some extremely high fines and compensation claims, not to mention the negative press and damage to their reputation.

Over the last six months’ ranges of fines published by the HSE come in at around £250K, but these are starting to ramp up, so be warned!

How can Abbey help?

We work with a range of clients to mitigate the effects of Hand Arm Vibration and ensure a safe and healthy working environment.

We provide a clear twelve step programme to help businesses become compliant, it’s specific to each company’s unique needs and specific exposure to Hand Arm Vibration and how this can be mitigated, offering advice, guidance and actionable points along the way.

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Staff Spotlight – Paul Hadfield, Technical Director

Paul Hadfield

What do you do at Abbey? 

I look after three key account customers and provide technical support to the sales and service team mainly on Hand Arm Vibration (HAVs) issues.

How long have you worked at Abbey? 

I started with the company in June 1986, some would say too long..Ha Ha

What is the best advice you have ever received and from whom? 

Best advice was definitely from my parents “Hard work is not effective – where carelessness is.”

What is the best book you’ve ever read? 

Wilbur Smith – The Seventh Scroll

What’s your favourite film? ​ 

The Full Monty

Tell us something most people do not know about you 

I enjoy gardening

What temptation can you not resist? 

Spending time with my granddaughters

What is your most elusive goal? 

Finishing my family tree

Where is the one place you’d like to visit before you die – and why? 

Iceland to see the Geysers and Northern Lights

Which tool would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island – and why? 

Swiss army knife – it has so many uses

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be and why? 

My great grandfather Charles, to understand why he returned from America after emigrating in the 1850`s


If you invite any 5 people to a dinner party living or dead who they be and why? 

Peter Kay, Barack Obama, Al Murray, Alf Garnet and Mohamed Ali – Lively, comical and interesting conversation to say the least!

Describe yourself in one sentence 

Approachable, helpful and a good listener

Why are you good at your job? 

My experience and good people skills

If you could be any animal for a day, what would you be? 

An owl

Do you prefer cities or the countryside?

Countryside for relaxation

Describe your perfect night out 

Nice meal, nice wine and good company

What would be your perfect holiday? 

All inclusive, hot and sunny

Sum up Abbey in one sentence

A growing innovative company with good foundations, great people and a vision for the future.

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Product Spotlight – Atlas Copco LSV39 Grinder

Atlas Copco LSV39 grinder image

Introducing the brand new Atlas Copco LSV39 grinder, the tool of choice for material removal.  Whether it’s rough grinding, de-burring or sanding in cramped and narrow spaces then this is the perfect tool.

It’s pitched to be the most powerful vane grinder of its size on the market.  With its impressive 1800 kW output it increases productivity by up to 20% over its predecessor the LSV38.

This state-of-the-art material removal tool will significant shorten production processes and provides a host of other benefits:

Extended service life

Designed with longevity in mind the LSV39 is practically maintenance free, providing years of exceptional function.  The service schedule is kept to a minimum, just a grease change every 1,000 hours of use will guarantee 2,500 hrs service life.  Long service intervals are as standard thanks to the sealed angle heads on all of 39 series grinders and sanders.

Greater power – greater productivity

The aesthetics of the LSV39 are cutting-edge with a new ergonomic trigger that provides comfortable handling and reduces total grip size. It’s top of its class too and provides 50% higher output than other grinders on the market.  Productivity can be improved by as much as 20%, providing increased power, which in turn provides faster material removal and improved productivity for your workforce.

Enjoy consistent performance thanks to the new air motor technology, even if it’s connected to a long hose. It gives off 1.8kw output with a 3 metre hose attached, so it gives an impressive output, enabling users to accomplish the trickiest of jobs in the most cramped conditions.

Ergonomic styling – less strain on the operator

The design of the new LRV39 has comfort in mind, textured non-slip grips make the tool comfortable to hold for the duration of the job and standardised Autobalancers on the grinder help to reduce operator stress and fatigue.

Not compromising on power or comfort the LSV39 enables customers to become more productive than ever before.

We have a complementary fit with a partner product too, the Atlas Copco LSV39 integrates nicely with the Pferd CC Grind Solid, which increases production and reduces vibration – the combination is truly fantastic and definitely worth a try!

If you are interested in a free trial of the Atlas Copco LSV39 grinder then please contact us to arrange a demo.

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Product Spotlight – Atlas Copco PF6000

atlas copco pf6000

Introducing a revolution in fastening solutions from Atlas Copco.  This new technology takes productivity, ergonomics, quality and environmental impact to a whole new level.   And all this with the most user-friendly experience ever. Enjoy the benefits of a system providing a unique operator experience, with superior quality control and the most flexible integration. The Power Focus 6000 and Tensor STR is the perfect option for your safety critical assembly processes!

Multi tool controller

The Power Focus 6000 increases your flexibility in rebalancing assembly lines. Now you are able to connect up to six tools to the same controller. Giving you a simpler installation with less cables, hardware components and network drops. Add to that the lower power consumption, less floor space utilisation and a much lower environmental footprint.

Common controller

Benefit from one platform for handheld and fixtured tools. The Power Focus 6000 reduces your inventory costs and training requirements. It’s easy to connect and has configure back up tools, using the same programming interface, becoming your common controller for all tooling requirements.

IAM – Intelligent application module

Software, tightening data and configuration – carry all important information with you in a future proof portable module. Easy to upgrade and stable with a rapid back-up function. Two software areas allow for smart software management. Allowing a much safer upgrade process, always giving the possibility to switch between two software versions.

For a competitive quote on the new Atlas Copco PF6000 fastening solution please call 01924 224240 or email

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Tool servicing – Why it’s important to your business

tool servicing

Here’s a commonplace scenario for many businesses, you purchase tools for important jobs and need them to be working consistently, but the question may be raised around the necessity of tool servicing and regular maintenance and if the extra cost is justifiable and you can just ‘get by’.

It’s a fact that broken tools result in downtime, which can affect your productivity, your relationships with your customers, compliance and even your staff morale.  So how can something like a comprehensive service package for your mission critical tooling equipment benefit your business.

Legal requirements

The main driver around tool safety is legal regulations, ensuring your business remains compliant with all the relevant legislation and fully complaint with the leading industry bodies is imperative.

The PUWER Regulations of 1998 are an important element to workplace safety, under regulation 4 it stipulates that “equipment should be suitable for the job.”  And, regulation 5, which focuses on maintenance goes on to state that “every employer shall ensure that work equipment is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.”

In order to remain complaint with these regulations you need to have a structured process in place for regularly maintaining and servicing your tools and equipment.

Prevent accidents

An employer has a duty of care to ensure a safe working environment and that any equipment used within their job role is safe and fully operational.  This is reflected under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1972 section 2 that highlights “Without risk to health so far as reasonably practicable.”

By regularly servicing your tools any potential issue can be identified and promptly resolved, this minimises the risks of any accident due to tools being faulty.

Improve productivity

Regular servicing of tools means any potential issues can often be avoided and if a fault does occur then swap out tools mean minimum downtime, so your staff can keep working, leading to a productive and efficient workforce across the year, keeping your essential projects on track and your customers happy.

Reduce vibration

Hand-arm vibration (HAVs) is vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ hands and arms. It can be caused by operating hand-held power tools, such as road breakers, and hand-guided equipment, such as powered lawnmowers, or by holding materials being processed by machines, such as pedestal grinders.

If tools are not properly maintained, then vibration levels could exceed those approved and the employer could risk breaching Health & Safety regulations which pose massive fines and your staff could be left with a debilitating disability, which could have easily been avoided.

From a compliance perspective the Control of Vibration at Work 2005 Regulations focus specifically on reduced exposure times to vibrations and ensuring the levels of exposure are acceptable.  Regular tool servicing ensures that your tools are not exceeding these levels and remain safe for your company and your workers.

Cost efficiency

It’s simply not a cost effective business model to replace tools as they break and in many cases proves costlier in the long run. If you take the analogy of car servicing, when purchasing a new car, you maintain regular service schedules, this ensures your vehicle is working efficiently and any problems are addressed, there is also the need to adhere to manufacturer recommendations to keep the warranty valid. The same principle applies for your tooling.

Increased lifespan

By having your tools regularly serviced you will get the best from them and extend their lifespan and they are likely to last longer than if there was no service plan in place.  Exact tool servicing depends on specific manufacturer requirements and the shift patterns and workloads the tool is used for.

Whatever your requirement, Abbey has a range of bespoke servicing and preventive maintenance packages to suit all businesses that provide complete traceability, accountability and compliance.

To learn more about our comprehensive tool servicing packages click here.

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