A VARIED CAREER AT S&D Part 1.
By Keith Rogers.
The Cobridge Contractor Road Sweeper on SD’s ‘P’ series chassis in operation with the Highland Council.
Peter Jarman photo.
I came to S&D in 1967 as Chief Jig & Tool Draughtsman working under Bob Edlin and alongside Arthur “Curly” Warren. In 1983 the Company was bought by the Dempster Division of Krug International and I managed a trip to the Dempster plant in Knoxville, my first and only visit to the States. I went with Mick Walker from the Service Dept. There we met up with Bill Ball, who had joined the company from British Leyland, and Walter Lees. What a eye opener that was! I had to sign for everything so that Walter could sign my expenses sheet. The day started with a trip to the plant, a couple of guided tours and back to the hotel bar to discuss what we had seen following dinner in the evening. On our return no one from the management asked how Mick and I had got on. I designed a few welding fixtures for the Dempster hopper, but I could sense that it was nearing the end for the company.
The following year, 1984, it was decided to close the Machine Shop and I worked with the Auctioneers to clear the factory of machines many of which were in poor condition. I remember a Milwaukee milling machine on which operating instructions were cast into the body in French and which dated from 1940.
[Your Editor has fond memories of the Ward 2A capstan lathe similar to that shown above – the first machine he operated at S&D as an apprentice.]
When once this was completed I was re-employed as a draughtsman. In 1986 S&D acquired the design, manufacturing and marketing rights of the Cobridge range of road sweepers from Cobridge Engineers of Thrapston. In the agreement, Shelvoke Dempster added the 7.5, 12/13 and 16-tonne GVW sweepers to its range of refuse collection and waste disposal equipment. The smallest machine , the District, was mounted on Commer chassis whilst the County and Contractor were usually on Dodge/Renault chassis.
Phil Clarke was the boss of Cobridge and I was made his draughtsman. He was great to work with, a good sense of humour and very enthusiastic in his work. He gave me lots of freedom and I enjoyed his daily limerick.
When in July 1990 production of the sweepers stopped I was made redundant again so I had the joy of being made redundant twice from the same company.
Keith Rogers. December 2020.
EDITOR’S NOTE ABOUT JIGS & TOOLS.
For readers who are unfamiliar with engineering production I feel some explanation of Keith’s work as Chief Jig & Tool Draughtsman is necessary.
Part of that work involved designing welding fixtures which hold parts in place so that the components can be welded together. There is quite some skill required to ensure that the completed part can be extracted from the fixture when it has been welded. The parts to be welded can vary in size from small brackets to complete refuse collection bodies.
The most common use of jigs is to accurately position drilled holes in a component to ensure that the parts fit correctly and if replacements are ever required they will fit together exactly.
Both jigs and fixtures will be produced by the Tool Room where the craftsmen produce one item at a time.