Return to 1980-1984

Vision 150

A move to help the
‘It’s splendid’, said Nora Tucker as she gave the new invention a tool tryout, watched by (from
left) RX apprentice Tim Orson, Lydmet apprentices Gary Martin and Stephen James, Colin
Burchell of the West Gloucestershire College of Further Education, and Colin Watkins, a
Whitecroft-Scovill apprentice.
RX apprentice Tim Orson, along with
three other apprentices attending the
West Gloucestershire College of
Further Education, had a project to do
for his TEC 3 (higher tech. cert.).
This being the International Year for
the Disabled, they decided on a joint
effort which would benefit the
From Ken Walker, manager of the
Alpha Works, a day centre for the
handicapped at Cinderford, they
learned about the difficulties
experienced by the disabled in cam/ing
out even/day tasks; there was, for
example, one lady w h o could not stand
or move about without the aid of sticks
and who needed something to help
her handle household objects.
The four put their heads together
and in due course produced the
professional-looking device in our
picture above.
This battery-operated elevating
trolley, based on the Zimmer walking
frame, now enables people like Nora
Tucker to move an object from one
surface level to another without having
to lift or cam/ it by hand.
At the push of a button, the trolley
tray will move up or down so the
operator can, for example, slide a pan
on to It f r om a table, guide the trolley
towards the stove, adjust the tray to
t h e n ew height, and slide the pan on to
t h e hob or into t he oven.
The invention took the apprentices
some eight months to design and
build, much of the work being done in
their spare time. Various companies,
including our own, donated
component parts and Tim mentioned
in particular t h e kind co-operation they
had received f r om our model shop.
At the handing-over ceremony, Mr
Walker congratulated the apprentices
on a magnificent achievement and
assured even/one that the device
w o u l d get the fullest use in the day
centre. ‘It w i l l ‘ , he said, ‘be especially
useful in the preparation of dishes in
the kitchen’.
Another invention — a special pliertype
can opener enabling a person to
open a can w i t h one hand — was the
result of an earlier project in w h i c h RX
apprentices Colin Cackett and Steve
Thorpe w e r e involved.
Both this and the elevating trolley
w e r e featured in a recent exhibition
held at the Cinderford college to mark
t h e Year of the Disabled.
Another interesting “materials tiandling” project (but on a mucfi vaster
scale/} has been carried out recently in our international supply centre —
see pages 6 and 7.
Tenth pensioners’ reunion
our two-way
‘I’m delighted to see so many young, fit and
tanned people — they look younger than
some of us at Mitcheldean’, said director
Ron Morfee, welcoming the 270 or so
attending the annual pensioners’ luncheon
and reunion on 20 June.
This was the tenth such occasion and the
numbers keep growing. ‘We now have
around 500 pensioners from Mitcheldean’,
reported Mr Morfee.
There were two “very long service”
people present — Reg Arnold and Henry
Phillips with 45 and 41 years’ service
respectively — and 20 people with 30 or
more years’ service, making a total of well
over 680 years’ service. (‘There’s enough
expertise here to start two companies’,
commented Bill Austin aftenwards).
Pensioners have a particular interest in
how we are doing, and Mr Morfee was
pleased to report that we had had an
excellent year, delivenng products on
schedule with good quality, and doing
something about cutting our costs.
The larger machines were going well and
we put a night shift on in July to increase
the output rate.
Doing the impossible
‘We are doing the impossible and exporting
high technology products to Japan in the
shape of the FX9500’, he said, and this
had given us good publicity. The Lydney
operation was ven/ successful and in April
this year we made the 50,000th machine
Following on that success we were
planning to introduce two more products
— one at Lydney and the other one here at
Mitcheldean next year.
We had gone out to get work for the
machine shop (in fact, a complicated part
of the Borg Warner gearboxes installed
in many cars was machined here at
Mitcheldean), and refurbishing was also
going well.
Referring to the 1981 manpower
situation, he said that ‘provided people are
prepared to move within the site, we hope
to solve that problem by voluntan/ means
and by adding to your numbers.
‘Members, past and present, can be
proud of Mitcheldean. We are now back
where we belong — at the head of the
Proposing a vote of thanks, Jim Evans
reviewed the progress of the RX
Pensioners’ Association which was set up
just over a year ago.
Jim is secretan/ of the west region,
which now covers the whole of Wales and
extends from Shropshire in the north
through Worcestershire, Herefordshire,
Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset down
to Devon and Cornwall.
With him at the top table were Fred
Wickstead, Henr/ Phillips, Fred Court, Len
Laken, Bill Beech and Stan Wheeler, all of
whom are visitors for this region (Bernard
Smith and Don Elliott, who were unable to
attend, are also visitors, along with Harry
Robertson from London).
Jim explained that the aims of the
association were to establish and maintain
a personal two-way link so that pensioners
could still feel part of the Rank Xerox family.
The association had already produced
three issues of its magazine; it was
planned that each region should have its
own news sheet within the magazine, and
he appealed to pensioners to contribute
more items about themselves for inclusion
in the publication.
Visits were taking place regularly. The
intention was that each pensioner should
be visited at least once a year, but if anyone
wanted to be visited more frequently, they
had only to say so.
He also asked pensioners to watch the
company’s interests by noting any
inaccuracies that crept into news put out
locally. Some wildly inaccurate statements
had been made recently and pensioners
could help greatly by reporting these so
that they could be officially challenged (ring
Jim on Gloucester 830580).
After the luncheon, people danced,
chatted and enjoyed a cup of tea. One
major topic of conversation was the group
holiday organized by Pensioners
Association secretan/ Arthur Hughes in
conjunction with Saga Holidays.
About 70 pensioners from all parts of the
company went along and, though staying in
various hotels, they all got together at preand
post-holiday cocktail parties (these
replaced the free ticket concession which
proved impossible to distnbute!).
It’s early days yet, but it is hoped that
further such holidays can be arranged in the
Overheard at t h e luncheon
‘ I asked my doctor whether I would live longer if I
gave up wine, women and cigarettes. He said:
“No, it’ll only seem longer!” ‘
Jimmy moves to UK Co.
Jimmy Bake, who for the past nine years has handled public relations for
Mitcheldean site, and for other Rank Xerox manufactunng plants, left us on
31 July to join the UK Company; he is taking up a similar role in the sales and
service sphere as manager, external relations, based at Uxbridge.
As corporate affairs manager Jimmy has looked after countless visitors
ranging from schoolchildren to top people, and has done much toward^
giving Mitcheldean a ‘fnendly face’. Group personnel director Ron Barnett, r
presenting him with a leaving gift at a farewell dinner, thanked him for always
being ready to help, whatever the problem.
His advice on journalistic matters and his cheerful approach will certainly Ron Barnett presents Jimmy Bake with a
be missed in the editorial office. Jimmy’s wife Gillian there were flowers.
ship’s decanter; for
Processing by PARCS
Engineering records go on line
In a recent issue of VISION EXTRA it was
announced that PARCS had gone live.
What does this mean to Mitcheldean? And
what IS PARCS?
PARCS stands for Part/Assembly
Records Control System and is basically a
method of keeping engineering records
within a computer. Previously these
records have been kept manually on card
Why are engineering records necessary?
Every product ever made has always
required drawings to convey the ideas of
the designer to the craftsman who makes
the part. Each drawing is given an
identifying number; when a product
consists of t w o or more parts you have the
beginnings of a parts list and a control
No two different parts should have the
same part number. And if more than one
product is being made you need to be able
to distinguish what belongs with what.
This is where engineering records come
in. They assign the part number, they
control the parts list and keep a record of
what parts belong to which product.
A drawing is never issued for very long
before it requires a change and this is
where another form of control is required.
The drawing now gets a revision and each
time a change takes place the revisions
Originally, when things were simpler,
records were kept by hand and parts lists
were also written, but with more and more
products coming into the range it soon
became necessary to use a computer.
Since the creation of SOLAR,
engineering have always maintained their
records on a data base called the “Design
Where Used List”. This data base has been
fed by XCN’s (Xerox Change Notices) and
forms the basic data base used by
manufacturing for all their purposes.
A disadvantage of this was it was not an
on-line data base and, although it contained
Welwyn and Venray records, it did not have
information on Xerox records activity.
How PARCS was born
It was during the early ‘seventies that the
multinational programme took off and the
idea of multinational single point design
became a major objective of Xerox. Out of a
range of multinational tasks, a major
achievement was the creation of the XCN.
This meant that all of Xerox engineering
could document their product design
activity into a single document. This XCN
soon began to highlight the fact that the
next logical step would be to have one
single worldwide engineering data base
located at Webster.
Moves to create such a data base began
in the mid ‘seventies and a major computer
system was considered under the title
ECMS (Engineering Configuration
Management System). This system would
integrate all existing data bases and would
provide all the records required by
engineering on a worldwide basis.
Left: Gladys Kirk, supervisor master
records, feeds information into the
system, watched by Dave Weyman,
senior supervisor engineering records,
and engineering office manager John
Below: Gladys and Sue Lazarevic
working at the old card system; until
the autumn, both manual and
computer record systems are being
run in parallel.
Unfortunately the plan was too grand and
failed through sheer size and complexity
but as an interim measure to ECMS a
temporar/ data base called PARCS was
This data base provided a means of
taking all the manual records into a
computer and allowing all necessary
corrections to be made prior to loading into
When ECMS was abandoned it was
recognized that PARCS in itself was already
a major step fonward and was worthy of
development as an engineering records
From the early days of ECMS, Rank
Xerox engineering have taken a
considerable interest in developments and
a project team was set up. Later, this team
was further strengthened by the
appointment of the first project manager,
Colin Bird. He controlled a team of
members from Welwyn, Venray and
Mitcheldean which provided information
systems and user expertise. Mitcheldean
was represented by John Brain and Dave
After the implementation of PARCS in
Welwyn and Venray earlier this year the
project management passed to Eric
Marie Hall (seated) and Margaret Townley
refer to the old part history file; in these
archives are kept records going back to our
very earliest models.
Sugden of Welwyn, who is deeply involved
with the implementation here in
Since Januan/ 1980, Gladys Kirk, Dave
Weyman and John Brain have been busy
loading and correcting records for loading
into PARCS. To do this, a temporary data
base was created at the British Oxygen
Company to hold all of the 140,000 master
To ensure the correctness of records,
ever/ drawing master held in the
engineering print room was checked for its
number of sheets and size. Slowly and
surely up until 1 June this year the accuracy
of the file was improved.
On the first day of June the load took
place; it was a ven/ good load and was one
of the best so far completed by Xerox.
To ensure Mitcheldean staff were
correctly trained to use PARCS, Gladys Kirk
visited Xerox in April and Kate Knowlton of
Xerox came for a two-week stay in June.
Now the first Mitcheldean XCN’s are
being processed within PARCS and the
system is being opened up to other users.
Draughtsmen and engineers will be able to
obtain information from the terminals
themselves. Passwords have already been
assigned to manufacturing personnel and
they will be able to access PARCS through
their own terminals.
As each new bit of information is
processed into PARCS, part history is being
created. The old part histon/ file — the
archives — will however be retained for the
use of refurbishing, SOUIRREL and other
functions which need to delve into the
Says engineering office manager John
Brain: ‘The PARCS system is going to be
much more accurate and provide greater
information concerning not only
Mitcheldean engineering drawings but also
those at all other sites, and it will form one
of the main building blocks for further
computensation of our methods.
Travellers’ tales
A personal view by translator Barbara Snell
The Wcarsawlsaw
The Swedish-built luxury Victory Hotel,
scene of the IX Translators’ World
Congress, looks out on Warsaw’s main
square where half a million citizens
thronged to greet their Pope last year.
On a Saturday in mid-May I watched
ordered lines of the three armed forces
commemorating “VE Day” (Victon/ in
Europe for the under 40’s) from the hotel
and three days later in that same square I
saw a much larger crowd vociferously
acclaiming the right of the agricultural
workers to form a union.
This was an exciting time to be in Poland;
on the following day the news reached the
TV set in the hotel lobby of the attempt on
the Pope’s life a few moments before;
soon even/one in the countn/ was aware of
it, as the Poles listen to their radios nonstop.
The morning bread and newspaper
queues lined the pavements as I looked for
the offices of “Solidarnosc”, the union
which is revolutionizing the countn/ with its
liberal attitudes. ‘Through the archway,
across the yard and up to the third floor flat’,
had been my instructions.
I found a roomful of young people, busily
recruiting members, selling Solidarity
badges and T-shirts and handing out
leaflets which I could not read.
The openness and populanty of the
movement were impressive. A banner
hung across the street, posters were
even/where and many people, from
chambermaids to congress delegates,
sported the symbolic little badges.
Palace of Art and Culture
The 250 participants at this triennial
Congress of the International Translators
Federation came from 34 different
countries, as far apart as South Korea and
the Argentine; between them they spoke
nearly as many languages.
A lot, we thought, until the Tanzanian
delegate told us ‘Africa is assumed to be
the cradle of more than one thousand
languages’, and explained the difficulties
involved in converting scientific terms into
languages which do not have words for
anything more modern than iron-age tools.
These are the same problems which faced
the Malays who use such terms as “fire
carriage” for a train and “ship that fly” for a
plane. These expressions are transparent
to everyone who speaks the language but
they become unwieldy in use and tend to
hinder technical communication. In Swahili
“silinda” and “skruba” are used for
“cylinder” and “screw”, but these words
do not mean anything to local people
unless they are learned in conjunction with
the objects, and this inhibits their use.
Warsaw’s main square
We heard how our word “system” is
translated by “mfumo”, the “act of
weaving”, which becomes very
complicated in certain contexts; and we
were told how the literal translation of
“cocktail” into “mkia wa jogoo”, (the tail of
the cock) had caused confusion on social
The scope and nature of the papers
presented at the Congress was ven/ wideranging
and their value was equally varied.
There was the usual quota of pompous
academic contnbutions, particularly from
the Eastern European delegations who one
could be sure were putting forward an
“approved line”.
Awareness of, and interest in, electronic
aids for translators were equally mixed.
Many of the participants from Europe
already used or were considering the use
of word processors in their translation
work, and the members of the large
Canadian contingent seemed astonished
that anyone could still be using a mere
An Algerian, on the other hand, stated
that all a translator needs is paper and
pencil to ply his trade. I made a convert of
him, and by the end of the week he was
anxious to hurry home and persuade his
brother in the government to introduce
word processors throughout the countn/!
My paper on “The Translator in the
Office of the Future” was well received,
particularly by people from the highly
developed countries which numerically
constituted the majority of the audience.
The brochures I had taken on the Xerox 485
telecopier disappeared as fast as I put them
out, as word processors are not yet fully
able to handle Cyrillic or Arabic alphabets,
to say nothing of Chinese characters.
Rolls Royces of the market
My trip to Warsaw was financed by
Eastern European Operations (EEO) and it
made an interesting change for me to be
acting as a company salesman, if only
indirectly. I learned that we are known only
for our copiers, regarded as the Rolls
Royces of the market and priced
accordingly out of everybody’s reach, it
appeared! People said, often sadly, ‘We
used to have one of your machines but ‘
and the stor/ usually ended with a
replacement Japanese model.
The 3107 which the company provided
for the congress was used really hard and
behaved ven/ well all week, much to my
relief! The copies were excellent and
although it is only a small machine it did the
work of a big one.
The Poles were most friendly and
hospitable people; they entertained us to a
reception and tour of the town, culminating
in an open-air concert in the park. Summer
arrived suddenly and I shall long remember
with nostalgia that sunny Sunday morning
by the lake, sitting between a Bulgarian and
a Finn, listening to Chopin exquisitely
played on a grand piano placed under a
statue of the Polish national hero. The
pianist — ironically — was a young
Japanese woman, (Do they do even/thing
so well?).
There was music, music everywhere in
Warsaw. I liked it least in the night club
under my fourth floor window of the Grand
(only in name) Hotel where the British
delegation stayed.
I enjoyed it most from the youngsters
who sat playing guitars on the steps of
monuments commemorating the
rebuilding of their shattered city, or the
cheerful bands of street musicians who
strummed around the open-air cafes in the
squares (only drinks were on sale, food
seemed to be “off” the menu).
You could buy excellent records for £1
each at the official rate of exchange (nearer
20p at black market rates) so long as you
wanted Chopin; blank stares greeted
requests for Russian composers and ears
went deaf if one spoke Russian, although it
is taught in all the schools!
The striking statue of Chopin
Warsaw struck me as a city of contrasts:
the shelves of the food shops were empty
but the churches were full; the quality of
goods available was low but the production
of Boris Godunov at the opera was
breathtaking in its grandeur; the grass in
the parks was long and neglected but the
flowerbeds were a blaze of colour.
The dingy greyness of the high-rise
blocks and noisy main streets gave an
added savour to the picturesque “old
town” — the heart of the city
reconstructed according to old
photographs and pictures out of the rubble
of its demolition by the Germans in 1944 to
as close a replica as possible to what it was
before its brutal and systematic
There is little evidence of “forgive and
forget” in Poland; the population, half of
which is under 30, is constantly reminded
of the past and I was glad we had been an
ally of this nation of brave and charming
people in the Second World War.
We in the West may imagine that the
differences between countries behind the
“curtain” are just cracks in an alliance: at
close quarters the differences look more
like chasms.
Since my return from Warsaw I follow
news of Poland with special interest and
Travellers’ tales
Looking down on the great Kariba dam.
Colin Weaver finds
Africa spectacular!
At an age when most English people would
settle for a deckchair on the prom in the
hope of seeing our elusive sun, Colin
Weaver flew out to where he was certain to
find it — in Africa.
A retired LSA member, 78-year-old Colin
worked at Mitcheldean for 15 years, from
1953 to 1968, first in the machine shop and
later on assembly and salvage work.
Colin has six children — four sons (two of
whom, John and Mike, are both in our
works engineering department) and two
daughters, and it was through the elder of
the two that he came to go so far south.
She and her husband went out to Africa
in 1952, and Colin now has not only
grandchildren but great-grandchildren
living in Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) and
South Africa.
They invited him to visit them and, being
a widower with only himself to suit, he
made the decision to travel the 5,000 or so
Disregarding a friend’s advice to ‘pack a
Sten gun’, he flew on 4 Februan/ to
Bulawayo, arriving during their autumn
with temperatures in the upper’seventies
and a tribal war in progress!
But the latter didn’t disturb Colin (except
during a couple of nights when he heard
gunfire some distance away).
Cars last longer
Colin’s daughter and her husband live on
the outskirts of Bulawayo which he found a
beautiful city. ‘The roads are mainly dead
straight and wide, even outside the city
itself. I saw a lot of old Moms 1000s, the
ones with the split windscreen. Cars last a
lot longer out there because it is dry and
you don’t get salt on the roads. There are
masses of cyclists too.’
Fruit is plentiful; so is meat in this cattlerearing
countn/, with best steak costing
around 40p per lb., so it’s not surprising
they are great meat eaters.
Mealies (corn-on-the-cob) is the staple
diet of the natives; they belong to different
tribes but to white people they are all
Kaffirs. ‘I couldn’t understand a word they
said’, commented Colin, ‘but I found them
a ven/ cheerful, happy bunch’.
while in Zimbabwe, Colin visited the
Matopos National Park and saw Cecil
Rhodes’ grave on a hilltop, surrounded by
huge granite boulders. He also motored
with his relatives via a fine main road built
through the bush to Salisbun/ for a five-day
stay with his grandchildren, during which
he got a rare close-up of the closely
guarded prime minister’s residence.
The most spectacular part of his whole
trip was when he flew to the north-west on
a never-to-be-forgotten six-day tour. The
family party landed at Kariba and enjoyed a
‘sundowner cruise’ on Lake Kariba. This is
the biggest man-made lake in the world,
formed by the damming of the great
Zambezi River which separates Zimbabwe
and Zambia. ‘It’s 180 miles long’, said Colin,
who has an admirable memory for facts
and figures.
Here he watched hippos and lions who
obligingly came to the water for their own
From the Kariba Heights he looked down
on the famous dam, and he also saw the
memorial to ‘Operation Noah’, the wildlife
rescue operation which took place before
the area was flooded.
Next on the itinerary was Wankie
National Park, a huge game reserve; then it
was on to see southern Africa’s greatest
show — the Victoria Falls. ‘They’re
absolutely fantastic’, said Colin, ‘The roar
can be heard three miles away. And when
there is a full moon you can see a lunar
Meeting Dr Livingstone’s statue at the
Victoria Falls. He Is reputed to be the first
white man ever to have seen these Falls.
On a visit to Cecil Rhodes’ grave.
Twice as wide and twice as high as
Niagara, they are divided into a number of
individual falls — the Horseshoe, the
Rainbow and the Main Falls, not to mention
a couple of cataracts and a ‘Boiling Pot’.
And in the rain forest created by the spray
there’s a fascinating variety of plant and
animal life — toucans, bulbuls and other
colourful birds and exotic flowers and
From the depths of tropical Africa Colin
flew down to the great modern city of
Johannesburg to see his greatgrandchildren.
City-size Woolworths
‘The centre of the city is mainly given over
to business and administrative buildings
and there are a series of shopping centres
on the outskirts’, he told us. ‘I found myself
in a Woolworths in Eastgate, about five
miles outside Jo’burg, which would take
the whole of Gloucester shopping centre!’
He visited the highest building — the
Carlton Centre — a 54-floor shopping/hotel
complex with underground parking for
1,500 cars.
Colin also saw another important
building — the Rank Xerox centre close to
the Jan Smuts airport, but ‘I didn’t have a
camera with me, or I’d have taken a photo
of it’, he said.
While in South Af nca he was taken to see
a collection of practically every variety of
the world’s big snakes, from mambas to
boa constnctors — not in the bush, we
might add, but safely behind glass in the
National Snake Park.
He flew back to Bulawayo before setting
off, on 28 March, on his homeward flight, a
journey of about 12 hours, with a change at
Salisbury and a call at Nairobi on the way
back to England, Heathrow and Ross-on-
He was back in good time for a
spectacular spring snowfall!
A N Y N E W S F O R V I S I O N?
If you have, then please —
m a i l i t to me c/o Corporate Affairs, Bid 51 /4,
or leave it at any Gate House for
collection by me,
or post it to me at Tree Tops, Plump Hill,
or ring me — ext 566 or Dean 542415.
Myrtle Fowler, Editor
New ISC system boosts exports
These narrow-aisle cran
On 21 July last, a new £300,000 spares
storage system was commissioned in
Mitcheldean’s international supply centre
which will enable fast-moving spares to
move some 20 per cent faster.
‘It increases the amount of space
available for spares and will enable us to
respond much more quickly to orders from
our operating companies around the
world’, says Terr/ Ouartermaine, Rank
Xerox manager of international supply.
Mitcheldean’s ISC is responsible for the
shipment of machines and spares, of which
80 per cent goes for export. The
warehouse operation has grown in recent
years and significant increases in the
volume of these commodities are forecast
for the future.
This posed the supply centre with the
problem of how to gain better cubic
utilization of the space available, and at the
same time speed up throughput.
Operations manager Alan Phelps
explained to us how, in conjunction with
Integrated Handling Ltd of Bnerley Hill,
West Midlands, they came up with the
solution — a storage system that is unique
in this countr/.
‘First we recognized the need to
categorize our stock’, he told us, ‘and we
went through a computer selection
process, based on history files, which
identified the items that move more
‘It is these fast-moving palletized items
which are stocked in the new racking
system and we review the status
frequently to ensure that the specification
is maintained’.
Inspecting the new storage system are (from left) John Hodgson, major projects manager,
operations manaqer Alan Phelps and Ken Rule, warehouse operations manager.
A view down one of the 180ft long narrow
aisles. The racking structure is 26ft high and
has a total of over 2,500 pallet locations.
There are transfer aisles at either end of the installatior
crane goes ” r o u n d the bend” into one of the narrowaisli
What makes the system operate faster is
the use of stacker cranes, known as
Rackstackers, which can drive round
Their ability to “go round the bend” (the
secret lies in the retractable guide-wheels)
means that no expensive, time-consuming
transfer carriage is needed to lift a crane
from one aisle to another when required.
The Rackstackers can be driven to where
they are needed on the track rail.
This makes it possible for three cranes to
operate the six aisles. Each is normally
restricted to working within a two-aisle
zone and when picking in one is completed,
the list can be passed on to the next crane.
But if any crane develops a fault, it can be
pushed along to the maintenance bay and
its zone operated by another crane, so the
whole system continues to be fully
Controls in the cabs are manually
operated but the instructions are
transmitted to the machine via a
microprocessor “brain” which also
provides a diagnostic capability. Should
something go wrong, the crane is plugged
into a test set in the maintenance bay, the
fault is identified on a diagnostic panel and
repairs can go ahead.
Says John Hodgson, who as major
projects manager was responsible for the
implementation of the system: ‘This cuts
down-time to a minimum — hunting for a
fault could othenA/ise take hours. But apart
from this, the installation has an extremely
low incidence of down-time (around 2 per
cent) which also includes preventive
es drive our spares ^ Vouiiif
Further time is saved by the fact that, if
the crane is to move from, say, a ground
level to a top level location, the driver
operates a joystick and the crane rises
diagonally to the new position as it goes
along the aisle.
There are over 2,500 pallet locations in
the racking; goods are removed by
telescopic forks, mounted on a platen
between the mast and the cab, which will
open out on either side.
Safety Factor
Great attention has been paid to safety.
The installation is enclosed on its three
accessible sides by a mesh guard, the
whole area being sealed off by a special
locking system so no one can casually
enter and wander round.
Collisions are avoided by the fitting of
infra-red scanners to the top part of each
crane where it runs along a “steady rail”.
These scanners face both directions of
travel and if an obstacle is detected, the
power immediately cuts out.
The speed of the crane is automatically
controlled at 125m per minute when
moving straight along the aisle (that’s 25
per cent faster than standard). But as the
crane approaches the end of each aisle, it is
automatically slowed down to 21m per
minute, and it keeps to this safe speed as it
is switched on to a spur, or continues along
the straight track in the “transfer aisles” at
either end of the installation.
At 1.25m (45in.) wide, the aisles are even
narrower than those of the neighbouring
tote-and-stillage racking installed five years
ago — there is a clearance of about 8cm
(3in.) on either side.
But the high density effect is offset by
the white-painted metalwork of the racking
and the softer sodium lighting which is
easier on the eyes of the operators.
To protect the high concentration of
parts from risk of fire, the overhead
sprinklers have been augmented by
positioning sprinklers at two levels
between the racks.
In fact, the whole sprinkler system in bid.
41 has been extended to give greater
protection within the various types of
racking so that any fire would be contained
before it reached the building structure.
Looking ahead
‘This latest installation is not the end of
the line’, says Alan Phelps. ‘We are looking
ahead to further development that will use
our cubic capacity to the full, and provide
even greater efficiency and speed of
‘The quicker and smarter we get, the
better w e can cope with demands made on
Below: In the goods inwards area Joe
Adiam and supervisor Richard Watts
check the location of fast-moving parts
f r om a computer-generated list.
Behind t h em is the input face of the
storage system.
The commissioning of
ttiis storage installation
completes investment of
£800,000 in Rank Xerox
supply operations this
year. Recently, a
mechanization system
on similar lines came
on stream at Welwyn
Garden City
international supply
operations supervisor John French demonstrates the
system, using a master key to release the three crane
Right: The picked order is
fed out by roller conveyor
at one of the three pick-up
points and taken by
forklift truck to the
marshalling area.
Left: Discussing the project
during the planning stage are
(from left) Graham Taylor
(works engineering), Ray Turner
(ISC) and Pat Madley (facilities
Four-diamond Les leaves
Our longest-serving employee, LesTuffley
of the tool room, who retired in June, has
enough anecdotes about his 40 years at
Mitcheldean to fill the whole of this page —
and some more.
For instance, there was the time when
George Fricker, then tool room supen/isor,
called Les into his office and told him there
was a mouse in the desk drawer. Suddenly
they saw it running around the floor and
Les took a swipe at it with a mallet.
The mouse escaped, but Les scored a
bull’s eye on George’s foot. ‘It kept him
limping for nearly three weeks’, said Les,
‘but he didn’t hold it against mel’
Then there was the time when the late
Bob Baker, who was works superintendent
and who normally gave warning when he
was going to drop in dunng the night shift,
called in unexpectedly and found one chap
He summoned the foreman who said:
‘Oh dear, I’m always telling him about that!’
There was another unexpected visit in
the small hours by a fearsome lady facton/
inspector — but if we go on we’ll have no
room for facts about Les himself.
He’s ven/ articulate which is probably
one reason why, having been elected AEU
Now the possessor of a fourdiamond
40-year service award,
Les is all set to find more
treasure w i th a metal detector, a
gift to mark his long service,
presented (above) by Roy
Powell, manager assembly. A
week later Les shared a goodbye
occasion (right) with colleague
Roy Winstone who was retiring
after 16 years’ service. Roy took
a particular interest in helping
two of our work experience lads
in the tool room. Pictured with
Les and Roy are managers John
Smith and Des Jones.
shop steward in 1956, he was made works
convenor the same year and served as
such for 15 years.
Les is one of our best known
Dersonalities, not only on site but also in
Vlitcheldean village and the surrounding
area, and he has a long record of
community service.
Elected to East Dean RDC in May 1958,
he joined the Forest of Dean RDC on its
re-organization in 1974 and he is currently
chairman of the environmental health
committee, and a member of the housing
committee, as well as serving on six subcommittees.
He also represents the RDC on the board
of governors of the West Gloucestershire
College of Further Education.
Nearer home, he is chairman of
Mitcheldean parish council and is also
treasurer of Mitcheldean sports club,
having been its chairman for several years
and a committee member for many more.
With so many commitments (‘I have an
understanding wife’, explains Les) he is not
likely to find time hang heavy on his hands.
But he intends to devote some of it to
treasure seeking.
For Les is a numismatist and, now that
he’s the owner of a metal detector, he says
‘I’m banking on finding a haul of golden
Having worked on night shift right up to the very last, leading hand Bob Hoyles came in to say goodbye on his retirement after some 22 years’
service in the ISC warehouse. ‘You will certainly be missed’, said manager Ken Rule who made a presentation on behalf of Bob’s colleagues.
Retiring after 21 years’ service as a full-time union official for the EETPU, Don Houlden was presented with a pewter tankard by senior
steward Bill Griffin as a token of appreciation f r om union members at Mitcheldean when he visited us on 10 July. Earlier he had toured the
site, had been entertained by Bill, Dave Bunday and Colin Butler, and had talked with personnel manager Derek Knibbs. Mr Houlden said he
was very impressed w i th the general cleanliness of our “extremely pleasant” plant. ‘If there was an industrial relations league in being, I
would put this company way up in the top half of the first division — about Liverpool standard!’ he told VISION.
At a lively skittles evening in the club house, Reg Malsom, manager general accounting,
presented George Turner with a set of cut-glass Continental whiskey glasses as a token of
everyone’s regard.
“The lady w i t h the lamp” — Kathy Knight receives the LSA’s retirement gift from Tony Cale
who was making his “maiden” presentation as an LSA vice-president.
To Swansea & the Mumbles
Having collected some 85 people from
the Gloucester, Ross and Forest of Dean
areas, two coaches met up at Coleford on
the morning of 17 June and made their
way to South Wales.
Their destination — Swansea and the
Mumbles. Their passengers — retired
members of the LSA and their guests,
ready to enjoy the annual summer outing
laid on for them by the association.
They were hosted by the committee
plus two first-aiders, Jill Maxfield and Ken
Hook, and thanks to the careful planning
that went on beforehand, the whole trip
went off without a hitch.
First stop was at Raglan Sen/ices, then
it was on to Swansea via Newport. A stop
for lunch was made in Langland Bay, the
far side of the Mumbles. Bill Broome had
provided an excellent packed meal and
tidy committee members went round
with black plastic bags to collect the
rubbish aftenwards!
It was dp/, if not always warm and
sunny, and the party spent some two
hours exploring before journeying to
Swansea for a further two-hour stay,
Edwards’ drivers considerately depositing
them right near the shops to save
their legs.
They came back on the heads of the
valleys road, calling in at Cripple Creek, an
inn in Raglan, where they were invited to
have their first drink ‘on the LSA’.
They left about 8.15 pm and it was
10.30 pm by the time the last one was
set down close to home, after (as one
couple put it in their letter of thanks)
a ‘lovely outing which gave us so much
Since it wasn’t possible to make a presentation to Helene West (configuration control) on
her retirement after 20 years’ service, LSA secretary Dennis Barnard took the opportunity to
put things right during the outing.
T w o officers retire
The LSA committee recently lost two of its
officers — through the retirement of
former treasurer George Turner in June,
and minute secretan/ Kathy Knight in July.
During his 26 years with the company,
first in London and since the late ‘fifties at
Mitcheldean, George’s work has involved
dealing with money in one form or another
— whether it was concerning credit control
or sales ledgers, as chief time-clerk, as
assistant wages supen/isor or, more
recently, as an accountant.
A member of the LSA committee for
about ten years, he was a natural choice as
Its treasurer, a post he has fulfilled for the
last seven years.
In the early days, due to his bearing
and the fact that he always carried a
camera around with him (in the hope of one
day securing the ‘scoop of the year’),
George was known as ‘King Farouk’, and
‘Farouk’s Bar’ was a mecca for many at
Christmastime and at parties.
His ability to discourse on any subject,
DIUS his excellent memon/, also led to his
Deing regarded as something of an oracle
on site.
His wife Man/ and two daughters have
worked at Mitcheldean in the past, and he
retains family associations with us through
sons-in-law Rob Ryder in finance and Vic
Jones in SQA.
Notes on Kathy
Though originally a secretan/, Kathy came
to Mitcheldean 21 years ago as an
assembly worker. After some years, she
decided she would like to return to
secretarial work; so she took a refresher
course and 12 years ago re-embarked on a
secretarial career, working for various
managers in the reconditioning/assembly
areas — most recently for Graham Linley.
She took over the additional ob of minute
secretan/ for the LSA when Daisy Bullock
retired a year ago. ‘She’s done a good job
and I’m ven/ sorr/ to see her go’, says
secretan/ Dennis Barnard.
Kathy too has family associations with
us; her husband Maurice, now a sergeant
in security, joined us a month after she did,
and she has a son-in-law, Derek Parker,
working in payment operations.
Another June retirement was that of
Gruffydd Jenkins, better known as Griff. He
joined industrial engineering as a section
leader in work study in Januan/ 1962 and
remained an IE man for all of his 19 years
with us.
Brian Bowen, in charge of the standard
audit/standards procedure area where Griff
was employed, presented him with a lamp
in the form of a globe which came with his
colleagues’ best wishes for the future.
Tall story
Clive Brookes is one of four brothers, all
over 6ft tall, who have worked at
Mitcheldean. Myles left some six years
ago; Nigel (MED) followed suit last year;
then Clive recently opted to leave after 27
years’ service. Now, out of 24/2ft of
Brookes brothers, we have only 6ft 1 in. left
— in the shape of Roger (a foreman in DBA
assembly) who is in his 22nd year with us.
Somehow LSA dinners will never sound
the same again!
Flying visit
Rank Xerox Aeromodellers got the
professional’s slant on things when, on 17
June, by arrangement with British Airways,
they and their guests enjoyed an illustrated
talk and film given by the Flight Manager
Midlands, Captain R. M. Clarke.
With the aid of slides, he descnbed the
services run by British Airways out of
Birmingham airport, the type of aircraft
used, and all the pre-flight planning
involved in getting an aircraft off the
The fleet of B1-1 Is cam/ out a range of
short-haul operations in this countr/ and
abroad; their scheduled services to the
Continent are used mainly by businessmen
and are timed to allow them to complete a
day’s work at Paris, Amsterdam,
DiJsseldorf or other near-European cities
and return the same evening.
With most trips under the hour, and a
turn-round of aircraft effected in half an
hour, British Airways crews have to work
harder on the ground than in the air.
A great deal of necessan/ information
concerning weather conditions, fuel
requirements, location of individual aircraft,
development of any faults, etc., is supplied
by computer.
In addition to planning the flight, a
multitude of tasks has to be carried out in
the half-hour run-up to take-off —
checking, briefing, getting in supplies of
fuel and catehng supplies. But nevertheless
they manage to average 95 per
cent punctuality.
After a break for refreshments, Capt.
Clarke showed a film on ‘The Making of a
Pilot’ which revealed the comprehensive
training undergone by those selected
(mostly graduates these days) which
transformed them into highly professional
pilots qualified to climb into the cockpit of a
passenger-carrying aircraft.
At the end of the film, Capt. Clarke
obligingly answered a variety of questions
from the audience (some of whom
included a number of ex-pilots) before this
most interesting evening came to an end.
Eyes on Safety
Total number of
accidents for period:
May/June ’80 May/June ’81
RX Aeromodellers discuss flight management on model lines w i th Captain R. M. Clarke at the
recent club meeting.
Winners in Wales
A smaller than usual group of golfers made
their way to St Mellons on 16 June to
compete for the Scratch and Powell Cups.
Some were unable to follow the Welsh
road signs and made rather larger detours
than were absolutely necessan/.
The morning round was won by Danny
Haines with a brilliant net 65; runner-up
was Roy Taylor with a “farmed” 69. The
afternoon round found a three-way tie
between Tern/ Osborne, Goro Kushida and
Danny Haines, all with a net 71.
Overall winner of the Powell Cup was
Danny with a net 136 while Roy Taylor was
runner-up with a net 142.
The other competition (!), the Scratch
Cup, was won for the sixth consecutive
time by Geoff Paton with a gross 159, while
Johnny Cash was a Scratch Cup
“bridesmaid” with a gross 160.
Monday, 20 July, saw the visit to Clevedon
for the Summer Cup. Scoring was on the
low side, due to the windy conditions;
however, Dave Robinson put together a
ven/ good morning round of net 67, Ken
Ellway and Johnny Cash tying for second
place with a net 77.
The afternoon round was won by Billy
Gilmour, that evergreen Scotsman, with a
net 69, the runner-up being Ron Carter with
a net 70.
The overall winner of the Summer Cup
was Dave Robinson with a net 143, while
the runner-up yet again was Johnny Cash
with a net 147.
Committee changes
There have been considerable changes
recently in the Sports & Social Club
Because of increased commitments,
Mike Cooper has relinquished the
chairmanship and Ken Cook, who is also a
trustee, has been elected to succeed him.
Two other officers have also resigned —
vice-chairman Brian Rhoades and treasurer
Tony Sharpe. Dave Palmer has taken over
the vice-chairmanship and Mike Keen has
once again come to the rescue and is
keeping the figures in order.
George Cooper, a former trustee, has
now retired and a special meeting is being
held to appoint a new trustee.
Committee member Sid Rhoades has
also resigned and three new members
have joined the committee — Brian Aitken,
Robin Hale and Ivor Townley.
The cumulative total for the current
safety year to June is 68, compared v\/ith
103 for the same period last year.
The not-so-gentle art of
Our thoughts being directed to all things
Japanese, it occurred to us that there was a
growing interest in yet another import from
Japan — the martial arts of judo, aikido and
karate — among Mitcheldean’s menfolk.
What, we wondered, made them take up
this kind of activity? Was it purely to equip
themselves with a means of self-defence
without weapons? Or did it help them to
limber up mentally as well as physically,
enabling them to cope better with today’s
We did a bit of research among
Mitcheldean’s ‘martial artists’ — and at the
same time tned to discover which of the
styles would be most suitable/least painful
for the gentle sex. (After all, they too have
problems to wrestle with — and some of
those problems are men!)
We’ve had a karate club here on site
since the 1960’s, so it seemed an obvious
place to make a start. The club have a
strong link-up with Abenhall School — so it
can’t be all that hazardous if girls as well as
boys go along, can it?
It can.
We talked first to Brian John (he had a
twisted toe joint). ‘I’m the longest surviving
member of the club’, he said. (We didn’t
like the sound of that much.)
The popular image of karate is of the
“hard” kind where they go in for free
fighting, breaking bricks with a well-placed
chop of the hand and suchlike. ‘But’,
explained Brian, ‘our club does Shotokai,
which is a “soft” style, much less
Even so, you’re likely to suffer a bruise or
at least a stiff arm from blocking a punch
from your opponent.
Club member Robin Healey of
engineering optics (he does it basically as a
means of keeping fit) said: ‘I think our type
of karate is quite suitable for women but
we don’t have any among the membership.
I think they find the exercising part too
What about judo? It’s been called “the
gentle art of self-defence” and seems to
be very much a dad-and-son affair.
We talked to Mike Wilding (group
purchase). We’d heard that he’d given up
morns dancing (‘I was hit by an excited
chap during a stick dance and landed up in
plaster in hospital’) and had taken up judo
instead at a Cinderford club. ‘I felt it would
be safer’, he told us.
Sean White (left) demonstrates
why a padded mat is useful at .
aikido sessions. /
How had he been getting on? we
enquired. ‘It’s stunning — I got laid out last
Friday!’ he replied. So much for padded
Falls, we learned, are crucial in judo. It’s
essential to develop a good falling
technique. You don’t just relax like a soggy
dish rag — you have to curl up and roll.
Then there are the numerous throws,
arm-locks and other manoeuvres to
master. It’s all very energetic. In fact,
Roland de Raima (RX Lydney), another judo
man, said he found the sport a good
slimming exercise.
Some Mitcheldean men, it seems, are
masochists about martial arts. Bill Smith
(CBA assembly) — he’s an instructor at
Ross judo club — and Sam Phillips (MED)
practise aikido as well as judo. Why both?
It must be insanity’, laughed Sam. ‘I’ve
broken all my toes in turn’, admitted Bill.
The techniques of aikido, according to
the literature, provide “an effective
method of self-defence in addition to
fostering physical and mental well-being
regardless of age and sex.”
We recently had a chance to see a
training session conducted by a visiting
Japanese expert in the village hall at The
Pludds, near Ruardean.
As we drew near the hall, we heard the
familiar bangs one learns to associate with
a “break fall”. As you approach the mat at
speed, and quite possibly upside down at
the time, you slap the ground hard and this
breaks the impact. That is — when you get
the hang of it.
The club instructor is Mike Davies (CBA
assembly) who is ven/ hot on etiquette. He
came to aikido by way of karate and
believes passionately in its beneficial
effects, both physical and mental.
‘We don’t learn aikido to get to know
how to smash anyone up. We follow the
principle of non-resistance — movements
Instructor Mike Davies (wearing the black
“hakama”) shows how aikido is done — in
f l o w i n g style.
are flowing and rounded and you control
your opponent through your knowledge of
vulnerable points at wrist, neck, knee, etc’
What did he get out of it personally? we
asked. ‘Aikido teaches you self-control, and
I find I don’t lose my cool so often now, he
said. Of course, accidents happen from
time to time, but that’s true of many
The fact is that the martial arts aren’t a
pushover. They require a great deal of
practice — painful practice — before they
come in handy as a means of defending
oneself. And where expertise is equal on
either side, then it’s always the stronger of
the t w o who gains the upper hand.
However, it’s all splendid exercise for
sharpening your mind. In fact, your mind is
the only part of you that won’t get hurt.
As for women — the easiest form of
self-defence (and it doesn’t require any
practice) still seems to be a good oldfashioned
Betty gets her century
‘I had three pints in a blood transfusion some years ago, so I thought I’d
do something in return’, said Betty Ellway of CBA assembly. But she
gave far more than she’d been given — 100 pints to be exact, over a
penod of three and a half years!
Betty started as a donor at Mitcheldean sessions; then when it was
found her blood was suitable for supplying the white cells used in the
treatment of certain diseases, arrangements were made for herto attend
Southmead Hospital at Bristol once a week.
As the pints mounted up, she collected a bronze, a silver and then a
gold badge for her contributions; getting her centun/ was marked by the
presentation of a certificate and a Wedgwood plate bearing the symbol of
the transfusion service, which she is pictured showing her workmates
Olwen Bick, Rose Lloyd, Ada Blewittand Freda Jones.
‘I never minded giving blood’, she told us, ‘but I didn’t like having my
thumb phcked for the test!’
Putting you in the picture
Mr & Mrs Brian Weyman Mr & Mrs Chris Warren Mr & Mrs Phillip Wynn
Robin Maxfield (MED) to Jill Mingham
(commodity operations) at Newent Church
on 4 April.
Armando Nardecchia (QA) to Elaine
Hodges (electrical subs.) at St Stephen’s
Church, Cinderford, on 2 May.
Roseman/ Meek (production control) to
Kevin Baldwin at Holy Trinity Church,
Dn/brook, on 23 May.
Stephen Wintle (MED) to Chnstine
Symonds at St Man/’s Church, Ross-on-
Wye, on 6 June.
David Baynham (MED) to Lynette Brown at
St Stephen’s Church, Cinderford, on 6
Bnan Weyman (PCD) to Vicki Beard at St
Michael’s & All Angels Church,
Mitcheldean, on 6 June.
Chris Warren (tool control) to Jane Lucas at
St Peter’s Church, Newnham-on-Severn,
on 20 June.
Philip Wynn (electrical maintenance) to
Teresa Bevan at Lydbrook Church on 27
Joan Baird (stock control) 9 years; Nesta
Broadman (stock control) 13 years; Bert
Collett (receiving inspection) 18 years;
George Cooper (PCD) 8/2 years; Jack
Freeman (CMSA) 14 years; Dave Griffiths
(MG mfg eng.) 8 years; Gilbert Hawkins
(QA) 17/2 years; Hilda Howells (CMSA) 10
years; Joseph Hurley (support group) 14
years; Phil Kelly (works engineering) nearly
13 years; Len Lewis (internal transport)
15’/2 years; Laurie Rawlings (SQA) 18
years; Maurice Raw (business planning)
2>2 years; Ivor Roberts (internal transport)
15 years; Joan Rooke (personnel
reception) 14 years; Edwin Smith (stock
control) 10 years; Donald Thomas
(payment operations) 9 years; Walter
Thomas (MED) nearly 9 years; Pete
Watson (tool control) 12 years; Howard
Worsfold (supply centre) 8 years; Mary
Ireland (engineering) 14 years; Madge
Price (supply centre) nearly 8 years; Marion
Parsons (cleaning) almost 4 years; Jim
Price (production stores) nearly 8 years.
(See also LSA Letter).
Richard Andrew, a son for Ray Lawrence
(press shop) and his wife Alma (formerly
security), on 17 May.
Two people received extra long sen/ice
awards last June: LesTuffley qualified for a
four-diamond award for 40 years’ service
and received this just before his retirement
(see page 8) while George Hayward
completed 30 years’ sen^’ice, which earned
him a three-diamond award.
Above: A double farewell in CMSA to Hilda Howells (10 years’ service) and Jack Freeman (14
years) on their recent retirement; manager Mike Cooper made the presentations.
Above: Dick Taylor, whose retirement was listed i n c u r last issue, takes leave of his colleagues
in tool inspection after 11 years’ service, and manager Dennis Beddis presents him with a
goodbye gift.
Currently working at Lydney, George
joined us in 1951 to work on Bell & Howell
projector assembly in the maltings; during
his time with us he has worked on our small
to medium machines, from the 813 to the
recently introduced 5600. In due course he
was made a leading hand and in 1973 was
promoted to supervisor.
Both his sons, Paul and Derek, work in
production control in bid 24 — Derek in
refurbishing and Paul in assembly.
In his active rugby days George used to
play prop forward for Ross-on-Wye, and
today he likes to follow the fortunes of
Gloucester RFC. He’s also interested in
gardening and, now that he has a
greenhouse — his choice of company gift
— he says ‘I’ll be able to produce some
early tomatoes!’
Qthers who have become eligible for
company service awards are:
20 Years
June — Bev John (toting control); July —
Maureen Jaynes (file control), Barr/ Hall
(commodity operations).
We record with regret the death of Amy
Miles (formerly assembly) on 20 July. Our
sympathy goes to her family.
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