Shropshire firm gears up to help engineers building new information superhighway

Recruitment of fibre optic broadband engineers puts local manufacturing firm 

in pole position for new orders
A small company in rural Shropshire has become a new driving force behind the roll-out of high-speed fibre broadband across the UK.

CVL Limited of Craven Arms - a vehicle interiors design specialist - has won an order to fit out hundreds of new vans following a recruitment drive by Openreach, BT’s local network business.

The extra engineers have been recruited to help Openreach deliver high-speed fibre broadband for partnerships like Connecting Shropshire* and more than 40 other similar roll-outs around the country, as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The engineers all need specially fitted out vans to transport themselves and the specialised equipment they need to do their jobs.

CVL Limited, which has customers across the UK, specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of interior storage fittings for this kind of vehicle, which arrive as bare shells from the manufacturer.

The company’s 35-man team has already kitted out more than 1,000 ‘white vans’ for Openreach over the last 12 months, with many more in the pipeline.

Klaus Kolleth, owner of CVL Limited, said: “We were approached to design and build all the fittings for the new vans. The process began with the delivery of a complete set of all the kit an Openreach engineer would typically need to keep in the vehicle. Our team then set about designing the interior fittings needed to store all this equipment in the van and a prototype was built by hand.

“BT then sent a team - including an engineer, a manager, and a health and safety expert - to our workshop to review the design to make sure it would work for the engineers in their day-to-day role.

“This was important because we can easily plan storage space and make everything fit but only the engineer can say how the equipment is accessed and in which order. We then modified the design and a final pattern template was agreed. That way we ended up with an efficient and effective working area, with the storage space designed around the needs of the engineer – with everything in its place, safely stowed for transport but easily accessible onsite.”

Once the design was finalised, the process of automating its manufacture began. Using computer aided design tools the exact specifications were fed into huge machines which can cut out the parts needed for the 3-D jigsaw, 10 sheets of plywood thick at a time. These huge cutting machines automatically followed the template, to produce a flat-pack version, ready for the team to build and install in the van.

Duncan Webb, Director of Fleet for BT Group, who is based in Coventry, said “We started out with an order to fit out 80 vans but that has rapidly grown to more than 1,000 as the demands of the Openreach team grew. We were particularly impressed by the skills of Karl and his team to deliver a bespoke product on time and on budget to the quality we expect.”

Klaus Kolleth took over the business in 1998 from his father-in-law Derek Price who ran DJ Price Coachbuilders in Cannock. The name was changed in 2000 to CVL Limited (Commercial Vehicle Linings).


Note to Editors

About CVL Ltd
Commercial Vehicle Linings is one of the market leaders in the van accessory industry. Chosen by top fleets throughout the UK for its consistently high standards, attention to detail and reliability no matter the deadlines, the company is able to offer full van conversion facilities at its brand new 20,000 square foot Shropshire Production Facility in Craven Arms, the base for its highly skilled workshop accessory installers, converters and Southern mobile fitting teams. www.cvlltd.co.uk

About Connecting Shropshire
Connecting Shropshire is the name given to the programme bringing fibre based broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide it. It is a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband by the end of Spring 2016.

When added to BT’s commercial roll-out, 93 per cent of premises in the Shropshire Council area will have access to fibre based broadband by the end of spring 2016. All premises in the programme area will be provided with access to a basic level of broadband (a minimum of 2mbps).

Connecting Shropshire builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector, which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 111,000 Shropshire premises.