BlueMac – Manufacturing excellence in Northern Ireland

We took a tour of BlueMac, Blue Group’s high tech manufacturing facility in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone. Spread across two sites the BlueMac manufacturing operation is a hive of activity with some of the best manufacturing techniques in the industry available.

We caught up with Daniel McCusker who talked to us about BlueMac “To get where we are now within three years has been quite remarkable, and the expansion of the company is down to the dedication and commitment of the whole BlueMac team, through sales, design, production, purchasing, and support. This has allowed us, from a standing start, to build and install 60 recycling plants across the UK and worldwide, a huge achievement for everyone involved.

We have also invested heavily in technology to enable us to move forward in this way, and have achieved our ISO goals successfully, acquiring ISO 9001 for quality, 18001 for health and safety and 14001 for environmental standards. We also have achieved our CE certification for structural steel, which is very important when manufacturing plants, picking stations and walkways which people will be moving around on.”

“There has also been heavy investment in laser technology allowing for the highly accurate cutting of steel. Our latest addition which is our third laser cutting machine is the largest in Northern Ireland and capable of cutting huge 9m by 3m sheets, up to 20mm thick. This gives us a big advantage as we can design our products around these cutting capabilities.”

“The UK and Irish markets are very important to us and Internationally there is huge potential, so we now have two international sales people on the road promoting BlueMac. We have secured our first major Australian dealer in the last 12 months and will be installing our first extensive plant in the Sydney area very soon. We also have a second plant en-route for Australia which will be installed in January 2017 and a third one coming online imminently. As well as Australia, we are currently doing a lot of work in the Middle East, Asia and South America.”

BlueMac will continue to increase their global dealer network and support their dealers fully from the factory, both in terms of marketing and with technical expertise provided by BlueMac engineers who will visit the customers site for in-depth analysis and investigation with the dealer, to identify the optimum plant specification for their material needs.

Daniel added “Our turnover has grown substantially over the last three years, from £2.9m to £6.5m and to manage that growth we have expanded from 9,000 sq ft to 50,000 sq ft which gives us enough capacity to enable us to increase our turnover in line with our exciting growth plans over the next few years.”

BlueMac manufacture all their own components
The first site we visited was the manufacturing facility. Here, all BlueMac components are produced from scratch using only the highest quality steel which is sourced from their preferred suppliers. Oliver McShane walked us around the facility “This is where all the cutting and folding is done for all projects and we currently cut around 100 tonne of steel per week. We have recently made an investment of £1m and installed a laser cutter and a new press break allowing us to increase production. We use industry standard Sigma Nest Nest software which allows an operator to queue up all the cutting jobs throughout the day and Sigma Color Offload is installed on each laser or plasma cutting machine which tells each operator sheet size, cutting time, and all parts are colour coded for identification to each specific job. This technology gives us full traceability for all jobs and vital communication between team members is also enabled and documented.”

“The 4-way plate rollers we have can roll steel up to 20mm, and are used for rolling the trommel drums which gives us a much higher quality drum without any flat-spots. Our press breaks are used for folding the material and we can fold up to 8m lengths of steel with 800 tonnes of pressure, giving us a lot of flexibility. By manufacturing all of our own components, this gives us the advantage of controlling the lead time for each project more efficiently. We also have a 500 tonne steel stock holding at any one time, allowing us to react quickly and fulfil orders.”

BlueMac’s manufacturing investment includes a self-loading laser cutting machine which allows for full automation of the loading and cutting procedure, keeping everything moving quickly and efficiently. This machine will even send a text message if it encounters any issues whilst running. Because of the levels of investment made in the latest technology, the 12 staff at this facility are able to work throughout the day and night on different shift patterns, allowing them to quickly produce the high quality components that are required for each BlueMac project.

Oliver also added “With multiple machines installed for each process in this facility, even if we have a technical issue with one machine, we can use the Sigma Nest software to re-route it to another machine enabling the job to be done with no down-time at all.”

Moving to the second site, this is where all the painting is completed, followed by full assembly and testing of each product. The new paint shop includes a high tech paint mixing system, operator personal fresh air supplies and full extraction, allowing 8 to 10 component racks to be completed each day. The assembly area covers can accommodate even the larger BlueMac products within its bays. All plants and products are assembled here for full testing and quality checks, before they are then dismantled and packaged ready for dispatch to the client. BlueMacs’ own engineers will visit the client site to look after all aspects of the installation, and then complete full commissioning of the plant. Their very hands-on approach is vital in making sure everything is handled correctly.

Pat McGeary, Chairman of Blue Group is a strong believer in this approach and commented “As with all Blue Group companies, our philosophy is to fully support the customer, not just throughout the sale, manufacture and installation process, but the entire life of the equipment purchased. BlueMAC also have the advantage of the Group’s backing, meaning customers know that we are going to be around supporting them for as long as they need us.”

For more information about BlueMac please visit or call +44(0)288 775 5139.

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