During the Second World War, the company became heavily involved in munitions work, using the electric-arc welding process. By this time, Ferdinand's son, Eric Bode, had assumed control and he was responsible for the design of the first welding positioner, which led to a great increase in productivity, to the delight of the War Ministry. The company then patented the original Self-Aligning Rotator, which is now built in capacities up to 1,200 tonnes, for the fabrication of large cylindrical vessels.
After the War, Eric Bode increased the range of specialised welding products and demand from all over the world was such that the Engineering Division built a new factory in 1956, giving it 100,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity (the largest of its kind in Europe). This period saw rapid world-wide expansion of the power generation industry and BODE worked very closely with General Electric and Babcock Energy on important projects.
Bode rotators have also proved indispensable in the fabrication of vessels for the Petrochemical, Aerospace, Nuclear and Offshore industries. BODE has produced a range of Column and Boom Manipulators, including machines with maximum height under boom of 14 metres and maximum boom arc travel of 12 metres, capable of supporting welding equipment, etc., up to 1,000 kgs.
The company has also been involved in the modernisation programme at Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd (VSEL) providing special Rotators for supporting submarine hulls and incorporating microprocessor-controlled hydraulics to ensure full and even support at all times.
As the industry has developed, BODE has manufactured more specialised and sophisticated machines and now has approximately 200 different types and capacities of standard equipment to offer its international customers. Examples of these are an Octagonal Pole Welding Machine (for the manufacture of lamp posts) and a Trailer Chassis Welder.
In 2001 a transaction was successfully completed by Kistler Maschinen und Anlagenbau GmbH of Germany and its sole UK distributor YPH Ltd of Preston, where both companies purchased assets including goodwill, all designs, manufacturing “know how”, machine names, trade marks and patents from F. Bode & Son Ltd, Leek. Since that time over 1000 machine have been built, now boasting modern AC inverter drives and technology, whilst also maintaining the renowned “build & finish quality” Bode customers come to expect.
The quality of the company's management and staff mean that it is well able to meet the challenges of the future and it will continue to seek fresh opportunities. The future certainly looks bright with BODE!
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