Fourth generation-owned canmaker William Say & Co has invested £850,000 in its three-acre London site, introducing new technology as part of an extensive refurbishment of the factory’s essential equipment.

A key part of the refurbishment is the addition of a cutting line to the existing can-making facilities. Costing more than £500,000, the machine allows metal sheets to be cut in two different directions in one pass. 

This means the metal sheet flows in one direction, rather than turning for a second cut as is the case in standard cutting machines. The new machinery reduces tolerance levels and material wastage, as well as giving extra capacity and contingency to the existing machinery, which will remain in service.

William Say has also refurbished the factory’s power presses, some of which date from the mid-twentieth century. These make the lids and bottoms of William Say’s metal containers.

The factory’s body maker machines have also been renovated. This equipment turns a cut, flat body into a cylinder before the bottom of the tin is seamed on. 

Each body maker has been fully decommissioned and returned for deep maintenance where it has been stripped to its core and rebuilt with most of its moving parts replaced. Modern features have also been added, including new sensors and switches to increase production accuracy.

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William Say has also rejuvenated its collection of hand-powered can-making tools, dating from the early 1900s, to create a visitor workshop. Operators can build a can from scratch using machinery modified with enhanced safety features. This allows less experienced personnel to create a usable prototype while learning about the can manufacturing process.

Sales and marketing director Stuart Wilkinson commented: “We need a variety of technologies and equipment, and of course our power press stalwarts to ensure we continue to manufacture for the next ninety years and beyond.”