Celebrating 50 years of Fusion

Fusion was founded on Wednesday, 17th February 1971; starting its journey in a small corner of Sheffield and growing throughout the 50 years to become a global organisation providing polyethylene solutions, worldwide. 17-02-2021

In 1971 Edward Heath was the British Prime Minister, Richard Nixon was in the White House, oil overtook coal as the dominant fuel source and two days earlier the United Kingdom had switched to decimal currency.

Chay Blyth became the first person to sail round the world from east to west, against the prevailing winds and the story of Fusion began with its founder Eric Bridgstock, pushing against the tide of traditional pipeline materials at that time, by developing Fusion tooling which played a vital part in the rapid transition to polyethylene pipes as the material of choice for both gas and water networks.

The heart and soul of Fusion for more than forty years was its founder, Eric Bridgstock, who sadly passed away in October 2018. Eric’s drive and vision was central to Fusion’s success and the open, friendly culture he promoted – ‘The Fusion Family’ – remains one of Fusion’s enduring strengths. Eric drew heavily on the support of his wife, Petra, throughout his years at the helm, particularly in later years when Parkinson’s Disease started to take its toll;

‘Eric would have been so proud to see Fusion continuing to thrive in its 50th year.  After his family, Fusion was Eric’s driving passion throughout his life. An engineer at heart, Eric was rarely happier than when he was ‘hands on’, developing new products and manufacturing processes. By nature a quiet and reserved man, the friendships Eric built with colleagues and customers over the years were incredibly important and rewarding.
Eric’s daughters, Gemma, Helen and Ginnie, and I look forward to joining in Fusion’s 50th anniversary celebrations when a degree of normality returns.’         Petra Bridgstock

In 2011, Fusion celebrated its 40th anniversary with a bang. The ‘Fusion Family’ raised £65,000 in its Fusion 40th Charity Challenge with various events and activities throughout the year. You can read about the Charity Challenge and more in the two special newsletters created back in 2011 (available to view from the tabs below).

The ‘Fusion Family’ continues to raise substantial amounts for both local and national charities and since the 40th Charity Challenge, Fusion has raised over £35,000 pounds.

The ten years since 2011 have been momentous for Fusion Group. Undoubtedly, the key event over the past decade was becoming a part of the AVK Group of Companies in 2017. Whilst retaining the key elements that made Fusion so successful – culture, quality and agility – AVK has enabled Fusion to further grow and develop.

Since becoming part of the AVK Group, Fusion has almost completed the first phase of a £4m investment programme focussed on enhancing and extending its manufacturing processes and capacity. In parallel, Fusion has embarked on a journey that seeks to extend lean principles across all aspects of operations.

The investment programme supports Fusion’s new product development programme, which is fundamental to Fusion Group’s growth plans, with a target of bringing at least five new products to market every year. Recent success stories include large diameter electrofusion elbows and equal tees and extensions to the Multiseal tapping tee and branch saddle ranges.

Fusion has successfully built on the international network of businesses in Australia, Italy, Poland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and China.  They have all experienced significant organic growth in recent years and key to the success has been remarkable staff retention where many longstanding employees have now moved into more senior management positions; there remains in Fusion the genuine opportunity to progress through the business. To support this level of activity there has been substantial investment in human capital across the board, with a significant growth in Fusion’s customer service, marketing, commercial, product development and manufacturing teams.

In addition to the above, Fusion has created strong partnerships with AVK companies around the world including AVK Syntec (China), AVK Norge (Norway), AVK Válvulas (Spain), AVK VOD-KA (Czechia) and AVK Watecom (UAE).

Fusion Group are looking forward to continuing to support you on your customer journey with us, and with our investment in manufacturing, training, recruitment and new product development we are shaping the business to be here for you long into the future.

As the country begins to move out of lockdown, we are looking forward to celebrating Fusion’s 50th anniversary with a series of events at a point where we can, details of which will be communicated in due course.