Mirage Machines, manufacturer of portable machine tools for the oil, gas and energy markets, is celebrating its 25th year in business. From its small family owned beginnings in Derby, United Kingdom, Mirage has grown into an international company with a worldwide reputation for product performance and quality.
One of the company’s founders, George Silk, previously set up ‘Silk Engineering’, manufacturer of the Silk range of motorcycles, and later the Silk range of portable machine tools. Following acquisition of the company by Furmanite in 1993, George’s continuing drive to innovate resulted in the launch of a new and separate entity ‘Mirage Machines.’
The combination of Mr Silk’s engineering know-how, along with family members and a team of experienced portable machine tool engineers proved to be a winning formula, setting the company on its way to expansion.
First to hit the production line was a comprehensive range of ID and OD mount flange facing machines. These improved upon previous designs with the addition of patented ‘power feed’ tool posts, which in addition to facing, provided the added advantage of being able to bore internal diameters. This was swiftly followed by the introduction of portable milling machines, drilling and tapping machines and split frame ‘clamshell’ pipe cutters.
The innovation continued in the year 2000, when Mirage developed a unique range of orbital milling machines designed specifically for the wind power industry. Five years later, Mirage introduced a pioneering range of ‘Hot Tapping’ machines robust enough for applications such as high pressure oil flow lines. In 2006 Mirage joined the ‘Acteon Group’, a subsea services group, providing even stronger foundations to increase global coverage.
Today, Mirage is pursuing continued growth with investment from new owners ‘Actuant Group’; the $1.2B diversified industrial company who purchased Mirage for $16 million in 2017.
Despite the changes in ownership, the company’s close-knit team ethic continues, with Mirage being headed up by George’s son Richard. “This is not just ‘growth for growth’s sake,” Richard explains, “We’re working on a number of initiatives that will drive efficiency, boost new product development and improve upon the whole customer experience.”
The signs so far are encouraging, with Mirage being certified to the latest thorough version of the world’s most commonly used quality management standard; ISO 9001: 2015.
The company’s route to market has changed dramatically since its inception. Back in 1993, the internet was still in its infancy, so demand for products was typically fuelled by word of mouth, trade shows and technical sales representatives. This is in stark contrast to how it works today, with most enquiries coming through the website and customers being much more informed when they make contact.
Despite the benefits a website brings, in the markets where Mirage operates, customers still require a high level of one-to-one customer support. Mirage provide this through regional technical sales experts, each helping customers to confirm their requirements and managing the relationship thereafter.
To mark the company’s anniversary, the coming months will see Mirage launching a series of promotions, each offering even more added-value for customers buying the company’s highly rated products.
Richard Silk comments; “This is something we don’t normally do, simply because we’ve never needed to. In many cases our products have become the industry benchmark, so they sell themselves. We’ve decided to do something out of the ordinary to show our gratitude for the support customers have given us over the years.”