Today’s blog post will be the first in a series of ‘Meet the Team’ posts hoping to give you an insight into those working as part of the CeraCon Ltd team. First up is Managing Director, Robert Jones, answering some questions about CeraCon, his role and his life outside of work.
Firstly, can you tell us a little about what CeraCon Ltd does?
To say CeraCon is a “specialist in sealing parts” is true, but it also doesn’t cover our activity. We offer a unique service in the UK. In simple terms, we are an engineering business, who use a 6 axis robots combined with a special foam generation machines, to apply complex and high performance foam seals to a huge range of parts from an equally huge range of industry types. From automotive interior and exterior components, to marine, electronics, telecoms, white goods, etc. Wherever a designer wants to keep the water out! We seal one-off rapid prototype parts to validate new designs, up to high volume production runs for companies such as JLR and Ford.
What does your day to day role look like at CeraCon?
CeraCon UK is still a small business in the UK, although we have a larger German based parent company. Being a relatively young company of only 6 years, my role is diverse. I have over 30 years’ experience in sealants and adhesives and have been involved in this technology for over 15 years. So, using these skills, much of my time is to support new and existing customers technical expectations and transferring this to our production.
Even after all this time, I find the technical challenges very interesting, particularly if they can be converted into a continued commercial development for CeraCon in the UK. And the commercial and internal management, pretty much takes up the rest of my time. Over the last couple of years we have started to become recognised in the UK market and it really feels like we have built momentum. So, it has been important to find the right people to allow the business to expand. I am now very lucky to have a great team in place, so hopefully this momentum can be sustained.
Can you tell us a bit about previous job roles that you have done and how that has led to you working for CeraCon?
From a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, I became a Jig and Tool Designer in the automotive component industry. In my early 20’s decided I wanted the variety a sales environment can offer. It so happened that the first company to employ me was the industrial adhesive company Loctite. Loctite worked on the premise that “some” engineers can be taught to sell, but it is not possible to do the reverse.
From Loctite I moved to a Japanese adhesive manufacturer called Threebond and managed Toyota’s factory start-up in the UK, with products used in their powertrain assembly. My role expanded into all 3 of the UK’s Japanese automotive transplant business’s. I also had an involvement in the electronics market. I became involved in UK design projects for overseas manufacture, for example a range of engines designed by Lotus for the China Motor Company. With my career progression came man management responsibility.
I moved to a British adhesives company where I managed the sales team and key accounts such as Rover. After a number of years, I decided to take on new challenges with another Japanese company – Sunstar Engineering. This role was incredibly diverse and interesting. I was able to win the Honda UK account for Sunstar and moved into Body in White Products and Direct Glazing. A part of Sunstars’ product range was a strange 1K foam technology.
In 2000 a new company was established in Germany called CeraCon GmbH who took the license for this product in Europe for this. I had already worked with the Directors of CeraCon in previous roles with projects in BMW, so we were already a familiar team. As a partner of CeraCon I worked closely with them until in 2012, I had discussions with them to invest in and open a UK subsidiary, with CeraCon Germany’s support. The rest is history.
What do you enjoy most about working at CeraCon?
It’s all about the challenges and the people. I still enjoy winning new business, which generally means technical obstacles to overcome. It’s a bit sad, but every lampost I drive past or JLR vehicle I see, that we have a seal on, makes me feel good. In this pursuit, I am lucky that we have some great customers to work with and some close colleagues in CeraCon Group. We spend so much of our lives at work, its important to enjoy the time spent with the people we interact with. I think (or hope) that enjoyment comes across in our UK activity, which leads to the relationships and business we forge.
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
What spare time?!
I’m very lucky to have a lovely family, with 3 children and now 1 grandson. So, this is always my number one way to spend free time. Although its not generally free!
I like our garden (growing stuff I can eat before the caterpillars do) and I enjoy cooking. I’m a keen motorcyclist, a hobby I am lucky enough to share with my son. We have an annual pilgrimage to Spain and Portugal with some friends to ride in the mountains. Any excuse to eat tapas and drink Rioja.
And finally I love to travel, which is something my wife Steph and I plan to do much more of, before too many bits start dropping off!
CeraCon Ltd’s Managing Director, Rob Jones
Thank you to Rob for answering these questions. Our next ‘Meet the Team’ post will be about our Project Co-ordinator, Leo Mather.