Customers at a leading high street bookmakers can now enjoy coffee and tea on demand, thanks to fabricated units designed and manufactured by Beakbane.

A long-standing customer approached Kidderminster-based Beakbane when it needed to source cup storage and dispensing units as part of a contract to provide a hot drinks service to a chain of betting shops across the country.

The self-service counter-top systems are based around pre-filled cups that the customer selects from a dispensing unit and then fills up with hot water from a boiler. Some boilers are plumbed in, but the majority are filled manually, using a jug.

The customer wanted a cup dispenser that would fit around the boiler to make a complete unit that would be attractive, look good, keep the cups tidy and be sturdy enough to last the length of the five-year contract.

The contract initially called for Beakbane to develop production models from a rough mock-up supplied by the customer and supply the first six units within five days for trial sites around the country. It then went on to produce 1,900 units over a ten-week period.

The mild steel fabrications are laser-cut, formed on a press brake, spot-welded, riveted and finally powder coated. They hold three columns of cups on each side of the boiler with a hinged lid on the top.

Beakbane also sourced special packaging for the individual units so that they could be despatched direct to site for installation without having to re-pack them.

As Sales Manager John Brooks explains, within a few weeks the customer was back in touch for help as components provided by another supplier were not fit for purpose.

He says: “Most of the units we were supplying were manually filled, but there was a health and safety problem with the boiler lids – they were so hot that that if you touched them you could get burnt.”

There were also problems with rusting and the fill holes were not really big enough.

Beakbane designed a replacement lid made from 316 stainless with a polycarbonate liner that could be retro-fitted to the boilers using the original fixing holes. The customer liked the solution and ordered around 1,000 of the new lids.

John Brooks concludes: “We were glad to be able to rise to the challenges set us by the customer on this project, both in terms of prototyping lead times and volume production. This has further strengthened our relationship with them and we look forward to being able to support them again on future projects.”