Black Country manufacturer Stephens Gaskets’ recent order to supply an oil refinery in Canada included a 48-hour turnaround, a truck on standby and a chartered flights direct to Canada.

The Canadian refinery was losing significant revenue each day as a result of problems with its heavy machinery. After searching for niche shims specialists on Google, the company found UK based Stephens Gaskets.  

“They found us initially from our website,” Sales Manager Terry Kite said. “Our products are very niche for the job they need to do. These are incredibly precise shims from 0.01mm to 1.2mm. They fit into the smallest of spaces, but they’re vital for keeping all engineered parts working perfectly.

“This refinery worked out they needed exactly the right shims to solve their problems, which included significant revenue losses each day. Shims were the answer. As soon as they found us online, they put in a bulk order and chartered a jet from the UK direct to Canada.

“Amazingly, from our door to theirs took just 48 hours. That’s how urgent the job was for them. We also had another order shortly afterwards.”

Along with the Canadian oil refinery, Stephens Gaskets also supplied precision-made shims to a well known Formula 1 racing car team ahead of this year’s World Championships.

To help the team cruise to victory, the cars will have a number of parts supplied by Stephens Gaskets, mainly shims for preloads and pre-pressuring. These parts are crucial for increasing and decreasing loads on the power steering and their reliability can win or lose a race.

“To make parts as precise as that we have a state-of-the-art machine – and a great team to go with it – and that machine is the first of its kind in the UK,” Terry said.  

Stephens Gaskets is a leading producer of shims in the UK and now has a reputation globally for its shims and washers. These are produced from materials as diverse as aluminium, brass, rubber, steel and stainless steel to name but a few, depending on requirements.

Stephens Gaskets has been supplying a range of industries with pre cut and laser cut shims, along with washers and gaskets, for over 70 years.

“It’s not bad that a Canadian oil refinery finds little Stephens Gaskets online. We’re proud of that – but, then, without our shims their operations wouldn’t work properly,” Terry added.