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British Industrial History

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600 Group

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April 1945.

of Union Street, Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire

Originally George Cohen, Sons and Co; the Group took its name from the early head office address at 600 Commercial Road in East London. It grew over the years into one of the UK's leading metal recovery and engineering businesses

1932 Formed its first machine tool company.

1945 Group of Companies included:

1947 George Cohen, Sons and Co became a public company with the issue of shares to fund expansion of the subsidiaries[1].

1954 Acquisition of Colchester Lathe Co

1956 The George Cohen 600 Group was formed as the parent company for the group

1961 Operations:

  • 1. Raw Materials Division (including iron and steel scrap of all types and grades for steel-works, blast furnaces and foundries; iron and steel for re-rolling, stamping, re-drawing and re-forging; structural steel work, tanks and buildings; rails, railway tracks and accessories; pipes and fittings; dismantling and removal and re-creation of plant; international merchanting of new steel)
  • 2. Machinery Division (including secondhand and reconditioned machinery for power, electrical, colliery, mining and quarrying, hydraulic and chemical plant; contractors' plant; plastic moulding and rubber machinery; machine tools, power presses and sheet metal working machinery)
  • 3. New Plant and Machinery Division (including woodworking machinery; engineers' small tools; cranes, air compressors and electric motors; tools and equipment, lifting and mechanical handling plant; boilers; grinding mills; stainless steel vessels and equipment) Additionally, the Contractors' Plant Hire Service Fleet includes over a thousand units.

1971 Acquisition of T. S. Harrison and Sons

1974 Mr Leslie Davies, an executive director of the George Cohen 600 Group, was appointed a deputy managing director and will concentrate on all matters relating to the running of the UK subsidiary companies. Mr Robert Holland became a non-executive director.[2]

In the 1980s, the Group established a presence in the US through the acquisition of Clausing Industrial and largely disposed of its original UK metal and general engineering businesses to concentrate on machine tools.

1982 The Group's Scamp flexible manufacturing line at Colchester was opened.[3]

1982 Set up 600 Fanuc Robotics with Fanuc as a joint venture for the manufacture of all Fanuc robots in the UK.[4]

Over the same period, 600 Group also acquired Precision Engineered component manufacturers, Pratt Burnerd International and Gamet Bearings, and developed a new industrial laser marking division.

1987 Sold the loss-making scrap metal business to Monks Ferry (Shipbreaking); acquired Electrox, a group of industrial laser companies in Hertfordshire[5]

1988 Acquired Ealing Electro-Optics, the second acquisition in electro-optics[6]

2016 600 UK supplies machine tool and component products including:

  • Colchester - Centre lathes
  • Harrison - Centre lathes
  • Alpha - CNC combination lathes
  • Tornado - CNC turning centres
  • Storm - Vertical turning centres
  • Pratt Burnerd - Chucks
  • Gripfast - Chuck
  • Fanuc - Robodrill machining centres and Wire EDM machines
  • Gamet - Bearings

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Mar 12, 1947
  2. The Engineer 1974/05/30
  3. The Engineer 1982/12/02
  4. The Engineer 1982/12/09 to 1982/12/30
  5. The Times , April 02, 1987
  6. The Times, July 21, 1988
  • [1] 600 Group web site