Northwich engineering firm Cygnet Texkimp is recognising the work of one of its longest-serving employees this week.

Creel expert and senior installation engineer, Rick Jones, joined the company 25 years ago after knocking on the door of its former Manchester Road premises and handing over his CV. Company founder and Chairman Colin Smith invited him for an interview and the rest is history.

Cygnet Texkimp was founded in 1974 to manufacture fibre unwinding equipment, known as creels, for the traditional textile market, before diversifying into the technical fibre market. When Rick joined in 1994, the company employed just seven people, but sales of its machinery were growing rapidly around the world.

Rick set to work learning everything there was to know about creels. He spent stints of up to six weeks in far-flung and developing countries including Indonesia and Thailand, building and installing the machines in customer businesses. At the start, communication was often difficult and conditions were sometimes basic, but it was this baptism of fire that Rick accounts for him learning so much about the machines.

Over the years he has seen a great deal of change at Cygnet Texkimp, which now employs more than 80 people at its Wincham headquarters and has expanded its product range to include machines that not only unwind but also coat, laminate, slit and wind fibres and materials, including carbon fibre used to make components for cars and aeroplanes.

“It’s an immensely rewarding job,” says Rick. “I get to see the whole process, from the black metal to the customer’s finished machine making a real difference to their business.

“This job has given me stability, allowed me to provide for my family and see the world.”

Graham Leese, Head of Production at Cygnet Texkimp, said: “Nobody in the world has more knowledge in creel engineering than Rick. His excellent reputation in our industry is testament to his passion, commitment and continual hard work. We’re extremely grateful to him for dedicating the last 25 years of his career to Cygnet Texkimp and our customers.”