MEET OUR TEAM
The Cottingham Engineering LTD Team in 2018
Hydra-Test is a brand that unites several test equipment products necessary for high quality Automatic Transmission and Valve Body rebuilding. The main flagship machine is the HT-VBT Deluxe which allows transmission specialists around the world to perform quality testing of the most popular modern Valve Body models and individual solenoids. A recent introduction to the line is the HT-SOL which a stand-alone bench top machine designed for advanced high temperature solenoid testing. The HT2000 completes the range, which is a portable unit used to check the automatic transmission internal clutch and brake circuit integrity
Modern range of the Hydra-Test product at PowerTrain Expo in USA, October 2017
Hydra-Test products were launched by Hydra-Test Ltd, a company originally formed by Bob Fotheringham and his colleagues in the early 1990s. In those days Bob was a distribution agent for Answermatic machines throughout Europe and the UK. The Answermatic machine was produced by a US company but despite being a quality tool for that era it lacked solutions to test domestic European Valve Bodies. Bob recognized a market for an updated designed machine with a wider test plate coverage. This was the push that led to the creation of the first units prototyped and produced under the name “Hydra-Test”. This was back in 1992 and a few years later, in 1996 the first VB test machines were produced for a select group of UK Customers.
Cottingham Engineering Ltd purchased all rights to the technology when Bob retired in 2012. The company leader Alan Smith, an Automatic Transmission industry professional for almost 40 years followed up this year by securing ownership of the original company name. Alan was previously a partner in a transmission repair business for over 30 years and during that period served as Technical Director. His company was among the first to own a Hydra-Test machine and it was this investment that triggered a thirst for knowledge, leading to his interest in valve body problems and testing. His friendship with Bob Fotheringham developed from Alan’s eagerness to help advance the entire testing method over a long period. So it was only natural for Alan to continue where Bob left off when he retired.
First design and colour-scheme used until mid '00s
The company Cottingham Engineering Ltd was originally set up in-house to service the transmission repair shop. The staff were all Precision engineers headed by the vastly experienced Phil Cottingham, hence the name of the company was born. To this day Phil is the General Manager and takes total control of all day-to-day matters. This allows Alan to concentrate on customer support and all technical issues.
Alan Smith with the SEOAN Team doing on-site training in South Korea, November 2017
During the past two years the company has exceeded expectations. Production and staffing levels have grown considerably. The manufacturing area has been expanded to accommodate this growth and new machinery in the form of a third fully automated CNC machine is on order.
Over this period the company have called upon the many years of experience of their torque converter rebuilding department to develop their own brand of torque converter rebuilding equipment – Hydra-Torque. Launched at the Rematec Show, Amsterdam in June this year the company have fulfilled many full-line orders to date. In addition they have carried out detailed in-house training for almost all of these customers as part of the investment package.
With the success of the HTC-K Data acquisition controller used for advanced control of both the HT-VBT machine and the HT-SOL Solenoid tester it was only natural to provide customers with Dynamometer capabilities. With advanced orders secured, the company have been working hard on this project and will launch the Hydra-Dyno brand in the spring of 2018. This will incorporate many of their own quality features but most importantly it will be driven by the HTC-K precision controller.
Seal-e-Zee is a spray / cone system developed by the company for fitting difficult seals and pistons during automatic transmission rebuilding. Many years ago a license was granted to Lubegard allowing manufacture for the Americas. Lubegard, now part of the Stellar Group Inc., are currently working closely with Cottingham Engineering in a joint effort to provide a cost effective solution going forward.
Cottingham Engineering work closely with many of their customers around the world in an effort to provide both an improved product and an unrivalled support service. Bob Sanghera, CEO of Valve Body Pro based in California, USA, works very closely with Alan and the development team. In addition to helping with software development and test script creation, Bob also shares rebuild techniques, reaming processes. He follows this up with fine tuning test scripts to ensure truly successful valve body rebuilds.
2017, launching Hydra-Torque equipment in Amsterdam at ReMaTec
(Tiaan and Bob Sanghera from Valve Body Pro in the picture)
The Hydra-Tested logo, launched in December 2017
In 2017 the team have also launched their new concept named Hydra-Tested. The major idea is to give promotion and wider attention to the users of Hydra-Test equipment worldwide. To avoid competing with its own customers Cottingham Engineering Ltd do not offer a valve body rebuilding service but are known as producers of quality Valve Body testing equipment. Because of this we receive enquiries and website traffic from people who wish to have their valve bodies efficiently rebuilt. The Cottingham Engineering Team decided to redirect these people straight to Valve Body specialists using Hydra-Test equipment and performing a quality repair to the complex transmission element. The enquirers receive addresses and contact details of reliable valve body repair service providers in their corresponding area. Another aim of concept Hydra-Tested is closer cooperation with valve body specialists wishing to improve software, exchange master data, test scenarios and the overall experience. By receiving constant feedback from users worldwide the Cottingham Engineering development team are able to improve the HTC-K software. The aim is to make the system even more user-friendly and advanced in order to truly comply to the motto of Hydra-Test products: “The Ultimate in Valve Body Testing”.
In 2019, Alan Smith and Edgar Nebylitsa launched the Hydra-Torque company in Belarus. The objectives are to advance the range of products, facilitate importation in various countries around the world, and contribute to the sustainable development of valve body testing and torque converter reconstruction projects.