Celebrating over 100 years service at Fluid Research Ltd

FRL Long Service Awards 

This year three members of the FRL team have are celebrated 100 years’ service between them. What a remarkable achievement.


Eddie Dobbins – 25 years 

Eddie is the Production Manager and is also responsible for servicing the mix and dispensing machines. He started on the shop floor before taking a short break to work for himself. He returned to FRL 2 years later as a Service Engineer. One of te biggest changes Eddie has seen within the business is how much the technology has improved with the use of HMI (Human Machine Interface) touch displays and growing requirement for robot integration with the mix and dispense machines.

Eddie has number of hobbies including playing lead guitar for a rock band that gigs all around the Northants region. They play a range of music from the 60’s up to the modern day, including Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath and the Kaiser Chiefs. He is also a keen Kite Boarder on water as well as High Wind Short Board Wind Surfing. When he’s not taking part in extreme sports or wowing the crowds with guitar solos he can be found Clay Shooting.

Eddie has two grown up children, a boy and a girl. He also has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He once saved a colleagues life by having the presence of mind to move him out of the way of a falling iron girder and also rescued a wind surfer who had been knocked unconscious and fallen off his board.


Steve Grainger – 35 years IMG_9280_Steve_Grainger_FRL

Steve is a Controls and Project Engineer. He started with FRL as a fitter on the shop floor. He has since worked in the development lab and also been a service engineer. He was a production supervisor at one time before taking up his current post. He’s managed to visit many countries in Europe and Asia installing and servicing machines throughout his career.

Steve plays Trombone for a local Salvation Army brass band. It is one of the leading brass bands in the country. The band recorded CD’s, radio programs and gives regular concerts. His proudest achievements are playing in the band in many prestigious venues around the world, such as the Royal Albert Hall and Stockholm Opera House.

He is married with two grown up children and his wife runs a coffee shop, which suits Steve as he loves coffee shops.

John Thomas – 40 years IMG_9373_John_Thomas_FRL

John started his working life as an apprentice for a U.S. owned company, British Timken, it was here that his love of everything engineering was established. His time at Fluid Research, or Liquid Control as it was formerly known, began in 1975. He thinks one of the main reasons he was given the job, apart from his excellent qualifications, was due to his sporting prowess as a rugby player. He thinks this may have endeared him to the Works Manager at the time who was a very keen rugby player himself.

John worked his way up from the shop floor and it wasn’t long before he found himself promoted to a Lab Technician where he was responsible for demonstrating the machines and equipment to prospective customers. A few years later John took up an exciting opportunity with the company that meant a moving his family to France, which included his young son, 7 weeks old at the time. His time in France was spent setting up a joint venture company to support Fluid Research equipment.

Upon returning to the UK office John moved into sales and has been involved with sales and marketing ever since and is now responsible for our overseas distribution channels as a Business Development Manager. In his time he has been responsible for much of the marketing collateral as well as the current website.

His hobbies include cycling, the gym, reading, caravanning and gardening. His latest challenge is to learn to cook, and he’s especially keen on Indian cuisine. John has been married to Deb for 41 years and has two grown up sons. Gareth lives in Washington DC and is married to an American girl and they have a 2 year old daughter. Gareth works at Andrews Air Force base, home of Air Force One (that could be top secret so please don’t tell anyone!). His other son Hayden is married and has 3 children and is living in Melbourne Australia. John isn’t quite sure what he did to make his children live so far away, but joking aside, he is immensely proud of them and their achievements.

Some of his other proud achievements have been to raise funds to provide a mini bus for young adults with learning difficulties in the local area and also to convert a barn into a wonderful family home over the past 12 years.

When we asked John how he’s managed to stay with the company for so long he said it was a combination of the people involved with the business and the ever evolving technology and industries that he encounters that has always made it interesting.


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