45 years since it started supplying carpet and upholstery cleaning solutions and equipment, Prochem Europe remains one of the UK market’s principal innovators. 2019 saw that ethos manifest itself in the company’s new research and development laboratory facilities at Chessington along with recent investment in new labelling and filling technology.
Alan Tilley, managing director of Prochem Europe, said: “The extra lab space means we can work on a growing number of new formulations and increase our work on environmental and sustainable product development.”
Scroll back to 1974 and the carpet and upholstery cleaning industry as we know it was just getting off the ground. Prochem founder, and Alan’s father, Ron Tilley spotted an opportunity and started providing courses on carpet, upholstery and floor cleaning in London. This swiftly led to sales of hot water extraction equipment from the USA where the innovation had started. The Steemeasy machine was one of the first to appear on the UK market and later that year the ‘Prochem’ brand name was trademarked by the company.
Prochem started to develop formulations and cleaning systems to suit the UK carpet cleaning market, including the now widely-used concept of pre-spraying and acidic rinsing. At the same time, the company developed specialised training courses for the new extraction process while advising cleaners how to improve on the traditional ‘shampoo’ methods still being used. Ron’s enterprise went from strength to strength to become one of the most recognised names for carpet and fabric maintenance products and training.
In 1978, Prochem introduced a new generation of engine-driven truck mounted carpet cleaning machines to the UK market and, by 1980, was manufacturing cleaning solutions at premises in Kingston upon Thames.
In 1994, the fast-expanding business relocated to much larger premises in Chessington with capacity for expanding manufacture, storage, laboratory, product development, and equipment sales and service. The new building also provided space for a dedicated two-storey training facility - thousands of trainees have subsequently attended Prochem courses there.
Today, Prochem Europe has grown into one of Britain’s foremost providers of specialist cleaning technology and solutions as well as being one of the largest commercial providers of training to the cleaning industry. In 2012, the company was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen for the supply of carpet cleaning products. In 2015, the company was accredited to British Standard EN ISO 14001: important to the business as well as reassuring for customers to know they are procuring cleaning solutions from a manufacturer with certified levels of environmental awareness.
Alan Tilley concluded: “I do feel our continued focus on the values that resulted in the EN ISO 14001 award measure why we are successful: developing safe and effective products for cleaning and maintenance for now and the future.”