Apeks Regulators and Fantastic People Who Make Them

Apeks Regulators and Fantastic People Who Make Them

Celebrating 50 years of innovation and excellence, Apeks marks a significant milestone in scuba diving equipment manufacturing. Their dedication to quality is evident in their entirely UK-made high-performance regulators, a favourite among divers both locally and internationally. The Apeks journey, which began modestly in a garage, now proudly stands at the vanguard of diving technology. To celebrate the birth of the Apeks MTX-RC 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Regulator, James - our Apeks and Aqualung representative - extended an invitation for an exclusive Apeks Marine Equipment factory tour. Our visit to the cutting-edge Apeks factory in Blackburn offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the meticulous process of crafting world-class diving regulators. Here is our quick blog and summary of the visit and maybe not-surprising conclusion that Apeks Ethos "Gear Technically Inspired" is all about a dedicated bunch of people who created these fantastic pieces of equipment.

Design and Development

At the heart of Apeks' product innovation is a blend of creativity and passion. It all begins with an initial spark—a concept. From there, ideas are meticulously translated into tangible designs using sophisticated software. This crucial stage is where imagination meets practicality, ensuring the products appeal to a diverse range of divers while delivering exceptional performance. Their design team, composed of talented creators and savvy business strategists, engage in dynamic brainstorming sessions aimed at striking the perfect balance between aesthetic appeal and project viability. The development room hums with a spirit of secrecy as the team diligently shapes the future of diving equipment, often working on pioneering concepts slated to redefine industry standards.

Upon settling on a design, Apeks transitions into the prototyping stage, where concept models spring to life. A meticulous examination of different options takes place, with extensive testing conducted to determine the most viable product configurations. This phase is critical, as it allows the design team to iron out any imperfections and ensure the equipment can withstand the rigours of the underwater environment. Prototypes undergo a battery of stress tests, simulating deep-sea pressures and temperatures; only after surpassing stringent quality benchmarks are they deemed ready to move towards larger-scale production. This commitment to precision ensures that Apeks regulators maintain their reputation for reliability, buoyed by an unwavering dedication to diver safety.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing

Machining Profiles and Parts - Birth of a Regulator

The churning and whirring of CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines are a central element to Apeks' manufacturing prowess. As Dom, Apeks' Chief Manufacturing Guru, leads us through the journey of precision engineering, he details the process where mere brass profiles are transformed into the lifeline of a diver—the regulator's first stage. These CNC machines, programmed by expert technicians, fabricate components with exceptional accuracy, ensuring each part meets Apeks' rigorous standards for quality and functionality. With a production capacity of 300 regulators per day, the factory exemplifies efficiency. Beyond these figures, the Apeks team takes pride in contributing to the wider Aqualung Group, fabricating up to 3 million smaller precision parts, evidencing their unyielding commitment to industry excellence.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing

Multiple Quality Control Point Process

At Apeks, quality control is not merely a step in the production line; it's an ingrained culture that underscores every manufacturing phase. From the initial brass profile to the final assembly, the dedication to precision is unwavering. High-precision instruments meticulously measure regulator bodies down to the nearest nanometer, filtering out any component with even the slightest deviation from the impeccable standards Apeks is renowned. The attention to detail is further exemplified by technicians like Magda, who perform an additional layer of scrutiny. She employs optics to examine every profile before it proceeds to the noise-dampened world of ceramic tumblers, ensuring that each regulator not only meets but surpasses the rigorous standards expected of all Apeks equipment. This relentless pursuit of quality guarantees that what reaches the consumer is nothing short of excellence.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing


Tumbling and Rolling - Giving the Smoothness

The tumbler room serves as a crucial preparatory stage for the first stages of regulators. Here, dedicated staff carefully prepare each piece for the process of ceramic tumbling. This technique employs small ceramic particles that gently roll and grind against the brass components in a controlled environment, smoothing out any roughness and creating an immaculate, polished surface. Once this phase is complete, the components emerge with a refined texture that is perfectly primed for the subsequent coating process, another step that showcases Apeks' commitment to excellence.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing - Ceramic Tumblers

Coating and Finishing - Resilience for Underwater

Following their refinement in the tumbling room, regulators then move on to the crucial stage of coating. This complex process entails a sequence of cleaning and coating baths designed to enhance both the aesthetic and functional qualities of the regulators. Parts are first rigorously cleaned to remove any debris and oils, ensuring an unblemished surface for coating adhesion. Subsequently, they are immersed in a bath where they receive a layer of chrome or other corrosion-resistant coatings. This crucial layer not only imbues the regulators with a sleek and lustrous finish but also fortifies them against the relentless wear of marine environments. Meticulously applied, this coating ensures each regulator is not only a visually appealing piece of equipment but, more importantly, a rugged and dependable companion for countless hours beneath the waves.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing - Coating

The Art of Shaping Polymer - Controlling a Lightning

The creation of polymer parts for the regulators is akin to taming a tempest—it's here where we witness the masterful art of controlling high electricity in Electro Mold Maker. In a room, skilled technicians command machines. Electricity courses through the tools, metal and creating solid metal into precise form, which will later be injected, creating covers, casings for the second stage, and various other polymer components essential for reliable diving gear. This process is not just about bending elements to will but rather a dance of discipline and creativity, ensuring each piece is robust enough to endure the pressures of underwater exploration.

From the smallest plastic plug to the robust regulator profile, each element is produced in-house with meticulous care and attention to detail. This comprehensive approach to manufacturing ensures that all parts are held to the same high standard of quality and performance. It's this dedication to in-house production that allows Apeks to consistently deliver superior, reliable diving equipment to the community.

Apeks Regulator Manufacturing - Elector Mold Machine


Assembling a Masterpiece - Bringing It All Together

The culmination of the meticulous manufacturing processes at Apeks is realized in the assembly and testing phase. It is here that skilled technicians, who have been guiding assembly teams for over two decades, bring together individually crafted components with precision and care. The first and second-stage regulator bodies are fitted with their respective faceplates, springs, o-rings, and hoses. Each element is assembled by hand, bringing to life the breathing apparatus that is central to every diving experience. Once assembled, each regulator undergoes pressurization for the first time, marking the beginning of its operational life.

One of the most critical areas within this stage is the regulator station. Technicians who work with the finesse and concentration of seasoned artists meticulously fine-tune every dive regulator. Their touch ensures that when a diver unpacks their new regulator, it is perfectly calibrated, the settings dialled in, and the equipment is primed for its first underwater journey.

Apeks Dive Regulator Manufacturing - Assembly Line


Lasering and Finishing Touches

The precision involved in Apeks' manufacturing extends to the final touches that distinguish their products as uniquely theirs. Before being subjected to the rigorous final test, each regulator is individually marked with a dedicated laser serial number, ensuring traceability and quality assurance. Beyond this practical marking, some regulators are bestowed with ornamental engravings that elevate their aesthetic appeal. The Apeks XL4 Ocea models, for instance, feature elegant designs, subtly hinting at the level of connection to a water element. A separate, specialized machine meticulously etches a bespoke laser pattern onto the front plate of the MTX-RC 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Regulator, marking it not only as a high-performance piece of diving equipment but also as a collector's item.

Finally, whether a single regulator or a full set is on the line, each unit is subject to the final critical bubble test—a process that validates the integrity and readiness of the equipment. Submerged for the first time in a specialized water tank, every regulator is checked by a technician, who meticulously inspects for any sign of leaks from hoses and connections. This visual verification stands as a mark of assurance, a silent testimony that the regulator is prepared to serve as a lifeline under the sea, flawless and fully operational.

Apeks Dive Equipment Manufacturing - Testing

Recycling - Minimising Waste

Throughout its manufacturing journey, Apeks demonstrates a staunch commitment to environmental stewardship, ensuring that waste is minimized at every turn. The remnants from the CNC machining process—including brass and steel shavings—are not simply discarded; they are meticulously collected and sent for recycling. This not only recovers valuable material but also reduces the environmental footprint of production. Similarly, excess materials from plastic moulds are not wasted. Instead, they are collected, melted down, and reused, ensuring that even the smallest piece of polymer has a purpose. Through these conscientious practices, Apeks maintains a production cycle that respects both the craft of quality manufacturing and the crucial importance of sustainability.

Apeks Dive Computer Regulator - Minimum Waste



Perhaps our expectation was to see the product and the process first, but in the end, we met a fantastic, highly skilful group of people who make an extraordinary piece of gear. Apeks regulators, renowned for their reliability and performance, are the product of a collective devotion to diving and a relentless pursuit of quality. Behind each regulator is a dedicated team of professionals—engineers, designers, skilled craftsmen and marketers—who bring together innovation and precision to create equipment that stands up to the challenges of the deep. These regulators are not only a testament to the skill of those who craft them but also a companion to divers around the world, offering security and performance in the challenging underwater environment.