Automation firm shrugs off Brexit pessimism

Gloucester-based automation and robotic systems specialist, CKF Systems is celebrating after securing contracts worth £2.5m in the first quarter of 2017.

Automation - To date, CKF Systems has designed and installed about 40 robotic systems, working with companies of all sizes
CKF is one of only five UK companies to receive Authorised Value Provider status from ABB – image courtesy of CKF Systems.

According to CKF Systems, the latest successes follow more than £2.1m worth of orders placed with the company in November and December of last year.

The business provides bespoke robotic picking, packing and palletising solutions to manufacturers, particularly within the food, pharmaceutical and automotive sectors. Its recent gains mirror industry reports that activity in the UK’s manufacturing sector is at a two-and-a-half-year high.

Managing director of CKF Systems, Bryan Wheeler commented: “Last year we had several notable successes, including a major design and build project in India for a global food brand, but the referendum to leave Europe put many investment projects on hold.

“Thankfully, since the fall out from Brexit we have seen a change in attitude and this includes a clear desire on the part of many UK manufacturers to purchase from within the UK. There is also a growing realisation that elevated cost pressures from a weak currency, inflation and higher labour costs are here for the long haul.

“This is encouraging more businesses to invest in automation including SMEs who had previously been resistant to change. They now recognise the value of robotics to protect their long-term futures.”

It’s a positive shift-change that CKF is ready to embrace. In preparation for business growth, the company purchased new premises on the outskirts of Gloucester in 2014 at a cost of £1.2m and subsequently invested a further £300,000 in the development and refurbishment of the buildings and grounds.

The 25,000 sqft facility provides an ideal opportunity for future growth where the premises provide an excellent environment for the design and manufacture of robotic applications, together with a comprehensive trialling and testing facility.

Wheeler added: “We’ve grown to a workforce of 50 engineers in a relatively short space of time and further expansion is inevitable. It’s an enjoyable and rewarding environment for talented individuals to develop and prosper.”

CKF is one of the UK’s leading providers of integrated automated solutions and one of only five UK companies to receive Authorised Value Provider status from ABB, one of the world’s largest engineering conglomerates.