The Bicester-based provider of advanced surface coating technology, Hardide Coatings, Inc. has announced the opening of its new Virginia production facility.
In January 2015, the company commenced an investment of up to £4.8m ($7m) in Martinsville to expand its production operations to North America.
The company expects the new facility is expected to create almost 30 jobs over the coming three years.
According to Hardide, the expansion has been driven by increased demand from North American customers, with sales to the US and Canada more than doubling during the past 12 months.
The 26,000 sqft facility in Martinsville-Henry County, will service existing and new customers for the company’s patented range of hard wearing tungsten carbide coatings in the oil and gas and flow control markets.
In addition, the company also plans to expand in the aerospace and advanced engineering sectors, and develop applications for its newly-patented coating for diamonds.
CEO, Philip Kirkham commented: “Having a local production facility in North America will support the increased demand from existing customers and significantly boost opportunities to expand provision of our coatings throughout the region.
“We have installed two large capacity chemical vapor deposition [CVD] coating reactors and work is already progressing well on some very exciting customer trials.”
Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe congratulated Hardide, adding: “Growing jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector is a large part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy, and these jobs will pay well above the average prevailing wage in a region that needs them.”
The first two senior employees at the facility, Jamey Ewing (coatings supervisor) and Barry Farmer (pre-treatment supervisor), spent 12 weeks during the summer at the company’s head office and main production site in Bicester, Oxfordshire, being trained on the Hardide coating production processes and techniques.
They returned to Virginia in September 2015 to assist with the installation and commissioning of the process, production and quality control equipment.
Kirkham explained: “Production for North American customers, currently being carried out in the UK, will be gradually transferred to Virginia on a case-by-case and phased basis, taking load and capacity of both sites into consideration.
“We have also invested in an ultra-fast broadband cable between the UK and US sites enabling both facilities to operate on the same fast, secure network.”