Tube bending specialist Unison unveiled its new design and manufacturing facility on Thursday, with Lord Green praising the Scarborough-based company as a good example to SMEs with export aspirations.
The minister for trade and investment opened the new plant, situated a short distance from Unison’s old factory, at a commemorative evening dinner, following a tour.
He stated he believed Unison, which exports more than half of its output and has supplied tube bending machinery to make parts for the Chinook helicopters and Wal-Mart shopping trolleys, sets a good example for other businesses to follow.
“Unison has demonstrated world class product design and manufacturing and it has done so in an area people don’t normally think of as a centre of engineering while looking at growing through the export market,” he said.
Alan Pickering, the managing director of Unison, believes the expansion marks the start of a bright future for the company, which recently celebrated its 40th year of trading.
“We aim to make our new Scarborough facility the world centre for advanced tube bending technology,” he said.
He added: “One of the first machines we are manufacturing in the new factory will be the largest ‘all-electric’ tube bender ever made – with the ability to bend pipes up to eight inches in diameter.
“This technology is opening up new markets for Unison – in this case it’s destined for the shipyards in Virginia to help build the US Navy’s aircraft carriers and submarines.”
The company, which employs 60 staff, has just sold its first machine in India, and stated it’s making progress in Russia and Brazil, which it sees as key export markets.
It expects its turnover to rise from around £6m to at least £10m by the end of 2014.