Additive manufacturing machine production will occupy some of the extra 66,000 sq ft refurbished production space now completed at Renishaw’s factory at Miskin near Cardiff.
The space provides the company with additional capacity for its assembly operations, which includes a new surface mount electronics line and a dedicated area for the manufacture of its range of additive manufacturing machines.
In addition to the refurbished area, Renishaw has plans to build an additional 400,000 sq ft of manufacturing, research and development facilities to house further expansion. This would be part of 2 million sq ft of adjacent land that Renishaw wants to develop, which could accommodate warehousing and other manufacturing plants from third parties.
The precision engineering company purchased the 193-acre site from Robert Bosch Ltd in September 2011 at a cost of £7.7 million and started single-shift production in May 2012 following a further £7.5 million investment in the first phase refurbishment of 68,500 sq ft of space and the purchase of 17 of the latest computer numerically controlled (CNC) metal cutting machine tools.
Bosch closed its factory in Miskin in early 2010 with the loss of 900 jobs. The plant, understood to be heavily subsidised by the Welsh Development Authority, was the biggest private sector employer in Mid Glamorgan.
The first phase area at the Renishaw plant is now operating with three shifts and manufactures metal components for a range of precision measurement systems that are used in industrial applications.
The latest refurbished areas – Phase II – form a modern, advanced manufacturing facility. Bright, white and clean, with air-conditioning and ceiling structures designed to reduce noise, they also use extraction systems to eliminate airborne contaminants, consistent with Renishaw’s other manufacturing sites.
Gareth Hankins, director of Renishaw’s Group Manufacturing Services division, said, “One of the key aims with all of our manufacturing facilities is to build a pleasant place to work, but also to achieve the wow factor. Every year we play host to visitors from across the world, and whether potential customers, potential employees, politicians or the general public, we think it is important to present a positive image of manufacturing.”
As part of its development in South Wales and to inspire more young people to become engineers, Renishaw held two education days at its Miskin site in Autumn 2012, when 700 pupils and students from schools, colleges and universities across South Wales were given the opportunity to see modern manufacturing processes, high technology products, and discuss engineering careers with young apprentices and graduate staff.
The role of the Miskin site is to provide additional capacity to enable the company to meet its longer term manufacturing plans and the opportunity to source skilled employees from a wide geographic area due to the site’s location close to the M4 motorway and Cardiff.
The South West of England is a nucleus of engineering and aerospace companies, with South Wales also having a good demographic of technical skills from a manufacturing heritage that included factories owned by Robert Bosch, Whirlpool and LG.
In 2012, Renishaw posted record revenues of £337m and now employs over 3,100 people in total, with over 1,800 in Gloucestershire.