Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened Airedale International’s new cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Rawdon, Leeds, during a visit this week.
The British cooling systems manufacturer moved into its new 23,000 sqm, purpose built premises in January 2016 following a fire in September 2013.
With a BREEM ‘Very Good’ rating in recognition of its environmental credentials, the new facility also features one of the largest and most extensive R&D centres in Europe.
After a short presentation in which The Princess Royal met the board, she then undertook a tour of the advanced manufacturing plant, taking in the R&D centre; sheet metal production area; paint plant and coil assembly area; precision air conditioning production line; chiller area, and the CITB-approved training school workshops and classroom.
The tour aimed to highlight the importance of the manufacturing industry to the UK economy, and during proceedings employees presented to The Princess Royal, including current and former apprentices.
Among those apprentices was Ryan Bartlett, who has spent the past four years as part of Airedale’s workforce, gaining experience as a design engineer, while working part-time towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
The royal visit culminated in the unveiling of a commemorative plaque within the reception area, joined by staff from all areas of the company.
Speaking afterwards, Clive Parkman, managing director, commented: “It was an incredible honour to receive this visit by The Princess Royal, and one that our employees will remember for years to come.
“We are very proud of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities here in Rawdon, and the teams that run them, so it was a pleasure to be able to present these to such a prestigious guest. We are very privileged that The Princess Royal has taken such interest in our work and the future of British manufacturing.
“We have been working incredibly hard since moving here in January 2016 and this is a great way to celebrate the best of British manufacturing, and the dedication and effort each of our teams have put into the business. “