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AC firm invests £1m in plant equipment

A UK-based air conditioning business has bucked the trend of 2020 with significant capital and headcount investment and a predicted end of year of forecast that shows continued and substantial growth.

Airedale's R&D team

Airedale International, which manufactures from its centre of innovation in the North of England, is investing nearly £1m in new plant equipment that will further improve efficiency and support increased production.

The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, which currently offers 24-hour production during the working week, is expanding its capacity in response to continued and sustained demand.

Furthermore, since the start of the first lockdown, Airedale has recruited the equivalent of 39 full time staff members, along with increasing the number of temporary workers from 6 to 20* members of staff and this growth in headcount is also set to continue over the next 12 months.

With a predicted five-year, 70% growth by March 2022, and with further significant investment planned in capital equipment and headcount over the forthcoming year, the UK manufacturing plant is busier than ever, building high efficiency air conditioning products that serve industries such as data centres, healthcare, pharmaceutical and other commercial outlets.

In a year that saw undeniable challenges, Airedale International put the safety of its team on top of the priority list and as such the company reduced production volume in the spring, whilst COVID-safe procedures were implemented and physical workplace adjustments were made. A significant number of changes were made that allowed production to continue at normal levels whilst reducing the risk of virus transmission, including the introduction of a 3-shift work pattern, allowing for fewer people in the building at any one time without reducing overall output.

With an investment of nearly a quarter of a million pounds in IT hardware, more members of the team were able to work remotely, including office staff working from home and production staff able to work in the office, thus spacing people out. PPE continues to be provided to all team members working both on site and in their UK-wide 24/7 service and maintenance team, one way systems are in place and hand sanitising stations introduced.

Managing director, Tony Cole, explains: “We recognise that 2020 has been an extremely tough year and we are sensitive to the fact that many businesses have struggled. We have decided to share news of our continued growth to demonstrate that UK manufacturing is still an exciting and prosperous place to be.”

Tony continued: “We have been steadfast in our approach to growth, whilst being flexible in how we implement our strategy, allowing for the uncertainty that 2020 has presented. What is certain is that as we continue to support our UK customers with both new products and aftersales support, demand continues to grow for the Airedale name and the quality and efficiency associated with it.”

HR director Steve Joyce added: “We have worked tirelessly this past year to adapt to the restrictions and challenges presented by COVID-19 and have made significant financial investment into technologies that allow us to continue production whilst reducing the risk of virus transmission. We are so fortunate to have such a loyal, dedicated and flexible staff who have worked with us and adapted to the changes.”

Mr Cole concluded: “In a year that saw our largest ever single order at circa £10m, we are excited about the future, especially once the hurdles of this virus have been overcome. We continue to fly the British flag in a competitive global air conditioning market, helped by a 24/7 service team and a state-of-the-art software offer.”

20 January 2021

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