A County Durham fabrications firm is facing a bright future after an investment of more than £2m. BTS Facades and Fabrications, which is based in Newton Aycliffe and manufactures metal rainscreen and fabrications for the construction industry, has invested in new machinery, increased services and a site expansion.
The firm, which has worked on projects including Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium and the Jaguar Land Rover Gaydon site, has invested £2.1m over the past year in purchasing new automated equipment to speed up the manufacturing process, as well as renting additional premises.
Managing Director, Phil Atkinson, said: “A few years ago, we started to look at automation, and we have recently taken delivery of the UK’s first Trumpf fully-automatic panel bender, which bends rainscreen panels, as well as ordering a fully-automated punching system.
“The ‘lights out’ system means that we’re able to set the machine away in the evening and return in the morning with the load completed, thus saving time and speeding up production.
“Some people believe that automation equals job losses, but it’s quite the contrary in our case – our head count increased from 40 to 55 over the past 12 months.
“For us, automation isn’t just about speed and efficiency, it’s also about quality. Using this new equipment, a typical rainscreen panel is bent to perfection in a third of the time of a traditional press brake, and then every panel after is exactly the same.”
The firm has also launched a new division, BTS Designs, after spotting a gap in the market.
Mr Atkinson said: “The design services offered by other companies are often outsourced, whereas we do it under the same umbrella, meaning clients can come to us for a fuller end-to-end service. This strategy makes us unique in the industry, and has had a massive impact on our sales growth.”
Other developments for BTS include expansion into additional premises to house equipment, the invention and launch of a new rainscreen product, and investment in the firm’s IT systems.
Mr Atkinson added: “We have seen exceptional growth over the past few years and now is the right time to invest to ensure we keep up the momentum.
“The automation we’ve invested in fits our key objectives of quality, speed, efficiency, and ensures we stay one step in front of our competition.”