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Business & Economy

Global manufacturer Comau invests further in the North East

Comau UK, which has its UK headquarters in Rugby, has invested over £200,000 and taken a ten year lease on a 15,000 sq ft plant at Follingsby Park, which will be the primary manufacturing base for the UK plant projects division. It was previously based at a unit at the Glover Industrial Estate.

The company develops and produces process automation, manufacturing and service products and specialises in delivering turnkey solutions.  It employs 12,500 across the globe and the UK operation, with an annual turnover of circa £100m, is widely recognised within the industry for its supply of high profile contracts to Jaguar Land Rover to deliver complete systems in the UK.

Neil Geeson, operations manager, UK plant projects division, Comau UK, outlined the company’s intention to engage fully with the regional automotive supply chain to support future contracts.

Neil, said: “We are the UK division of one of the world’s leading suppliers of automotive equipment and we differentiate ourselves in the market in that we manufacture our own standard product range including AGVs, laser sources and robots. We don’t need to source these from any other suppliers, unlike our competitors. At the same time, it is our intention to collaborate and engage with other companies operating within the automotive sector who can assist us deliver projects.

“This new facility provides us with the ideal opportunity to open up that engagement and one of the ways that we will do this is via the North East Automotive Alliance, which will assist us to access some very interesting businesses in the supply chain.”

Paul Butler, chief executive, North East Automotive Alliance, said: “We are delighted to see such an innovative manufacturing company setting up in the region and adding significant capability to the North East automotive supply chain. In order to remain a globally competitive region for automotive manufacturing we need to stimulate more innovation in our manufacturing processes. I am confident that a company like Comau will support this greatly and in return there are many opportunities for collaboration across the supply chain.”

Neil added: “The move to a larger premises means we will be able to take on bigger and more substantial contracts. We are fully committed to growth and are currently hiring more staff. This includes a sales engineering manager, mechanical technicians, controls technicians, work shop supervisor and a project engineer.

“This is just the start. While we currently have a small team of six full time staff and 20 sub-contractors on site, the business plan is to grow this significantly over the next three years. We are also planning to develop local young people and are committing to an apprenticeship scheme and anticipate an annual intake.”

Councillor Gary Haley, Gateshead Council cabinet member for economy, said: “Businesses like Comau are a real asset to Gateshead. As a global operator, specialising in cutting edge technology, it brings with it exciting, new areas of innovation. Its decision to relocate into Follingbsy Park cements the area’s position as a location of choice for businesses looking for high quality, modern industrial accommodation with superb connections to both the A19 and A1(M).”