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Business & Economy

Jobs boost as robotics firm Yaskawa makes Wearside factory move

A robotics firm has pledged to create jobs in a new North East factory.

Yaskawa is opening a 35,000sq ft plant on Washington’s Hillthorn Business Park.

The company – which will use the base as UK headquarters – supplies parts to customers worldwide.

Bosses say it was attracted to Wearside by opportunities in the area’s electric vehicle sector, which is spearheaded by flagship employer Nissan.

David Walsh, Yaskawa UK managing director [pictured, above, left], said: “We continue to see positive growth and investment changes across our European organisation.

“Our new location is a huge driver for major industrial investment and opportunities to help shape, create and contribute to innovative automation solutions for several industries such as automotive, food and beverage, logistics, packaging and manufacturing.

“Being close to customers is extremely important to us, and this move puts us right at the heart of one of the UK’s largest manufacturing clusters and some of the biggest names in electric vehicle development and production.

“We also have plans to continue growing our headcount over the course of the next year, and this will give us the space required to enable that.”

Yaskawa was supported by Sunderland City Council’s business investment team.

Councillor Graeme Miller, the authority’s leader, said: “We are delighted Yaskawa will soon join the ever-growing list of businesses that can now call Sunderland home.

“For the best part of a century, the business has been at the cutting-edge when it comes to developing automation and robotic technology, so it is fantastic to see such exciting career opportunities being created for local people.”

Based near International Advanced Manufacturing Park, the £60million Hillthorn Business Park is being developed by Legal & General.

Once complete, officials say the site – which has been supported by Government, North East Local Enterprise Partnership and European Regional Development Fund cash – will deliver 620,000sq ft of industrial space across 11 buildings.