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Specialist engineering business achieves record success

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A Welsh engineering business that supplied parts that helped keep the RAF’s Spitfires flying during World War 2 has achieved record-breaking export sales after expanding into new international markets.

Llanelli-based Teddington Engineered Solutions has seen its turnover grow by 18% in the last two years, largely thanks to export sales which made up 66% of the firm’s total sales in the last financial year.

Established in the 1920s, Teddington designs and manufactures expansion joints for a range of industries including aerospace, marine, nuclear power and defence. The joints compensate movement in pipe work caused by temperature change, pressure or vibration.

The company has exported its products to more than 90 countries since 2003, with China, the Middle East and Europe being among its largest markets.

Now for the first time it has entered a developing sector within the steel industry – manufacturing expansion joints for use within direct reduced iron steel plants. Direct iron reduction allows steel to be made more cheaply as it removes the need for conventional blast furnaces, instead using alternatives such as electric arc furnaces.

Jason Thomas, Commercial Director at Teddington Engineered Solutions said: “Our order book has increased significantly over the last two years, so much so that it reached a record high recently. It’s all down to exports and securing contracts with new clients.

“We’ve been trying for many years to get into this specialised steel making industry so doing so is a real breakthrough for us. We’ve already supplied three contracts since April last year and have been assured that we are the preferred bidder for future contracts.

Originally specialising in solutions for the aircraft industry, the years after World War 2 saw Teddington diversify into new sectors such as the petrochemical industry, with the firm selling its expansion joints all over the world.

Key to the company’s export growth, Teddington has received a range of support from Welsh Government export specialists including help with trade missions, exhibitions and identifying trade opportunities, as well as general export advice.
The company’s firm focus on international trade has resulted in a nearly 30% increase in staff over the past four years with Teddington now becoming one of the largest employers in the area.

China is one of the firm’s largest markets. Teddington was the first company to supply bellows for the LNG tankers that are currently being built in China and is also a leading supplier for the nuclear industry in the country. It is now looking to secure similar work elsewhere.

Speaking about the company’s international success Mr Thomas added: “We buck the trend compared to a lot of UK companies which import their product from China. Instead, we export into China. It’s a specialised product and in many industries, our engineering experience along with a reliable, quality product makes choosing Teddington an easy choice.

“The same goes for the Middle East, there are no reputable manufacturers of our product in the area. So the need for overseas expertise is required to resolve issues, design and manufacture solutions.”

In the Middle East, Teddington has been involved in some very prestigious projects. In Dubai alone, it has supplied Dubai airport, the metro system, the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, the biggest mall in the world and the Palm Jumeirah.

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Swansea Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposals for changes

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SWANSEA Bay City Deal leaders are supporting Neath Port Talbot Council’s proposal to amend some of their projects due to be part-funded by the £1.3 billion investment programme.

Any amended or enhanced projects, they say, will be progressed through City Deal governance and approval processes before submission to the Welsh Government and UK Government for consideration.

This follows on from the City Deal’s Joint Committee accepting all recommendations arising from two reviews into the City Deal, which included enabling flexibility in the investment programme to bring new projects in if they’re beneficial to the region.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Bay City Deal Joint Committee Chairman, says a Neath Port Talbot Council call for the City Deal to change approach is also being put in place.

Cllr Stewart said: “As a Joint Committee, we have accepted all recommendations from the City Deal reviews, and work is ongoing to implement them as soon as possible.

“These include the appointment of an independent programme director to manage the City Deal, as well as flexibility to amend or enhance projects forming part of the investment programme if they’re good for the region.

“The City Deal is still at an early stage of its development, but we’re doing all we can to make governance and project approval processes more efficient to speed up the investment programme’s delivery.

“It would be too great a risk for communities and businesses in Neath Port Talbot to miss out on City Deal investment, so we stand ready to help Neath Port Talbot Council move their projects forward.

“All City Deal partners remain committed to delivery. It’s widely recognised that the City Deal presents a once in a generation opportunity to create considerable economic growth and well-paid jobs across the region as a whole.”

The independent review into the City Deal commissioned by both governments recommended immediate approval for two City Deal projects – the ‘Yr Egin’ creative sector development in Carmarthen, and the Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District.

Cllr Stewart said: “We expect funds to be released for these projects imminently.

“We also welcome Neath Port Talbot Council’s continued commitment to the regional Homes as Power Stations project, which will help people save money on their energy bills by introducing cutting-edge energy-efficient technology to both new houses and existing buildings throughout South West Wales.”

The Swansea Bay City Deal investment programme is due to be funded by the UK Government, the Welsh Government, the public sector and the private sector. It’s being led by the four regional councils – Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea – in partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Swansea University, Hywel Dda University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The City Deal is projected to create over 9,000 high-quality jobs and give the regional economy a £1.8 billion boost in coming years.

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A476: Lorry fire closes LLannon to Tumble road

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Emergency services dealt with a lorry fire on the A476, Llannon to Tumble road, Carmarthenshire

The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon (Apr 16)

The road was closed for a short time whilst the fire was extinguished.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

No one was reported injured in the fire.

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Almost 100 jobs to go at Calsonic Llanelli

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A MAJOR Llanelli employer is to shed almost a quarter of its employees following what it describes as a ‘significant drop-off in sales’.

Calsonic Kansei, based says that continuing political and economic uncertainty have contributed to its decision to lay off 95 workers at its Lleithri Road factory on the outskirts of the town.

Calsonic were offered £4.4m from the Welsh Government to create 88 jobs at the plant late last year.

Llanelli’s local AM, Lee Waters, the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for the Economy and Nia Griffith MP issued a joint statement about the jobs blow.

Lee Waters AM said “Nia Griffith and I will be doing what we can to work with the company, trade unions and other employers in the area to help the workers directly affected. And the Welsh Government will be extending the taskforce helping workers at Schaeffler to offer practical support.”

“Calsonic were offered significant Welsh Government help to develop new products at the end of last year, and we will continue to do what we can to help create a sustainable future for the site, through what is clearly a troubling period.”

Nia Griffith MP said “The next month will be a difficult period for the workers and their families at Calsonic, both Lee and I are ready to do whatever we can to help anyone affected. Alongside working directly with the factory staff and the trade unions, I’ll be using my voice in Parliament to ask the UK Government to match Welsh Government’s ongoing commitment to the plant and the workforce.”

Calsonic’s vice-president of HR for Europe, Neil O’ Brien, said: “The automotive industry is at a transitional stage, as well as being at a key point in several major vehicle ‘life cycles’, with car manufacturers developing their technologies to satisfy the ever demanding environmental legislation and moving towards autonomous and electric vehicles.

“During this period of transition, the added pressures of market instability caused by the political and economic conditions have affected our customers’ volumes and, consequently, Calsonic Kansei’s sales have seen a significant drop.

“The company intends to do everything reasonably possible to reduce the impact of this proposal on its employees.”

In January Schaeffler announced plans to close its plant in Leave-voting Llanelli with a loss of 200 skilled jobs.

Schaeffler also cited uncertainty about the UK’s economic and political future as being partially responsible for its decision.

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