Wednesday, July 27, 2016

News: CW Fletcher lands £7m export deal

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CW Fletcher, a precision engineering firm based in Rotherham, has signed a £7m, three year export deal with Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) of Japan.

The business supplies a diverse range of industries, including aerospace, nuclear and space exploration. Its "Sterling Works" is part of a 9.5-acre combined site located at Wales Bar in Rotherham where high-strength, lightweight assemblies in ordinary and exotic metallic materials are fabricated and high value-added components are machined.

Under the new agreement, CW Fletcher will supply unison ring components which will ultimately be fitted into Rolls-Royce aero engines.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd (KHI) is a Japanese public multinational corporation with interests in environmental control and energy plant engineering, machinery and robotics, ship building and marine engineering, power plant engineering and steel structures, rolling stock, aerospace, and famously, motorcycles.

KHI's relationship with Rolls-Royce dates back to 1959 when the two companies formed a technical alliance for the overhaul of the Orpheus jet engine. Since then the partnership has expanded to encompass a wide range of areas including defense aircraft engines and commercial aircraft. KHI supplies the intermediate pressure compressor (IPC) module for both the Trent 1000 and Trent XWB engines and has signed up as a partner for the Trent 7000 engine.

As one of the eight main modules that constitute the engine, the IPC module has a diameter of about 1.5 metres, a length of about 1.5 metres and is comprised of approximately 4,000 components.

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The new contract is part of CW Fletcher's ambitious strategy to increase its turnover from £20m to £32m by 2020 and underscores the company's success since joining Sharing in Growth (SIG), the government-backed competitiveness improvement programme.

Established in August 2013, the SiG programme helps aerospace supply chain companies to improve their productivity and competitiveness so they are better placed to win a share of continued growth in the global aerospace market. Each company participates in an intense four year training and development programme which attracts £1.2 million from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) for each company.

Speaking at the recent Farnborough International Airshow where he signed the agreement with Mr Akio Onsuka of KHI, CW Fletcher managing director Steve Kirk (pictured) said: "This is a very important contract for us. It demonstrates the quality of our work and the skills of our workforce and it will safeguard Sheffield jobs. We are delighted that the Sharing in Growth programme has helped us win export business for Britain."

Andy Page, CEO of Sharing in Growth, added: "CW Fletcher joined the SiG programme to win business through increased productivity and competitiveness. Their achievement is outstanding and shows the effectiveness of the programme which so far helped UK aerospace companies secure more than £1 billion in orders to date – 20% of which is for direct export. Ultimately the SiG programme's goal is to secure 10,000 UK jobs by 2022."

Components for Rolls-Royce engines are already being manufactured in Rotherham. The leading firm officially opened the most advanced turbine blade casting facility in the world on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in 2014. When fully operational in 2017, the 150,000 sq ft facility will employ 150 people and have the capacity to manufacture more than 100,000 single crystal turbine blades a year.

CW Fletcher website
Sharing in Growth website

Images: Sharing in Growth

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News: Rotherham markets upgrade

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The markets complex in Rotherham town centre has an eye-catching new entrance following investment from the local council.

The new look follows a request to Rotherham Council last year by tenants and traders to brighten up the entrance from Drummond Street, opposite the car park and new Tesco store.

After receiving this request, the Council took the project forward, gaining planning permission for the new entrance signage and also ensuring urgent roof repairs and maintenance were carried out.

The results are now complete and can be viewed by anyone visiting the markets via Drummond Street.

Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, Cllr Denise Lelliott, said: "The new entrance looks great and I hope it will encourage many more shoppers to call in and discover all that our fantastic markets have to offer."

The Council’s Markets Operations Manager, Dean Thurlow, added: "The signage above the main entrance looks inviting and vibrant, leading to the many different commodities and services which are on offer six days a week within the Outdoor Covered Market and Centenary Market Hall."

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The authority has been looking at redeveloping the markets complex in order to take advantage of Tesco's move across town.

£25,000 was secured in 2013 to carry out work to understand a refurbishment scheme for the indoor market. Options for the redevelopment of the outdoor tented market were devised and cost estimates to deliver the works are in the order of £4m.

Given the costs and lack of available funding, the Council has targeted small scale improvements to enhance the entrances to, and exterior of, the Markets Complex in the short term.

In 2014, the Retail Group was brought in at a cost of £19,000 to identify the future strategy and growth plan for the town centre markets, and the right offer for the town and its customers.

It is recognised that the markets continue to welcome over four million customers per year but the outdoor markets area is underutilised and has significant issues in terms of its access and permeability into the indoor markets area. A redeveloped markets complex was identified in the borough's growth plan.

The recent supplementary planning document included a key move to support "Making and Trading" in the town centre with the indoor market being retained and the remainder of the site being redeveloped. Influenced by Rotherham's history and ideas such as the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District, a redeveloped market site could include opportunities for small scale manufacturing and space for entrepreneurs. The plans state: "The suitability of the Markets for this purpose is also reinforced by the fact that it would also be capable of providing a space in which products manufactured on site could be sold."

Previous plans drawn up through the Rotherham Renaissance design stages even showed a new car park with bowling alley, cinema and food court above, on the site of the covered outside market.

Rotherham Markets website

Images: RMBC

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News: Endeavour to re-establish Mitsubishi forklifts in region

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Rotherham-based Endeavour Forklifts, has received factory seal of approval for the provision of new Mitsubishi forklift trucks.

Based in Aldwarke, the provider of service, parts, sales and hire for the region's forklift users, was created specifically for exclusive distribution rights to Mitsubishi forklifts in South and West Yorkshire.

Endeavour was founded by Rotherham-born, Jason Reynolds, a former director of a national forklift supplier, who has previously worked with some of the country's largest forklift users. He believes that the Yorkshire area has missed out on one of the world's leading materials handling equipment brands over the last decade following the acquisition of previous family-owned dealerships.

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Jason Reynolds, founder and director at Endeavour Forklifts, said: "We're already re-establishing the Mitsubishi brand in the area, particularly as we have significant backers that have helped us to invest in premises and a brand new short term hire fleet. Between us, we have over 100 years' experience, working for some of the largest forklift companies in the business. We know what works, and what doesn't.

"We have hand-picked a team of highly skilled engineering and sales staff to ensure we provide our customers the very best support. The ten-strong team already have their eye on future expansion, with a plans to recruit up to ten new staff members over the next five years."

Founded in the 1930s in Japan, Mitsubishi forklift sales took off following a joint venture with Caterpillar Inc. in the 1990s. Today it is part of the Mitsubishi Nichiyu Forklift Co., Ltd which was created in a merger in 2013 with a market capitalisation of ¥4.89 billion and 5,000 employees. It has an annual production capacity of 75,000 units.

Over 30 new Mitsubishi units have already been delivered to Endeavour for immediate short-term hire. Pictured is Ken Jackson, sales manager at the new Rotherham site.

Endeavour Forklifts website

Images: Endeavour Forklifts

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

News: AMPlify on the AMP

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Developers, Harworth Estates are preparing for the next commercial development at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham - AMPlify, 460,000 sq ft of space at the UK's centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing.

The developers are transforming a reclaimed former industrial site at Waverley into a thriving new 740 acre development which includes the AMP - dubbed "the elite "Mayfair" address for advanced manufacturing."

Industrial space on the AMP is in high demand. Harworth's Evolution development - a 87,500 sq ft development that was then fully-let - sold for £7.2m in 2012. Since then, the first phase of the R-evolution development was brought forward, securing occupiers X-Cel Superturn, Maher, Nikken Kosakusho Europe and Metalysis.

The second phase, which includes a further 73,000 sq ft of space and was approved in April, has interest from an international company involved in advanced manufacturing.

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Harworth has spent the past 18 months preparing development platforms for future occupiers on an adjacent 25 acres of land. AMPlify has the potential to deliver 465,000 sq ft of new employment space. This includes plots for units ranging from 25,000 sq ft to circa 200,000 sq. ft and will build on the award-winning scheme's success by offering Design & Build opportunities aimed at high-value advanced manufacturers and their supply chains.

Buildings will be made available to occupy by way of freehold or leasehold interest and Harworth will also consider freehold sales of plots of serviced land between 1 and 25 acres in size to owner occupiers.

David Travis, associate director of business space at Harworth Estates, said: "AMPlify will offer some of the best design and build opportunities throughout Yorkshire and our decision to proceed with the development of new space at our adjacent R-evolution scheme will naturally support the expansion of some of the country's leading high-value companies.

"We look forward to welcoming further occupiers to the AMP, emphasising its place as a key commercial development within the Northern Powerhouse."

The scheme will be marketed by jointly appointed agents Knight Frank and Gent Visick and the site is located within an Enterprise Zone.

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There are nearly 1,000 people employed at the AMP, with the potential for over 2,000 new jobs to be created through further development.

Harworth Estates, which is based on its own flagship Waverley development, is a specialist in brownfield regeneration. It recently secured a further £2.5m loan for further development at the AMP from the Sheffield City Region's Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) Fund. It is the last of the round of ERDF supported funds that support infrastructure works and the construction of premises.

Harworth Estates website

Images: Harworth Estates

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News: Economic analysis needed on HS2 route change

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An economic assessment has yet to be done on the new proposed route of the HS2 line through Rotherham, recommended changes to which came "out of the blue" earlier this month.

Construction on HS2, the high speed North to South rail link that aims to provide extra capacity to handle increasing demand, will begin during this Parliament and has been given a funding envelope of £55.7 billion in 2015 prices. It should reach Birmingham in 2026 and Manchester and Leeds by 2033.

The new option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a spur off the new north-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield Midland station using the existing railway line. Instead of travelling into a new station at Meadowhall, the HS2 line to Leeds would travel east of Rotherham following the M1 and M18 before heading through the Dearne Valley.

The new recommendations would cut journey times on services heading to Leeds, York and Newcastle, and would also reduce the cost of the project by around £1billion.

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Kevin Barron MP, whose constituency includes affected areas of Wales, Aston, Ulley, Thurcroft, Bramley and Hellaby, believes the plan has been poorly thought through and is worried that an economic assessment has not been done for the route before publication.

Writing to the new Transport secretary, Mr Barron said: "I have been a long time supporter of HS2 as I believed that it would bring business and investment to areas that desperately need it, however it now appears that the areas that will receive the most will be the big cities.

"We are now left with a situation where we will have my constituency and others in South Yorkshire taking all the disruption but receiving none of the benefits. This cannot be right, I would urge you to ask HS2 to re-look at the plans and reinstate Meadowhall station which is much better for South Yorkshire as a whole."

A report by KPMG in 2013 estimated that HS2 at Meadowhall could add between £0.5 billion and £0.9 billion each year to the economic output of South Yorkshire and increase output in Rotherham by as much as £272m each year. The figures represented an increase of between 2.3% and 4.8% of Rotherham's GDP (the market value of all final goods and services produced) - the eleventh highest percentage increase of all 235 UK areas in the analysis.

One key statistic from the report is that the number of people who can reasonably access employment in South Yorkshire would increase by nearly 32% as a result of investment in an HS2 station at Meadowhall.

John Healey MP, whose constituency includes affected areas of Bramley and Ravenfield, said that the HS2 decision came out of the blue. Writing to concerned residents, he added: "I was dismayed to see the surprise new proposals to drop Meadowhall as South Yorkshire's HS2 stop. Instead, HS2 favours a loop into Sheffield using existing track, with the main track running through South Yorkshire, close to the M18 and up through the Dearne. The number one purpose of this change is clearly to cut costs and I fear the so-called spur line to Sheffield is simply a sop to the city.

"Clearly we now risk seeing the new high speed line to Leeds running right through South Yorkshire but not stopping in South Yorkshire or bringing any of the potential benefits to our area."

Healey is set to meet with David Higgins, the chairman of HS2 who published the recommended changes, next week.

The areas of Rotherham expected to be affected by the new route are discussed here. An information event is planned for Aston today.

The Secretary of State for Transport is considering David Higgins' report in detail and will make an announcement on the full HS2 Phase 2 route later this year.

HS2 website

Images: HS2 Ltd

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