A fast growing precision engineering firm has taken on more floor space to accommodate welding operations.
Express Engineering has taken on a 24,000 sq ft unit at Team Valley – the company’s sixth premises – but curiously to be known as “Factory Five”.
The move has been in the pipeline for some time, meaning Express established a sixth site before the deal for this latest space was finalised. It brings the total amount of operational space on Team Valley to 160,000sq ft – a three fold increase in four years.
As contract manufacturing suppliers to the oil and gas industry, Express Engineering has grown considerably over the last year thanks to a £6.5m investment programme.
Acquisitions, including Stokesley-based Burdon Limited in 2013 and Wallsend-based Northern Precision Engineering in 2011, have also contributed to growth in recent years.
This latest growth follows the arrival of a £1.5m piece of unique machinery at the firm’s existing Team Valley operations. The multi-tasking Mazak machine is the first of its kind in the UK and only the second in Europe.
Express had also secured additional turning and milling machines from Scotland, which has been installed at a 32,000 sq ft site between Kingsway and Princes Way – the company’s fifth site on the Team Valley.
Nigel Davison, Express Group chief executive, said: “Our recent investment in new machinery, unique to the UK, new assembly and testing centre and now this specialist welding facility means our oil and gas business is ready to move to the next level.
“We have the capability and capacity to produce new components and move into new markets with new customers.”
In 2013 a restructuring of the firm brought in private investors LDC, which took a minority equity stake in the business. Express also secured grant funding from the Let’s Grow fund run by The Journal, UNW and BE Group.
Almost 100 new jobs have been created this year, including 13 new apprentices. The workforce has almost quadrupled – to just under 500 – in the past four years.
Earlier this month the business broke into a league table of the country’s fastest growing, privately owned firms, being placed 88th in the Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100.
As one of 13 new entrants on the list, Express has achieved an annual sales growth of 50% over the past three years, taking the turnover to almost £38m.