Global precision engineering company Renishaw plc formally opened its new Miskin facility located close to Cardiff, South Wales. The site was inaugurated recently by The Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales.
The company started a single-shift of production on the 193-acre site in May 2012 following refurbishment of 68,500 sq. ft. of space and the purchase of 17 of the latest computer numerically controlled (CNC) metal cutting machine tools. Currently the site is making metal components for a range of Renishaw’s world-leading precision measurement systems that are used in industrial applications.
The increasing production demand at Miskin led to the commencement of a second shift in August with the third shift operation set to begin before the end of the year.
Renishaw sees the site as providing additional capacity to enable the company to meet its longer term manufacturing needs and the opportunity to source skilled employees from a wide geographic area due to its prime location close to the M4 motorway and Cardiff.
Renishaw’s refurbished Miskin site represents a modern advanced manufacturing facility, bright and clean, and featuring full air-conditioning, a ceiling structure designed to reduce noise, and a state-of-the-art extraction system to eliminate airborne contaminants in keeping with Renishaw’s other manufacturing sites.
Gareth Hankins, Director of Renishaw’s Group Manufacturing Services Division explains that a key objective of all Renishaw manufacturing facilities is to build a pleasant place to work that would present a positive image of manufacturing to visitors from across the world as well as potential customers and employees.
Additive manufacturing machines to be built at Miskin
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing is a technology that enables products to be built layer-by-layer rather than by subtractive machining.
Renishaw competes in the worldwide supply of laser melting machines that allow the construction of fully dense, highly complex metal parts and structures, which would not have been possible to build using traditional manufacturing techniques.
From January 2013, the company will commence the manufacture of these machines at the Miskin site.
One recent customer for a Renishaw AM 250 machine is Swansea University, one of the UK’s top research universities. The system will be used by a new Aerospace & Manufacturing multidisciplinary research team within the University’s College of Engineering including the ASTUTE (Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies) project, a pan-Wales joint initiative part-funded by the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The aim of the project is to promote growth within the manufacturing industry in West Wales and the Valleys by adopting more advanced technologies.
As part of its 2012 apprentice intake, Renishaw has also recruited six second-year apprentices from Bridgend College, who are currently undergoing training at the company’s manufacturing sites in Gloucestershire.
The company has a long-term commitment to skills development, having started its first apprenticeship scheme in 1979 and sponsored undergraduate scheme in 1984. Renishaw currently has 85 apprentices in training including a record 35 young people recruited this year.
Renishaw also recruited a record 32 graduates this year and gave 65 summer placements, 15 one-year industrial placements, plus 60 one-week work placements to 14-17 year-olds.
As part of its development in South Wales, Renishaw also held an Education Day at its Miskin site recently when 450 students from schools, colleges and universities across South Wales were given the opportunity to see modern manufacturing processes and high technology products, and discuss engineering careers with young apprentices and graduate staff from the company.
The future of the Miskin site
Renishaw also plans to extend its current space by developing another two million sq. ft. at the Miskin site. The proposal has the potential to create hundreds of jobs, generated by Renishaw’s own expansion and the new businesses that would be attracted to the 77-hectare site. The company intends to occupy 19 hectares of the site while 58 hectares will be put out for sale to fund further expansion of activities on Renishaw’s retained land.
The plan outlines proposals such as a 1 million sq. ft. warehouse and a new business park for manufacturing, R&D, office and distribution facilities, targeting engineering and logistics firms and their supply chains.
The plans also include provision for Renishaw to build an additional 400,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing, research and development facilities.
Sir David McMurtry, Renishaw’s Chairman and Chief Executive observes that the South Wales site has tremendous potential for creating many hundreds of jobs for local people, both in construction and the resulting new business ventures.
represents the Renishaw Group in Australia.