Watson-Marlow to build new plant

UK pump manufacturer Watson-Marlow is to undertake a £7.3m expansion

UK pump manufacturer Watson-Marlow is to undertake a £7.3m (Euro 9.0m) expansion having secured £1m ( €1.2m) of investment from the Convergence Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and the South West RDA.

The company is building a new silicone tubing plant to support its core pump business and a growing global market for food and beverage and biopharmaceutical tubing. Work is expected to start next month, with production starting before the end of next year.

The new plant will more than treble tube production, cementing the company's position as a leading producer of silicone tubing, much of it destined for the bio-pharmaceutical market across Europe and North America.

The new high-tech plant will include a manufacturing ISO 14644-1 class 7 cleanroom, with 25 air changes an hour and temperature and humidity controls to create the optimum conditions for silicone tubing extrusion. There will also be two floors of offices and 550m of pallet racking.

The new tubing plant will be housed in a separate building to provide security of supply and provide 2,400m2 (26,000ft2) of workspace. With high levels of insulation, rain water recovery and air locks to all external doors to minimise heat loss and keep the atmosphere clean, the building is expected to achieve an "Excellent" rating under the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Watson-Marlow, which is part of the Cheltenham-based Spirax-Sarco Engineering Group, employs 174 staff on its 11-acre site; the expansion will create or safeguard 32 jobs. The project is being supported by £769,000 of ERDF Convergence investment and £256,000 from the South West RDA, with the balance coming from the company's own funds.

"This investment will see a major expansion of our tubing business, which now accounts for 28% of sales and will underpin our core pumps business which is also seeing double digit growth," said Christopher Gadsden, managing director of Watson-Marlow.

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