Manufacturing and Engineering in South Lakeland
For an area more commonly associated with its outstanding and beautiful natural environment, South Lakeland also enjoys a healthy international reputation for innovative manufacturing and engineering.
Look no further than Kendal-based Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd who, since they were established back in 1856, have grown to become a globally-renowned and highly- acclaimed manufacturer of hydropower turbines and engine cooling pumps. Today the company employs more than 150 people and also operates from bases in North America and Japan.
GlaxoSmithKline opened its manufacturing site in Ulverston in 1948, producing, amongst other pharmaceutical ingredients, Cephalosporin, used to fight infectious diseases and which helps to treat an estimated 50 million patients worldwide each year. The site is a ‘Centre of Excellence for the manufacture of oral Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients’, with the majority of the highly-skilled and adaptable workforce drawn from the surrounding area.
Ulverston also boasts a cluster of engineering companies operating within the highly-specialised sub-sea exploration sector. Tronic is a division of Expro, the leading international oilfield services company, who has invested significantly in the area both in terms of its offices and the workforce, with fifty new jobs created in the second half of 2011 alone. A purpose-built £12 million ‘Subsea Excellence Centre’ - 45,000m2 advanced manufacturing facility with a production area the size of a football pitch boasting impressive ‘green’ credentials.
These larger operations sit alongside traditional and smaller companies who all play an important role in the infrastructure of the manufacturing and engineering economy of South Lakeland, with many supporting their larger counterparts and being capable of making their own mark on the national stage.
One of the oldest-established and highly-regarded companies in South Lakeland is James Cropper PLC, manufacturers of speciality papers, whose operations in the villages of Cowan Head and Burneside can be traced back to 1753. Croppers (as they are colloquially known) are responsible for quality papers, typically highly-coloured, which may be found globally in exclusive product packaging, office stationery and, most famously, as the paper used for the Royal British Legion's poppies.
Technical Fibre Products (TFP), a division of James Cropper PLC, has evolved from traditional paper manufacturing to create a technologically advanced operation for the development and manufacture of high performance materials for use in composite structures, thermal insulation, aerospace and fire protection. TFP has also expanded to include a new development and manufacturing facility in New York State, America.
South Lakeland District Council is committed to working with business to open up new industrial sites, encourage investment and enhance the strong business networks already in place to create a region which is as dynamic and diverse in manufacturing and engineering as it is in its natural environment.
Key points in summary:
- A history of engineering and manufacturing excellence
- Continued and significant investment by blue-chip companies
- A skilled and adaptable workforce within South Lakeland
- Inspiring location aids future recruitment and relocation of key staff from outside the region
- Strong support from existing business supply-chain networks
- Additional support from SLDC to establish business improvement districts and meet requirements of industry