Saturday, 21 March 2015

Nifco buys dyno to test plastic parts

Nifco UK, in Eaglescliffe, near Stockton, has installed a £750,000 dynamometer to allow it to conduct detailed tests on its plastic components.

The investment comes just days after the firm beat rivals from Germany, as well as Japan and China, to a ten-year deal with Ford, which will create 50 jobs and see the company make a million parts a year for the car maker’s low emission engines.

Employing about 500 workers in the north-east, Nifco UK produces millions of plastic components, from door handles to cup holders, for customers including Honda, JaguarLandRover and Sunderland-based Nissan.

Executives claim the new machinery will allow the company to use an electric motor to study how its parts affect vehicle engine performances.

Mike Matthews, the firm’s European operations officer and managing director, said the £750,000 investment was another sign of Nifco’s “vast” ambitions.

He said: “This is a significant mark of intent, and will allow us to really understand how effective our parts are when they are put to the test under a range of conditions.”

“We have seen major growth and that’s down to a commitment to excellence in everything we do,” he said. “Part of that is new equipment, which keeps us at the absolute forefront when it comes to new and innovative products.

“This dynamometer is the latest in a long line of investments and one we are sure will generate a fantastic return,” he concluded.

Nifco UK last year opened its second factory in less than three years in the region, and Matthews, a former apprentice who grew up in Darlington’s Branksome area, recently told The Northern Echo he has aims to build a third plant and increase staff numbers to about 900 in the next four years.

Announcement of the investment comes days after Nifco UK beat rivals from Germany, Japan and China, to a 10-year deal with Ford, which will create 50 jobs and see the company make a million parts a year for the car maker’s low emission engines now being developed at Ford’s Dunton Research and Engineering Centre in Essex.

The company expects to hit £75m turnover next year, which Matthews said will be supported by its Ford deal.

He added: “To land the Ford deal, we beat some of the biggest names in the business, including the Germans, so it is a massive vote of confidence in our manufacturing industry.”

“We have ambitions to keep on growing, and I have no doubt we will achieve that because our region has the best workforce in the world,” he said.

The firm’s dynamometer announcement was welcomed by Joe Greenwell, chief executive of the Automotive Investment Organisation. Greenwell was a former Ford executive and more recently a JaguarLandRover executive.

He said: “We are glad to see such a forward thinking company as Nifco increase their competitiveness, seize business opportunities in the UK automotive market and contribute to further advancements in the country's powertrain development.

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