Automation solutions specialist Sewtec, which designs and installs production lines for the tobacco industry, has invested £500,000 ($805,135) in a research and development center to support customer projects and enable the company to further develop its range of robotic solutions.
The new facility, next to Sewtec’s existing manufacturing headquarters in Dewsbury, U.K., was officially opened on Nov. 14 by local MP Simon Reevell. Also in attendance were representatives from the Kirklees and Leeds city councils.
The 5,500-square-foot building has already resulted in six new jobs, including two graduate designers. A further four positions are anticipated early next year. The company will also create a secure area where confidential customer projects can be developed and constructed in complete privacy.
The Sewtec facility will work with customers to assess the feasibility and costs for any proposed system and create initial test rigs. In addition, Sewtec is partnering with local universities to drive innovation and new product development in specialist areas such as robotic systems, high-speed continuous motion assembly systems, tamper-evident machines and track-and-trace technology.
“The continuing development of technology means both products and pack formats are becoming increasingly complex and this makes the design and installation of effective assembly and packing systems ever-more challenging,” says Sewtec managing director Bernard Meehan.
“Our new R&D center will enable us to provide vital early support work for our customers, which will help to ease the decisionmaking process for investment in new systems. It will also allow us to refine and further improve our design and technical expertise and so continue to expand our product offering and grow our business in both existing and new markets.”
Sewtec was established in 1867 as the design and development house for Singer, the sewing machine manufacturer. In 1982, the company broke away from the sewing industry to become involved in special purpose applications for the worldwide automotive sector. Since 1987 Sewtec has concentrated on FMCG industries, including the tobacco sector. The company employs nearly 100 people and turnover has quadrupled in the last five years.