Firms cashing in after winning backing for expansion

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Four South Yorkshire firms, including two of the region’s Top 50 manufacturers, have won government backing for ambitious development plans.

Top 50 companies AES Engineering and Koyo Bearings (Europe), along with Redirack and Cementation Skanska, have all cleared the first hurdle towards securing backing running into millions of pounds from the Regional Growth Fund.

Meanwhile, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has secured £25 million for a series of projects involving local firms that would otherwise have failed to qualify for RGF assistance because the individual sums being sought were less than £1 million.

And, Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has gained £9.2 million-worth of RGF backing for the new AMRC Training Centre, which is being built close to its facilities.

All the bids now have to go through a “due diligence” assessment before the cash is actually released.

Rotherham-based AES Engineering – better known as AESSEAL – plans to put RGF cash towards a £9 million project developing hi-tech mechanical seals for use in the most demanding applications, including the offshore oil and gas industry and advanced boilers.

The project could create 50 jobs and retain another 47 jobs in Rotherham, in new facilities on the former Alcontrol site, which AESSEAL has acquired and is close to its Global Technology Centre on Bradmarsh Business Park.

Mexborough-based Redirack is one of the largest manufacturers of racking products in Europe and the only manufacturer of bolt free racking in the UK.

Earlier this year it won the UK Warehouse Association’s Technology and Innovation Award for its work on a revolutionary automated pallet storage, retrieval and sequencing system.

It plans to use RGF cash to fund work with the AMRC and TWI - both based on the Advanced Manufacturing Park - and Sheffield Hallam University to develop a unique, automated stock management warehouse system that will provide users with advanced facilities and management information.

Cementation Skanska could get up to £1.28 million backing from the Fund for plans to modernise its plant at Bentley, near Doncaster, which could create 58 jobs at the 170 employee business, secure 121 jobs at suppliers and provide 70 jobs for construction workers while new offices are built.

The Bentley site makes and maintains the most extensive range of piling plant and handling equipment in the UK.

Koyo Bearings declined to release any details of its project.