£4m unlocks boost for door factory

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One of Sheffield’s largest private employers has spent £4m on new equipment to speed up production of 2m timber doors a year.

Jeld-Wen, which employs 400 at its Woodhouse Mill site on Retford Road, aims to meet increased demand following an upturn in the construction sector.

A new ‘hot press line’ cost £3m alone. The automated machine feeds in wood fibre outer skins and presses them on to either side of a core. A new veneer line and packaging equipment has also been installed.

Managing director Mike Ward said the recession had been tough, but trade had picked up in 2014.

He added: “We’re proud to be one of the biggest employers in Sheffield and are keen to invest in our people to help our business to thrive.

“The investment marks a new chapter as we look to meet demand and cement our position as a leading and innovative manufacturer of premium doors.”

The firm has also upgraded its canteen and changing rooms and has hired ‘continuous improvement managers’.

A new ‘lean’ manufacturing philosophy aims to maximise productivity and minimise waste.

Rt Hon Sir Kevin Barron MP, launched the new line.

He said: “It’s a wonderful moment. Jeld-Wen is clearly a business that is investing in the future of its workforce and operations as it looks to enjoy further manufacturing success both on a local and international scale.”

Jeld-Wen was founded in Oregan in 1960 by American entrepreneur Richard Wendt.

Today, it employs 20,000 people in 22 countries.

It has five sites in the UK, Sheffield is home to its head office and a ‘premium’ wooden door factory.

It has three factories in Melton Mowbray making stairs and components and a door factory in Penrith.