Cut above expansion in the US

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LEADING South Yorkshire business AESSEAL has unveiled plans to expand its US operation by investing £3.1 million in a state-of-the-art metal cutting and shaping facility.

The announcement comes a month after the company unveiled a £9 million expansion plan that will create 50 jobs and lead to a further 47 being retained on the former Alcontrol site, which AESSEAL has acquired and is close to its Global Technology Centre on Bradmarsh Business Park, in Rotherham.

The expansion at AESSEAL’s plant in Rockford, Tennessee will allow it to undertake complex machining in the US, which could previously only be done in Rotherham. The company says the expansion will create 10 jobs in the US and will not affect jobs in the UK.

Group managing director and founder Chris Rea said: “The decision to invest in the US is not a replacement of, but a complement to, our existing UK manufacturing facilities, which we also intend to expand.

“In fact, we have recently purchased the adjoining site to our UK headquarters, which will allow us to double our current Rotherham-based workforce at whatever pace our customers allow our business to develop.”

The company says the decision to produce in the US was partly prompted by the cancellation of airfreight departures when a volcano in Iceland erupted two years ago. Since AESSEAL is now the world’s fourth-largest designer and manufacturer of mechanical seals, it also wants to have at least one other strategic location on another continent, from which it can supply the rest of the world in any future emergency. Chief executive Jonathan Wilkinson said: “The US is also our largest market and this facility will provide our growing US customer base with another opportunity for emergency supply.