Process automation equipment manufacturer Knight Warner has beaten off international competition to win a £1.1 million order from Australia.
The Chesterfield business has won an order from Melbourne-based Icon Equipment International to make robotic bottle handling and control equipment for two large dairies.
Knight Warner’s machine will be able to unpack empty high density polyethylene bottles and feed them into the dairies’ filling lines at rates of up to 250 bottles a minute.
The order is the fruit of six months spent developing new markets for Knight Warner’s well established UK-designed and manufactured equipment, which uses patented technology developed over the last 10 years.
Managing director Kevin Parkin says there are now considerable opportunities for UK manufacturers to start exporting and become serious competitors in international markets.
Mr Parkin joined Knight Warner earlier this year after completing the turnaround of 180-year-old Sheffield heavy engineering company DavyMarkham and its subsequent sale to $1 billion turnover Indian conglomerate Hindustan Dorr Oliver.
Knight Warner said at the time that his role would be to develop international markets and links with university researchers to develop products and advanced manufacturing techniques.
Mr Parkin says Knight Warner will continue to develop its export potential, capitalising on the entitlement it secured in May to use the Made in Sheffield brand as a mark of quality UK manufacturing.
Icon Equipment International is Australia’s largest manufacturer of filling and capping machines and has an extensive international customer base, which includes food manufacturers such as Nestlé, Coca Cola, Danone and Parmalat.
It says it sees its relationship with Knight Warner developing considerably in the future, opening up the prospects of more international work for the firm.
Knight Warner makes equipment for the food and drink, steel, power, crane, rail, aggregates, water, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and canning industries.