VIPs at Spooner Industries
The visit of Prime Minster, David Cameron and Chancellor, George Osborne to Spooner Industries in Ilkley earlier this month, certainly will be a day to remember for many at the manufacturing and engineering firm. Their visit included meeting the Directors and a comprehensive tour of the offices and factory floor in the wake of a buoyant order book and continued year-on-year growth for the innovative and technologically-led company.
One focus of the visit was the Spooner Apprentices. With an astonishing 40% of the workforce (64 personnel) having started at Spooner Industries either as Apprentices or Graduate Trainees, the company’s long term commitment to training is apparent. These figures include many long service employees, including two who have completed over 50 years’ service, which ensures unique skills sets are safeguarded for the future.
Having chatted to the apprentices encouraging a raft of selfie shots, the Prime Minster and Chancellor then went on to try out metal folding on the new CNC press, one of the many technological requirements for the manufacture of a Spooner oven. Andy Carlton, pictured here giving David Cameron a helping hand, said the Prime Minster was interested to hear about working hours and shift patterns. Spooner is currently running day and night shifts in the factory to fulfil existing orders, and the need for expansion both in terms of the workforce and the building footprint is now urgent.
The record level of sales and particularly exports that Spooner is enjoying was another topic that drew the visitors’ attention. Of the £30m forecasted turnover, 70% of this total will be for export sales to countries such as China, Saudi Arabia and USA, as well as the EU. Raising the impact of exchange rate fluctuations, particularly in the Eurozone, the Prime Minister was interested to hear how these challenges could be overcome.
He was also fascinated to understand the logistical challenges of transporting and exporting huge pieces of industrial plant and machinery. The largest single export Spooner has made was to California in 2010. Delivered in 3 sections, once export packed, each section measured 11.5m long x 5.6m wide x 3.2m high.
Commenting on his visit, Mr Cameron said:
“Spooner is a great example of the kind of ‘advanced manufacturing’ businesses this Government is trying to get behind.”
Taking a minute to admire the panoramic moorland views from the company’s boardroom of ‘Ilkley Moor Baht’at’, the Prime Minster also added that if the boardroom was his office he would hardly get any work done!
Summing up an unforgettable day, Spooner Managing Director, Mike Brook said:
“We were very proud to be selected to showcase our business to the Prime Minster and Chancellor. Their interest and enthusiasm for our ambitions and achievements to date will resonate within the company for a long time to come. Despite our worldwide success, we remain committed to growth, Ilkley and the local community and hope our much needed expansion can be accommodated here.”
Selling a concept and delivering a tailored product best describes what Spooner Industries has done successfully for over 80 years. Initially for the textile industry, their scientific approach to the development of industrial drying equipment eventually doubled output in terms of speed and efficiency in that era.
Today Spooner continues to push the boundaries and problem solving for the their customers is the operational norm. Spooner supply industrial processing solutions around the world, providing the converting industry with custom built solutions for the industrial drying, curing, cooling and non-contact web handling of printed and coated materials. Over 80 years of experience ensures in-depth knowledge and understanding of specific web coating and drying processes, which allows Spooner to design and engineer the optimal drying solutions.
Spooner’s air flotation dryers float the coated web on dynamic cushions of air achieving contact-less and crease free operation. Working with a range of key partners Spooner is able to combine expertise to offer customers complete turnkey packages including the provision of slitting, rewinding, roll handling, coating, laminating, drying and air pollution control. Comprehensive pilot facilities, including a high speed reel-to reel coating and laminating machine are available for product development, trials, testing and research.
In summary, Spooner is in the business of delivering optimum processes through technology, innovation, enhanced manufacturing capabilities and skilled engineering solutions from start to finish.
Moorland Engineering Works
Lower Railway Road
Ilkley LS29 8JB