Market Growth Leads to Major Investments in Manufacturing Capacity at Watson-Marlow
New Aflex UK manufacturing facilities. (Image source: Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group)
As reported in the Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc. annual report, WMFTG has enjoyed geographical expansion in 2020, establishing new sales companies in Hungary, Norway and Finland. A new sales company was also established in Czech Republic which began trading in January 2021.
As a result of increased demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company made significant investments to increase manufacturing capacity. At the company's main UK facility in Falmouth there was expansion of cleanrooms to add a third tube extrusion line, as well as trebling the offsite warehousing capacity.
Its UK based Aflex and BioPure businesses have also benefited from investment in the new UK manufacturing facilities. The new £23 million, 16,200 m², manufacturing site for Aflex, in Yorkshire, delivered its first production output during the second quarter of 2020. This new facility consolidates Aflex’s original five sites into one purpose-built site, with four of these having successfully transitioned to the new site in 2020 and the final site due to complete its move in September 2021.
Looking to the future, the Group’s Board approved a £24 million investment to construct a new 11,000 m² manufacturing facility in Portsmouth for BioPure; a supplier of fluid path technologies for the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology sector, acquired in 2014. Five times the size of the current site, the new site will also have a six-fold increase in machines and a five-fold increase in cleanrooms. This significant investment will further support Watson-Marlow’s strength and growth in the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology sector.
“Good for UK manufacturing”
“2020 was a year like no other; however, we are absolutely delighted that our own business saw expansion, not contraction,” says Martin Johnston Strategic Business Development Director, at Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group. “We’ve always been a business that believes in investment and innovation – and our plans to expand our capacity in three of our business brands is proof of our commitment.
“Investment in three of our UK facilities is also very good news for British manufacturing and good news for our customers too. This will also catalyse local employment opportunities for the long-term and will support many new, highly skilled manufacturing and engineering jobs. We’re future-proofing our business and preparing for the next stage in our exciting journey.”
Aside from investments, 2020 was a very positive and successful year for product launches, with seven new products released throughout the year. In June, the company started a targeted launch of a revolutionary new pump head, using Conveying Wave Technology (CWT), the ReNu 30 CWT, which fits onto the existing range of Watson-Marlow Qdos pumps.