, a world pioneer in advanced engineering technologies, has been awarded a grant of £1.58 million from the Sheffield City Region
Local Growth Fund to open a high-value Digital Services Centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) at Catcliffe.
The new facility is expected to create 53 jobs in the local area by 2024 including technical jobs as the business develops, some of which will be filled by local graduates and apprentices from the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and other universities in the region.
In phase two of its ambitious plans, Lontra will also set up a customer support operation in a new building also at the AMP. This will enable the company to undertake R&D activity with customers to support the development of innovative new products. It will also see Lontra building a “smart” factory in Sheffield, which will provide new engineering, R&D and technical support jobs.
James Muir, chairman of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “This is the first step in a larger investment opportunity that will ultimately see Lontra basing its manufacturing capability here. It is great news that the new Digital Service Centre and future manufacturing plant will create many new high-value jobs in the region.”Abundance of skilled workers
Lontra CEO Steve Lindsey said: “This is the start of an ambitious programme to build our digital services business globally. We could have located it anywhere in the UK or indeed the world, but we chose Sheffield. Locating here means having access to an abundance of skilled workers and being able to build our supplier network on a local basis. We see it as a real ‘win-win’ both for us and for the local economy.”
He added: “Sheffield has a strong history of manufacturing excellence and we plan to collaborate with a number of organisations in the area, including the AMRC. The city is also well served by good access to motorway networks and the ports, which will have many benefits as the majority of our products which will eventually be produced here, will be exported to the USA.”
The Lontra Digital Centre will enable the company to develop its after-sales support services to customers for its compressor products world-wide. The Sheffield City Region grant will also be put towards the purchase of innovative demonstrator machines which will use advanced artificial intelligence techniques and sensoring systems to enable customers’ machines to be controlled and monitored globally.
This means Lontra will be able to reduce maintenance costs for its customers, minimise downtime and reduce energy bills.
The company, founded in 2004, recently pioneered a step change in compressor technology by designing the Lontra Blade Compressor, which is a machine at the heart of many industrial processes. Its innovative design means that it leaks less, uses less energy and is more reliable than traditional machines of this type.
It works with many industries including water treatment, food production, pharmaceutical, chemical and cement manufacture. Lontra recently opened a manufacturing plant in Tylesley, Birmingham where it has begun manufacturing the new compressor.