Family owned lifting equipment manufacturer Penny Hydraulics Ltd opened a new £2M manufacturing facility in Clowne, Derbyshire on Thursday 5th October. British banker and former chairman of Barclays bank, Sir David Walker opened the new plant following completion of the 18-month project.
Penny Hydraulics Ltd was founded in 1978 by mining engineer, John Penny. Initially offering nationwide hydraulic garage equipment and mining equipment repairs, the company has since diversified into new markets, primarily lifting equipment including cranes and lifts for commercial vehicles, goods lifts, lighting winches, tyre handling equipment, and mechanical handling equipment for the nuclear industry. The firm currently employs 90 people and operates globally through a network of distributor partners.
Following two consecutive record years in sales, Penny Hydraulics recently celebrated an end of year turnover exceeding £8M. Various large contracts for customers including BT and Royal Mail helped to boost sales along with the introduction of a 1000kg capacity goods lift. A new line of over 470 hydraulic vehicle mounted cranes added to the existing crane range has also played its part. The business remains family owned and is currently run by 2nd generation family members and a board of Directors.
The construction project that has just been completed at the Penny Hydraulics site, on Station Road in Clowne includes a new warehousing facility to allow increased levels of stock, a new production facility to allow increased turnover of products and a new office building to offer space to expand the company's design, sales and marketing functions and improve customer perception and experience.
In addition to the construction of new buildings, a series of 'green' improvements to existing facilities were carried out, including; the installation of a new compressor, LED lights, solar panels, new computers and screens, the implementation of waste management controls, and solvent recycling. These improvements allowed Penny Hydraulics to build on their effective environmental management system in accordance with the latest environmental standard ISO 14001:2015.
"The £2M investment in our site will support our future growth and therefore makes commercial sense in the long-term," said Managing Director of Penny Hydraulics Ltd, Robin Penny. "Importantly, many improvements that we've made will mean that our operation will make much less of an environmental impact too."
The expansion will mean new job opportunities for the Derbyshire region - mechanical engineers, administrators, welders, and fabricators will be appointed. Two new apprenticeship places have already been awarded to aspiring mechanical engineers through the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield.
Thanks to guidance and support received by Bolsover District Council, the company were able to access a funding development grant of 15% towards the project costs, allowing the site development to start sooner than originally anticipated. The 'Invest to Grow' grant focuses on growth, innovation and the creation of sustainable jobs in the East Midlands area and was administered by Derby University.
Further grants included a £15,000 payment from the Derby and Derbyshire Energy Efficiency scheme (D2EE) which enabled the company to install low energy LED lighting throughout the plant.
"It would have been difficult for the company to justify the expense of going 100% LED in one go," said Mr Penny. "The grant has brought forward these valuable improvements – reducing overheads, improving the working environment for our staff and offering CO2 savings. A real win-win situation."
Local Councillors, members of the local press, close friends of the company and the Penny Hydraulics workforce attended the official opening ceremony on the 5th to see Sir David Walker unveil a plaque displaying the name of the new building. The new 'Southgate Building' was named after Southgate Colliery which was once sited directly under the new facility.
"Sir David Walker is a close friend and supporter of the business - he opened our original factory and office building on this site over 20 years ago and we were honoured to have him here once again to officially open the new Southgate Building." Said Mr Penny.