Express Engineering, an EEF/NDI member, has won a £1m contract to work on one of the UK’s biggest defence projects – The Royal Navy Astute-class submarines.
The 12-month contract comes as good news to the company and the Team Valley industrial area in Gateshead, which was affected by the downturn of the gas and oil markets beginning in 2014.
Express Engineering provides full turnkey supply of critical components and assemblies for customers in the aerospace, defence, oil and gas, marine, power generation, industrial and nuclear sectors.
Following the deal with the Royal Navy, the precision engineering group are producing essential components in a dedicated clean manufacturing cell at Team Valley for the UK’s latest class of nuclear-powered fleet submarines. The class sets a new standard for the Royal Navy in terms of weapons load, communication facilities and stealth.
Express Engineering were able to set up the production line in only six weeks and brought down the manufacturing lead times by about 80%. The group hopes to continue working on the next generation of nuclear submarines (Dreadnought class submarines) after the current 12-month contract ends.
Gary Thirlwell, Express Engineering’s Managing Director, said:
"Securing this contract has given us a major boost as we seek to win more work outside the depressed oil and gas sector. It demonstrates the diversity of our team, which has had to adapt extremely quickly to meet new demands. In recent years we have invested over £12m in our facilities to increase capacity and improve scheduling systems to co-ordinate the activity and logistics of complex full turnkey projects - enabling smooth and seamless deliveries all over the world."
NDI Director Andy Collier said:
"This is excellent news for Express Engineering. NDI exists to help member companies diversify into the defence, security, aerospace, and space sectors through proactive business opportunity searches and provision of market intelligence. Express are a first rate company with a strong background in delivering high end engineering solutions into challenging environments. The read across into defence applications is obvious and NDI continue to work hard in assisting Express and other traditional oil and gas companies with their diversification journey."