Hardide Coatings, headquartered in Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK, has announced the opening of a new $7million production facility in Virginia, USA. The expansion has been driven by increased demand from North American customers, with sales to the US and Canada more than doubling during 2015. The new factory is expected to create up to 29 jobs over the next three years.
The site in Martinsville-Henry County will service existing and new customers for the company’s patented range of hard wearing tungsten carbide coatings in the oil and gas and flow control markets. In addition, the company also plans to expand in the aerospace and advanced engineering sectors and develop applications for its newly-patented coating for diamonds.
Philip Kirkham, CEO of Hardide plc stated, “Having a local production facility in North America will support the increased demand from existing customers and significantly boost opportunities to expand provision of our coatings throughout the region. We have installed two large capacity chemical vapor deposition (CVD) coating reactors and work is already progressing well on some very exciting customer trials. I would like thank all in Martinsville-Henry County and Virginia Economic Development departments for their help and assistance, and in particular Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Jones for their personal support in helping to get this project underway in Martinsville.”
“I congratulate Hardide Coatings on the opening of its Virginia manufacturing facility in Martinsville,” said Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe. “Growing jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector is a large part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy, and these jobs will pay well above the average prevailing wage in a region that needs them. We welcome the company to Virginia and Henry County and look forward to a long partnership with the Commonwealth.”
The first two senior employees at the facility, Jamey Ewing, Coatings Supervisor and Barry Farmer, Pre-treatment Supervisor, spent 12 weeks during the summer in the UK at the company’s head office and main production site in Bicester. The pair were trained on the Hardide coating production processes and techniques and returned to Virginia in September 2015 to assist with the installation and commissioning of the process, production and quality control equipment.
“Production for North American customers, currently being carried out in the UK, will be gradually transferred to Virginia on a case-by-case and phased basis, taking load and capacity of both sites into consideration,” continued Mr Kirkham. “We have also invested in an ultra-fast broadband cable between the UK and US sites enabling both facilities to operate on the same fast, secure network.”