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Telford manufacturer launches Chinese business

Telford | Business | Published:

A Telford-based manufacturer has launched a new business in China in a bid to accelerate sales in the region.

An existing TIG welding operation at Filtermist

Filtermist, which makes oil mist extractors to clean the air inside factories, has launched the business as it continues to grow in the wake of its move to new premises two years ago.

The company is also investing in robotics and automation at its Telford site, which will serve the Chinese market as it expands following the launch of the Shanghai-based business.

Managing director James Stansfield said: “While we have been operating in China for a long time, we have now received our licence for trading and have registered a Chinese business.

“We now have an office and a fully-fledged Filtermist business in Shanghai, which is a great opportunity to sell more of our UK-manufactured products in China.

“It’s all part and parcel of why we also need the robots. We are growing massively and need to be able to cope with demand.

“We want to manufacture in the UK, and were looking at how to do that and become more efficient. It is freeing up skilled workers to work in other areas.”

He added that the move to bespoke-built premises on the Telford 54 business park – near to the massive Magna International car parts plant which has since appeared on the landscape – had benefited the business, which was previously Bridgnorth-based.

“Moving to Telford two years ago invigorated what was already a dynamic business,” Mr Stansfield said.

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“People saw the business really wanted to go somewhere, and that whole attitude spreads. People like the building and like working here.”

The company grew sales by 23 per cent to just over £14 million between 2015 and 2016, taking on 15 more staff in the process.

This year the company has already notched up a record start, and is targeting sales of more than £15 million.

“We will have a sales team in Shanghai and have localised distributors across China to set up a sales network,” Mr Stansfield added.

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“Air quality is massive news out there, and it’s inside as well as outside. Factories’ workers are no longer willing to put up with poor working conditions.

“Filtermist oil mist collectors are currently available in more than 60 countries and we are constantly growing awareness of the Filtermist brand around the world, as well as our international distributor network.

“This has resulted in a significant rise in sales and we have a number of plans in place to ensure we are able to meet the increasing demand for our products without compromising on quality.”

The robot has been installed to tig weld the internal drums and outer cases – cylindrical steel blanks are positioned on the turntable inside the dedicated welding cell and the robot applies the weld whilst the table slowly rotates.

Each cycle lasts for two to three minutes which is not much quicker than human capability, but increases productivity by allowing skilled workers to move on to other jobs.

Manufacturing manager Brian Lowe said: “Robots are used to carry out a wide range of tasks in a number of manufacturing sectors, including automotive which is a key market for Filtermist.”

Thom Kennedy

By Thom Kennedy
Business Editor - @tkennedy_star

Shropshire Star Business Editor

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