Coventry company creating jobs and diversifying

Wednesday 22nd of October 2014 12:00 AM

An innovative design and manufacturing company in Coventry is diversifying, creating jobs and buying new premises after receiving a major grant from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Automotive Trim Developments (ATD) will recruit another 30 members of staff over the next two years following its acquisition of 33,000 sq ft of premises next door to its current base in Priory Mill, Charter Avenue, Canley, after being awarded £240,000 from the RGF which was approved by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).

The company, which currently designs and manufactures seats and interior trim for the transport and furniture sectors, is moving into the rail industry as part of its diversification plans.

ATD managing director Brett Townsend attended top European rail transport exhibition InnoTrans 2014 in Berlin, Germany, which resulted in enquiries for orders totalling 33,000 train seats.

The 70-strong company has engineered, developed and manufactured a lightweight aluminium train seat which has sparked massive interest including from world leading train manufacturer, Hitachi.

Brett said: “The response was phenomenal. We had enquiries from all the major European train manufacturers and we are in the process of responding to the requests.

“The seat is 33 per cent lighter than anything else on the market and it allows more storage space underneath.

“As a business we have been growing consistently for 14 years and early next year, we will be starting two new projects for complete seating and interior trim for two car manufacturers and during the course of the year, we will commence manufacturing train seats in volume.

“Moving forward, we want to diversify away from relying too much on the automotive industry and for train seats to be at least 50 per cent of our business.

“The RGF grant will make a massive difference to ATD. We are in the process of buying 33,000 sq ft of premises which should be completed by the end of this year and we have purchased a Bladder Press machine, which helps to laminate leather on to substrates, that we needed to meet the demands of a new contract for interior trim.

“In the next three months, we will be creating 20 jobs in seat assembly, component manufacture and sewing as we expand to meet the demand from the train and automotive industries.”

Cllr Kevin Maton, Coventry City Council Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Employment and CWLEP board member, said the highly-skilled jobs were being carried out by people living mainly in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“ATD has already developed strong links with Hitachi and the RGF grant has given the company the confidence that they could handle the manufacturing of train seats as well as development work,” he said.

“There is a great deal of experience at the company and a great deal of expertise in their staff.  The faith they are showing in their workforce to provide a new type of train seat will be rewarded in the coming months and years.

“The Regional Growth fund is just for this type of project and I’m delighted that it will be put to good use to support yet another local business to grow and take on even more people.”

 

CAPTION: Back, from the left, Parmy Singh (Coventry City Council), Rob Bent (Coventry City Council), John Sandford (ATD). Front, from the left, Cllr Kevin Maton and Brett Townsend (ATD)

Category: Skills & Jobs