Ronaldsway Aircraft Company has taken delivery of a £400,000 machine that could help propel the manufacturing business to new levels of success.
Some of the company’s 250 staff are now being trained on the huge milling and turning device made by Japanese firm Mazak.
Managing director Nigel Brown told Business News the new machine was bought because ‘we are a growing business and our order book is growing and we need additional capacity and it is a very capable machine.
‘And it is the first part of a phased programme of increased capital investment in the business.’
‘Essentially the machine will do some of the more complex parts for some of our existing customers and also some of the new work that we are quoting for at the moment and new work that we have won.
‘We are continually investing in people and technologies so that we can service both our current and potential customers now and into the future.’
And boss Mr Brown revealed to Business News the Ballasalla based business is bidding to play a part in doing work on the legendary Large Hadron Collider, (LHC), which could be worth up to £1million a year for the firm.
‘We have started doing work for CERN, only in a small way at the moment, but we are now on their preferred bidders’ list for major projects.’
Geneva, Switzerland, based CERN, the European Centre for Nuclear Research, that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, has a large project to upgrade the LHC in a project known as the Hi Lumi Project that will take 10 years to complete.
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is said to be the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider, the largest, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world.
Managing director Mr Brown confirmed that the newly installed Mazak Integrex machine will certainly play an active role in the production of some of the parts for CERN.
Mr Brown said the company was looking to diversify into new areas such as science and technology. And the company was also forging links with the STFC -The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) which is a UK government body that carries out civil research in science and engineering and effectively is a purchasing body for UK major research projects.
Why do they see it as a good opportunity for the company?
Mr Brown said: ‘The type of work we are looking at are very technical components some of which are used in the particle accelerators.
‘We can provide the complete solutions and also it’s using the skills and knowledge of our engineers and help CERN in developing the design of these components.’
He confirmed it was good news for the Isle of Man that the long established company was linking with CERN and STFC and they are two organisations at the forefront of physics research.
Asked how much it could be worth for the island company Mr Brown said: ‘The market could be worth £1m to £2m a year for us.
‘My business manager’s been over to visit CERN and in a couple of week’s time we are going over for a business seminar.
‘This is part of a regular programme of events at both CERN and STFC that we go to.’
Mr Brown admitted it was a ‘feather in the cap’ for the Isle of Man to be involved with this level of technology.
In the history of the company RAC had done a wide range of work for the main OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] in the aerospace sector. RAC are now looking to diversify into two key areas, the Defence and Scientific markets.
So in addition to the new work for CERN, they are bidding for major work packages on a number of current defence projects.
The company has been working hard to raise its profile within its key markets and this is now showing success in being asked to bid for these projects.
The company is also celebrating the launch of its new website, www.rlc-ronaldsway.com, which is getting its message out to the world.
Mr Brown said there was a great optimistic feeling among the workforce who include a batch of new apprentices.
‘It is very exciting for all our staff to be involved in such high profile work’.
A delegation from the Department of Economic Development visited the factory last week to see the £400,000 machine for themselves.
DED minister Laurence Skelly and department member Graham Cregeen were impressed with what they saw.
Mr Brown praised the links and positive help provided by the government.
l Mr Skelly is a candidate standing for Rushen in the general election today (Thursday). Also standing for Rushen are Lee Cussons, James Hampton, Mark Kemp and Juan Watterson.
l Graham Cregeen is standing in the Arbory, Castletown and Malew constituency. Also standing are Stephen Crowther, Phil Gawne, Richard McAleer, Jason Moorhouse, Carl Parker and Carol Quine.