Dontyne moves up a gear
Precision engineering firm enters high-tech hub at Washington
ONE of the region’s most innovative and ambitious precision engineering firms has moved to Washington Business Centre to take advantage of the concentration of excellence and opportunity there.
Dontyne Gears has made the short journey south from Prudhoe to Sunderland this year but admits it is making a world of difference to its development to be so close to so many related businesses in its manufacturing chain.
As part of the move to Sunderland, Dontyne has invested £100,000 in machine tools and is looking to increase its workforce in the months and years ahead.
Dr Mike Fish, MD at Dontyne, said: “We’re very excited about the move which has given us a chance to expand and be part of what is going to be an internationally significant manufacturing destination.
“With Nissan, Caterpillar, Cummins, ZF and others on our doorstep and of course the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP) next to it, the area is set to become a Silicon Valley of the automotive industry.
“Sunderland City Council has been great with us in terms of advising us and supporting us throughout the move, but the bottom line is that we are moving to exactly where we want to be because it’s a place with a really exciting future and so much potential.”
Dontyne Systems was launched in 2006 by Mike and partner Dr David Palmer as a software solutions business for manufacturers, combining David’s engineering skills with Mike’s computer programming and mathematics expertise.
Their reputation for developing software, primarily for the automotive industry is now well-established and has an international reputation.
But there was also a growing recognition by Dontyne that gears - a field which many regarded as in decline - could also benefit from their input.
In 2013 Dontyne Gears, which focuses on the research, design and testing of gear systems, was launched and has helped the company go from strength to strength.
It now has more than 180 customers in 15 countries across the globe from America to Japan.
“Japan is our biggest market,” said Mike, who has recently returned from exhibiting machine tools there. “Almost all of the major automotive companies in Japan are using our software in some capacity.
“As well as the automotive sector though, our products can be used in the marine and aerospace industry and we have customers across the world in those fields.
“This move has come at the right time for us because the location in Washington puts us at the centre of other businesses working in our sectors.”
Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council said: “We are delighted to see such a prestigious company as Dontyne coming to Washington and the City Council is pleased to have helped make this happen.
“Like many companies in the knowledge-based sector, Dontyne is focused on growth, innovation and highly-skilled jobs and is indicative of the bright future the region is creating for itself.”
Mike said: “Our software has been involved in the development and manufacture of millions of gears and gearboxes worldwide and our gears are already in five-and-a-half million gearboxes but we’re looking at continuing with our innovation and are excited about where the company can go from here.
“As an example, we are involved with a European company, making gears and testing them using powder metal, who want us research potential applications in gears, which could really change the nature of a number of businesses.
“And we are also working on gear technology which, by making reductions in gear size and weight, or improving production efficiency with small improvements here and there, could help reduce carbon footprint - which of course is going to be a massive driver in terms of automotive technology.”
Situated just off the A1231, one minute from the A19, Washington Business Centre offers a mix of contemporary offices, workshops and hybrid units. The 5,200sq metre facility is located within the heart of the North East Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, at the entrance to Turbine Business Park.