Image of four men in a factory

Unipres begins installation of £20m state of the art equipment

Major engineering feat has taken two years to plan.

Sunderland car parts manufacturer Unipres (UK) Limited has invested a further £20 million on new state of the art press machinery. The machinery is expected to be fully installed and operational by December of this year.

It will take around 20 engineers working a total of 35,000 man hours to install the equipment. A huge pit filled with 2,240 cubic metres of concrete and 430 tonnes of steel reinforcement has been dug to secure the new equipment.

The Japanese-owned component manufacturer, which opened its Sunderland factory in 1987 specialises in producing parts made from lightweight high tensile strength steel suited to the new generation of cars designed to reduce emissions and boost fuel efficiency.

Managing director Gary Graham said: "This latest investment in new equipment at the Sunderland site will help to sustain our current workforce of 1,100, creating a further 16 new positions and importantly helping our developing export business in Europe.

"New business opportunities are part of our plans going forward and it's important to continue to grow our markets, not just with Nissan and Honda in the UK, but with carmakers overseas."

Since opening for business in the city, Unipres (UK) Limited has invested in over £180 million at its Cherry Blossom Way operation and now consumes in excess of 500 tonnes of steel each day within its pressing and assembly processes.

Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "Unipres' investment in this state of the art equipment and its latest job creation demonstrates the company's long-term commitment to Sunderland.

"The automotive sector is a key part of the city's economy and this major installation by Unipres shows the confidence there is now in the industry here in Sunderland. We look forward to seeing Unipres' further growth, which will continue to bring further employment and money into the local and regional economy."