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Home » Global Engineering Firm In North Wales Boosted By £1.6m Investment

Global Engineering Firm In North Wales Boosted By £1.6m Investment

An global specialist engineering firm in north Wales has reported soaring success following a £1.6m investment to boost production capabilities.

Continental Diamond Tool, which is on the Tir Llwyd industrial estate in Conwy, designs and manufactures a range of diamond-encrusted rotary dressers and grinders which it supplies to the aerospace, automotive, medical and semiconductor industries in the UK and worldwide. It can take up to 20,000 industrial diamonds to make each one.

In the aerospace industry, the company’s rotary diamond dressers are used to manufacture parts for engines used in Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner aircraft, as well as the Airbus range A330-A380 whose wings are made at the giant Airbus factory in Broughton. More than 60% of the company’s products are exported to 30 countries, with strong sales across Europe, Asia and North America.

Read more: Projects across Wales getting £111m from UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund

The company, which employs 40 people, recorded more than 70% growth over the past five years and, as part of expansion plans, recently opened a second production facility to make electro-plating grinding wheels following £90,000 from the Welsh Government’s Smart Cymru fund. It is hoped this will help the business increase capacity by 40%.

Managing director Jeff Wirth said: “Sales are now at a record high. Over the past five years we have achieved more than 70 per cent growth in the Rotary Diamond Dresser product line in Kinmel Bay, despite the negative effects to the economy from Covid.

“We now added our second product line to make electro-plated grinding wheels here, along with a CNC lathe and a custom built precision grinder for finishing rotary dressers. Together they will help us increase capacity by 40 per cent. It all adds up to a £1.6 million investment already and we’re getting ready planning the next stage of our expansion here.”

The firm was formerly known as Consort Precision Diamond Company before it was bought by US-firm Continental Diamond Tool in 2018. Although the business primarily sold its rotary dressers to the aerospace industry, the new owners diversified the product range after the Covid pandemic wiped out 75% of its orders due to planes being grounded.

Mr Wirth said: “It would have sunk most companies but we had already started our diversification and we had started a pretty significant culture change here.”

He added: “Because the rotary market is the toughest one, it is also supply limited and, because finding the right workforce and training them is difficult, the larger companies are shrinking their capacity. We’ve seen supply chain disruptions in Europe since Covid which is something I’ve never seen in 35 years. We anticipated those disruptions and we’re getting opportunities I would never have imagined before.

“Our main competitors to this day are not at pre-Covid numbers – we blew away our pre-Covid numbers a year after Covid started and by the second year we were exceeding them. We continue to grow market share. At the moment we’re much smaller in Europe which has the same size market as North America but we’re only scratching the surface so the potential is unlimited for us.”

Finance manager Michaela Lawton said: “The new energy and substantial investment brought by the new owners has been a game changer. We’ve also had a good relationship with the Welsh Government for some time and the latest support we’ve had was the £90,000 we received from the Smart Cymru fund to help with the new technology that we introduced through the electro-plated product.

“The company is on an upward trajectory in terms of growth, turnover, profit and being able to further diversify our product range is the next step forward.”

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