Sunderland engineers chart rapid first year growth
An engineering firm launched in Sunderland just over six months ago is already looking to double its capacity after a bumper start to business.
Turnmill Engineering was established in February by experienced engineers Andrew Howe, Tony Renwick and Peter Tindle, largely to target the automotive industry.
The company is based at the City Council’s Washington Business Centre, near Nissan’s vast Sunderland site, and in a prime location to work with Nissan’s supply chain companies.
While the business has since been working closely with a number of Nissan suppliers, however, it has also enjoyed unexpected success in several other sectors.
Green energy and renewables businesses, construction and other non-automotive advanced manufacturers and a motorsports company are among its growing list of customers.
Turnmill manufactures consumables, jigs and fixtures and machine components, often reverse engineering them for repair purposes or designing them to solve problems or improve production line efficiencies. It also offers standalone design services, supported by computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies.
The company currently employs four highly skilled people but expects to take on a further 10 in the next two years. Meanwhile, it is hoping to more than double its floor space to 5,000 sq ft by moving into a larger unit at Washington Business Centre in the coming months.
This comes amid significant investment in new equipment, including computer numerical control (CNC) machines, to increase its capacity.
Director Andrew Howe says: “Initially we were intending to solely focus on the automotive industry but things have just exploded into other areas as well since we opened. Washington Business Centre is a fantastic location for us, as a lot of manufacturers pass our doors every day and we’ve picked up a lot of customers that way.
“Part of our success comes from seeing a gap in the market for a customer services-focused engineering business. Many suppliers in our sector tend to neglect this side of their operations, and simply focus on making components and selling them. We have strived to be customer services-led from the outset, and our commitment is winning results.
“Also there is an engineering skills gap, so demand for expertise like ours – which comes from over 100 years of collective experience from the three founders – is extremely high.”
Turnmill’s move into Washington Business Centre, and subsequent growth, has been supported by Sunderland City Council.
Leader of the City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller, says: “In less than a year, Turnmill has not only created a fast-growing business but also one that is highly diversified, with a presence in several lucrative and emerging sectors. Its success provides further evidence of the region’s world class engineering talent and Sunderland’s thriving knowledge economy and manufacturing hubs.”
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.