Rittal Group has committed to long-term investment in Rittal-CSM, its Plymouth-based manufacturing facility. The plant is now in a prime position to capitalise on the myriad of opportunities that are being created across the global technology sector in automation, IoT, cloud-based computing – and even driverless cars.
The German-owned international engineering company is a leading global provider of industrial enclosures, power distribution, climate control, and IT infrastructure as well as software and services. It employs more than 550 members of staff at Rittal-CSM, its manufacturing facility in Roborough.
In the last 18 months, the facility has registered record growth of 30 percent, taking its annual turnover to £90 million, mostly in exports. In that time, it has taken on 200 new employees and announced plans to increase the number of apprenticeships in 2019.
Its success was recognised when it was named Manufacturer of the Year in the Western Morning News’s Business of the Year Awards 2018.
Professor Friedhelm Loh, who founded Rittal as part of the Friedhelm Loh Group in 1961, and has overseen the Group’s growth to a 2.6 billion euro business, announced recently (in German magazine Handelsblatt) that regardless of any current political uncertainty, he does not expect “any significant changes in our corporate strategy in England…We continue to regard England as an important economic nation for us and are committed to the site through further investment.”
Dr Stephen Hobbs, managing director Rittal UK and Ireland, says, “We’re delighted. We recognise there is a lack of surety throughout Europe at the moment, but our business is buoyant and we’re feeling very confident; we see only growth across our core export markets.”
The company is now focusing on installing cutting-edge technology and digitalisation, using state-of-the-art robots and harnessing artificial intelligence to maximise productivity levels within its operations.
Dr Hobbs continues, “We are currently installing new machinery, shipped especially from Germany, to support an exciting programme of new product development and innovation.
“This underpins our status as a world-class manufacturing plant. Our engineers are involved in delivering the next generation of IT solutions for cloud providers such as Microsoft, as well as product development for open compute platforms used by Facebook and Google.”
Rittal-CSM is also planning further investment in training and engineering skills development, building on its close links to major educational institutions in the city, including UTC Plymouth, City College Plymouth and the University of Plymouth.
“We know that automation, the digital economy and artificial intelligence is a game-changer,” advises Dr Hobbs. “You only have to look at the potential for technology such as driverless cars and cloud computing. We’re involved at the leading-edge which is why we are working so hard to develop the next generation of engineers in Plymouth.”