Yaskawa to base UK headquarters at new Sunderland plant

Yaskawa, best known for its Motoman brand of industrial robots and part of Japanese manufacturing giant Yaskawa Electric Corporation, is a global supplier of motion controls, robotics and drives, with the ambition to explore opportunities in the electric and hybrid vehicles sector.

Opportunities in electric vehicle (EV) technology will be explored with the new 35,000sqft facility at Hillthorn Park, next to Nissan UK and the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

In a bid to create new jobs and secure existing roles, Yaskawa is relocating its UK operation to Wearside. David Walsh, managing director at Yaskawa UK, said the company’s move Wearside was to be at the “heart of one of the UK’s largest manufacturing clusters“.

David Walsh also commented: “We continue to see positive growth and investment changes across our European organisation which includes the continued desire to invest in the growing opportunities for UK markets in the robotics, drives and motion control industries we work in.

“So, it really is a huge vote of confidence in the UK and our new location in the North East is a huge driver for major industrial investment and opportunities to help shape, create and contribute to innovative automation solutions for several industries such as automotive, food and beverage, logistics, packaging, manufacturing, wood and metal working, etc.

“As a business, being close to customers is extremely important to us and this move binds perfectly with that, putting us right at the heart of one of the UK’s largest manufacturing clusters and some of the biggest names in EV development and production.

“We also have plans to continue growing our headcount over the course of the next year and this will give us the space required to enable that, as well as ensuring we can continue to tap into the region’s rich talent pool of skilled workers.”

Yaskawa currently has a robotics and drives facility based in County Durham, whilst its motion products are manufactured in Cumbernauld, Scotland. 80% of European robot demands are manufactured at its robot plant in Slovenia.

The £60m Hillthorn Park is being developed by Legal & General and, once complete, will deliver 620,000sq ft of prime industrial space in Washington, with 11 commercial buildings ranging in size from 21,550 – 124,250 sq ft. The site is supported by funding from central government, the North East LEP and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Walsh added: “Globally, we’re committed to becoming a more sustainable business and futureproofing our operations and the move to Hillthorn Park is a perfect example of that. As a newly built facility, it is far more environmentally friendly than our previous sites. It is a real vote of confidence from our HQ for our business plans not only in the North East but the UK as a whole, and we can’t wait until next Spring when we can move in. It’s a really exciting time for the business.”

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