FES opens new manufacturing facility

21st February 2018

North East offshore specialist Flexible Engineered Solutions (FES) is creating 20 new jobs after opening a new manufacturing facility.

Ashington-based FES has delivered a significant boost to its 50-strong workforce after investing in a new 25,000sqft manufacturing facility in Cramlington, which will also become a training base to bring new skilled engineers into the sector.

The firm supplies fluid transfer systems to oil and gas clients around the globe and, until now, has outsourced some of its processes to other companies.

The opening of the new plant in Cramlington means the business will be able to carry out some of those processes in-house, including fabrication and manufacturing.

However, with its entire supply chain within a 25-mile radius of Ashington, some processes will continue to be outsourced once the Cramlington facility is fully operational.

The large site also provides the firm with the additional height needed to develop new products for oil and gas fields in increasingly challenging environments.

It will also serve as a base for apprenticeship schemes and other training programmes, aimed at nurturing skills which are being lost to the sector as members of its ageing workforce retire.

Engineering UK recently published a report which suggested an additional 1.8m engineers and technically qualified people are needed in Britain by 2025.

FES managing director Rob Anderson said: “This investment demonstrates our commitment to the North East.

“There is the common assumption that manufacturing in Asia-Pacific is much cheaper than in the UK – but this overlooks the potentially expensive issues that come with quality and control problems.

“We now have a manufacturing facility on our doorstep, making it much easier for us to ensure we continue delivering high quality products to the market.

“Despite the current climate, in which many businesses in our industry are closing or downsizing, we have taken the bold move to invest heavily in our long-term future.”

FES, which marks its 20th anniversary this year, sees 90% of its business come from clients outside the UK.

Projects the firm is carrying out this year include the delivery and installation of key components to oil and gas fields off the coasts of Ghana, Indonesia and China.

Despite job cuts elsewhere in the sector, FES avoided any redundancies following the collapse of the oil price, when it halved from $100 per barrel in 2014.