SDC Trailers, the UK and Ireland’s market leading trailer manufacturer has is to create 50 new skilled jobs with the completion of a £7 million expansion to their manufacturing headquarters in Toomebridge, improving production capability and output.
Officially opened this month, the project has created employment opportunities for trainee and experienced painters, welders, engineers and material handlers and will bring the team at SDC to over 900 people making the firm one of Northern Ireland’s largest private sector employers.
“The opening of the new facility at Plant 1 in Toomebridge is an example of SDC’s proactive strategy to meet the growing demand for innovative trailers as required by customers in markets at home and abroad,” said CEO Enda Cushnahan.
“The expansion will revolutionise our manufacturing process and gives us the ability to increase output of trailers by 50% on a weekly basis.
“SDC trailers are now demanded in international markets, where they previously had a limited presence. The demand in those markets is for tailored transport solutions which have been the cornerstone of the SDC success story.
“The new facility has the systems installed to meet the additional demand of trailers in the new markets, whilst shortening delivery times.”
In an era of uncertainty, Mr Cushnahan said the expansion sent out a strong message to the community.
It also cemented the firm’s reputation as market leader in the UK and Ireland while positioning it to challenge in overseas markets.
The project has also been engineered to make the working environment as good as possible as operations officer Cal Carmichael explained.
“Our main objective was to create the best manufacturing working environment in Northern Ireland, enhancing job satisfaction and increasing output of trailers by improving ergonomics.
“The new working environment now utilises 50% natural light in large open spaces and introducing technology in a new semi-automatic paint line.
“There are also spacious changing rooms and a subsidised canteen.”
The expansion is to facilitate piping and wiring operations and the paint process.
The new semi – automated paint facility has been equipped with top of the range equipment, including a robust conveyor system, two bespoke paint bays for priming and top coat fitted with six ‘Wall Man’ units and high spec curing ovens.
SDC is confident that its new paint process is the most sophisticated in the industry, the two pack epoxy paint will achieve a high gloss, high quality and durable finish that will enhance the residual value of the trailer.
The new facility will complement SDC’s award winning training academies opened in 2017 and specialising in piping and wiring and welding, to allow apprentices to receive full training in the new facility during their paid apprenticeship.
Upon completion of their training, a fulltime permanent job is offered.
Jane Millar, Human Resources Manager said, “The Welding and Piping and Wiring Academies have been a great success with people of all ages in Toomebridge and surrounding areas now enjoying careers at SDC.
“Since opening in 2017 we have had 100 apprentices graduate.
“The academies have also provided current employees the opportunity to receive training in a new field, the benefit of this is that it further enhances job satisfaction, one of SDC’s most important values.”