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Tile firm in £2m investment

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By Fiona Reid
Tile firm in £2m investment

A £2M upgrade has secured the future of a factory in Lochmaben which employs 60 people.

Russell Roof Tiles (RRT) has unveiled a new utility plant at their Halleaths manufacturing site.

It has been officially opened by CEO Juan Presamo after two years in the planning and delays due to covid.

The company says the investment is the ‘most substantial update’ to the 11 acre site for many years and will ensure continued 24-hour output so they can meet the high level of demand for their pitched roofing tiles.

The new facility uses the latest robotic technology – the firm’s first robotic packer – from Vortex Hydra which will both improve production speeds, efficiencies and futureproofs the facility for the next 20 years.

Operations director Bruce Laidlaw led the project and said: “The specification focused on overhauling and upgrading all key machines required to manufacture the roof tiles. Part of this was focused on increasing the speed of the production line, and installing robots in the packing system, a first for us.”

The project was started in 2020 but both construction and machinery were delayed due to the impacts of Covid-19.

Bruce added: “Eventually, towards the end of 2021 when vaccinations allowed travel to recommence, we committed to the installation programme, on a very tight schedule to meet ongoing sales demands.

“With excellent teamwork between Vortex Hydra and local contractors, we completed commissioning in April, and we immediately returned to 24-hour production.

“We have very quickly seen benefits with much improved efficiencies at the higher speeds, which in turn has helped service the high ongoing demand for our products in our key markets of Scotland and North England.”

Managing director Andrew Hayward said: “These major improvements will allow us to increase the capacity. This is an important milestone in Russell Roof Tiles’ long term capital improvement plan to further enhance quality across the business, utilising the latest innovations in manufacturing.”

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