Rise in automation drives growth for engineering specialist

L-R Alan Messenger – Sales Director, Alan McKenzie – Business Development Manager, Greg Edwards – Business Development Manager, Robbie Sewell – Proposals Engineer

AN ENGINEERING automation specialist is continuing to invest in the North East, after playing a key role in pandemic-proofing production lines across the globe last year.

Optimal Industrial Automation, which provides automation solutions for clients across the globe, has signed an extended lease at its Darlington office, after seeing sales increase by 20% over the past 12 months.

The company, which is headquartered in Bristol and opened its North East base six years ago, helps companies from an array of sectors improve productivity and reduce overheads, from pharmaceutical giants to paint, aerospace and food and drink manufacturers.

Sales director, Alan Messenger, said: “We saw a huge uplift in demand for our automation software and services over the past 12 months, as social distancing measures and supply shortages left manufacturers the world over seeking new ways to increase productivity and cut costs.

“The demands placed on manufacturers during the pandemic in relation to production costs, product quality and business sustainability increased at a faster rate than ever before, and our primary aim at Optimal is to help companies become more competitive and drive innovation.

“Two of our core sectors, paint and pharmaceuticals, also proved to be two of the most successful industries in what was, for most industries, one of the toughest trading periods in history, as the race to develop vaccines and PPE accelerated and furloughed Brits turned to home improvement and DIY to fill their spare time.”

Led by managing director, Martin Gadsby, Optimal Industrial Automation now employs 44 people across its bases in Bristol and Darlington and is set to continue growing its headcount at both sites over the next 12 months, as well as exploring the opportunity of opening a base in the North West.

“We opened the Darlington office six years ago when we recruited our first employee from the North East and the office has since gone on to become a key driver of growth,” Alan added.

“Not only has it allowed us to tap into the region’s rich talent pool, but it has also pitted us in a central location at the heart of the North’s industrial heartland, with North Yorkshire, Teesside and the North East right on our doorstep.

“Our office at Business Central is also directly opposite the train station, which is just over two hours from London, meaning we’re able to easily meet with clients face-to-face, in an environment that suits them, and benefit from access to dedicated meeting and training facilities.”

The new lease will see Optimal Industrial Automation extend its stay in the city to 2023 and will see the company continue to invest in its headcount with three new recruits joining over the next 12 months.

Vanessa Wood, centre manager at Business Central, said: “Optimal was our very first tenant at Business Central when we opened our doors back in 2015 and we’re delighted to see them going from strength-to-strength by continuing to invest in Darlington. We’d like to wish them all the best for the future.”

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