Doors and fittings manufacturer HPP has opened a new hi-tech production line in Oldham to increase output of its bespoke vinyl-wrapped doors.
The new line will allow the firm to ramp up production to 45,000 units a month initially and eventually reach capacity of 50,000 units. This is an increase from 30,000 units a month in 2018.
It contains automated routing, cleaning, glue-spraying and vinyl-wrapping machinery supplied by Wemhoner and Sittex. The Italian-made Sittex equipment is the first in the UK.
HPP has been growing strongly, with sales up 16% last year. Since 2001, the firm said turnover has grown from £5 million to £34m.
HPP managing director Keith Wardrope (pictured above on the far left) said that automation can be a “double-edged sword if it leads to job losses”, but said HPP was using automation to secure jobs and grow.
“Automation allows us to be competitive in the door manufacturing market by making production easier and more accurate. But because we are getting busier, we need to recruit more staff,” Wardrope said.
“Our employees are also hugely important to our success. We have a number of long-serving staff whose skills and experience cannot be beaten, and we are also attracting good, young recruits across a range of roles.”
The company trained 11 new staff for manufacturing roles last year.
To launch the new facility, HPP invited Oldham West MP Jim McMahon and Cllr Sean Fielding, leader of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and site tour. Other visitors came from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Handelsbanken and the Financial Times.
HPP finance director Richard Mottram said: “Support from Handelsbanken has been very important to fund our new manufacturing and building projects. Opening this additional line is an important landmark for our continued expansion and development, for manufacturing and for our support to the UK furniture industry.
“Technology is the way forward for this industry, from customer ordering to manufacturing, and we have to keep at the cutting edge.”
Handelsbanken Manchester branch manager Phil Basten added: “We’ve worked with HPP for over 10 years, supporting all aspects of the business including working capital, investment in property and asset finance. This is a great example of our work with owner-managed businesses.
“The way HPP has grown and diversified by harnessing investment is extraordinary. Their professionalism, improved performance and profitability send out a very strong message.
“They have excellent management and attention to detail. They are a brilliant company to be associated with and I have the highest regard for them.”
Company chairman Stephen Hill said: “All our doors are manufactured to bespoke orders, with options on shapes, sizes, routing patterns, hinges and decors.
“The new line will manufacture doors across 40 styles and 70 colours, offering 2,800 possible combinations. Seventy or 80% of our vinyl-wrapped doors will now be manufactured on the second production line, while our first production line will focus on more intricate orders.
“HPP is now one of the leading vinyl-wrapped doors and kitchen and bedroom component manufacturers in the UK. We now operate 24 hours a day, five days of the week at Oldham, which is a considerable expansion of operations and staff.”
HPP manufactures its own-brand products including Avanti doors, Glide sliding doors and Aspect and Aspire kitchens and bedrooms. It also supplies products by other UK and European brands, including Blum, Egger and Kronospan.