Burnley’s new aerospace village takes off

A Burnley aerospace supplier village is set for take-off after welcoming a US giant as its first new business.

Thursday, 29th May 2014, 3:48 pm
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Kaman Tooling has landed at the former Michelin site and taken possession of a new address – 1 Innovation Drive – a site where council leaders hope will become a hub of high-tech industry.

Kaman’s new $4.2m. (£2.5m.) tooling and manufacturing facility will complement its existing sites in Washington, Kansas and Vermont.

The new facility will create around 50 new jobs in the next two years as Kaman continues its relocation from its former UK location at Darwen to Burnley’s Innovation Park.

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Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle and council leader Julie Cooper hailed the move as a great boost for Burnley.

Business Secretary Vince Cable also voiced his approval saying: “Kaman’s expansion and continued success is one of the encouraging signs of growth in Burnley.

“We are now seeing businesses having the confidence to invest and create highly skilled jobs from the local workforce. We’ll continue to work in partnership with business as part of the government’s industrial strategy.”

The 34,000 sq. ft. Tooling Centre of Excellence was designed and equipped to meet the increased size requirements of modern aircraft structures assembly tooling.

It will also be one of the few in the UK equipped with a design suite for enhanced design and manufacturing.

Mr Birtwistle described the site as “one of the finest tool rooms in the world”.

He added: “This is great for young people who can become apprentices. Manufacturing is the future for this country and I wish Kamen success.”

Coun. Cooper highlighted the £1.4m. of regional growth funding that had transformed the derelict former Michelin site and said that Burnley was “developing a reputation for getting things done.”

She added: “Burnley is at the centre of one of the most important aerospace clusters in the world. The success of our businesses are absolutely crucial.”

Mark Podmore, managing director of Kaman Tooling Ltd, said: “The site will increase to 64,000sq. ft. next year, creating up to 50 new jobs.”