Smiths Engineering Works (NI) Ltd in Ballymena is a family firm established fifty years ago by John Smith. It offers engine remanufacturing, specialist engineering and contract maintenance services from its premises at Pennybridge Industrial Estate.
Darwin, John’s son, took over the reins of the business two years ago following his father’s retirement.
Seeing an opportunity for expansion, the company approached Invest Northern Ireland back in November 2011 with the idea for a new export focused gear manufacturing and refurbishment division.
Smiths hopes to position itself as the preferred gearbox service centre for the industrial and heavy plant equipment markets associated with Great Britain and Ireland’s rail, marine, wind energy and oil and gas sectors.
Following a review of the company’s plans, Invest NI offered Smiths Engineering a range of financial and advisory support to help the company boost its overall performance and ability to compete for new business outside Northern Ireland.
Commenting on the strategic change of the company, Managing Director Darwin Smith said: “During our fiftieth year in business, the decision to take a greater export focused approach in our business activities was driven by the changing needs of our customer base. Diversifying into gear servicing will be a complementary but distinct service offering for which we have identified substantial market demand.
“Invest NI’s support has helped us to accelerate our expansion plans and boost our technical and marketing capabilities. We aim to utilise our extensive network of industry contacts to secure new business and build on our sales to date.”
Gren Armstrong, Manager of Invest NI’s North Eastern Regional Office, said: “This is an important investment by Smiths which has enabled the company to adopt a new strategic direction and capitalise on emerging opportunities particularly within the renewables sector.
“Recruiting two senior managers and five additional skilled engineers will provide economic benefits to the local community and help the company to achieve its growth objectives.”
The firm has already secured its first export business to the Republic of Ireland and Scotland and also aims to create seven new jobs by 2014.
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