Belfast Telegraph

Aircraft parts firm Hutchinson branches out into music with Linn deal

By Yvette Shapiro

An engineering firm in Co Londonderry, best known for making aircraft parts, is branching out into the music business.

The Kilrea-based Hutchinson Group is making base and stand components for a new speaker manufactured by audio firm Linn.

The speaker is part of a premium audio system costing around £12,000.

Design engineer Ian Ferguson said the company had been approached by Linn in 2015 after meeting several years ago regarding a different product. An engineering collaboration led to the new speaker.

"The team at Linn flew over to Northern Ireland where we collaborated on the solidworks design and came up with the best possible way of supplying Linn's design," said Mr Ferguson.

"The approach to design and engineering is incredibly different to many of the more functional projects we would undertake."

Linn is known internationally for its precision engineered products. Product design engineer Iain Redley said: "We worked closely with Ian Ferguson and the team to perfect the design for the base of the speaker for the 530 system. The team were phenomenal and aided greatly with the design and engineering of bespoke components of the base and stand."

The value of the contract has not been revealed, but Ian Ferguson said he hoped the two companies would continue to work together in the future.

Established in 1971, Hutchinson Engineering is a sub-contract laser and metal fabrication firm with a sister specialist aerospace arm, AeroTech, based in Antrim, and a design company, H360, located in Kilrea.

The group manufactures components for a number of sectors, including transport, material handling, oil and gas, medical, agricultural and aerospace.

Last month, the company announced it was creating 80 new jobs as part of a £4.1m investment, supported with £500,000 from Invest Northern Ireland. And earlier in 2015, Hutchinson Group revealed a £3.2m investment to include the expansion of the Kilrea site to 60,000 sq ft and further investment in laser technology with the addition of two new lasers.

Speaking in December, managing director Mark Hutchinson said: "Our objective is to double business revenue over the next three years. We aim to achieve this by growing our customer base and differentiating ourselves in competitive global markets by providing value added products and services. Investing in state of the art technology, additional skilled staff and further expanding our manufacturing capabilities at Kilrea will help us to achieve this goal."

Belfast Telegraph