Tippers are now being built at Thompsons third factory in Blackburn.
This new facility brings the total number of the Group’s production facilities to seven, further increasing Thompsons’ lead as the UK’s largest manufacturer of tipper and specialist truck bodies.
Blackburn 3 is another major investment for the Croydon – based company, with £1.2m spent on acquiring the site and another £500,000 already spent on fitting it out with a new press, guillotine and overhead crane. An on-site shotblast facility is arriving shortly, to be followed in the summer by a twin – bay paint shop.
The introduction of Blackburn 3 in immediate proximity to its other two sites in the town has also allowed Thompsons to streamline its production processes. The original factory, opened in 2000, focuses on fitting out truck chassis with tipping gears, cranes and other hydraulic components. The second site, opened in 2005, concentrates on bodybuilding whilst the new third facility will major on final fit, shotblasting and paint.
“With market demand continuing so strong, we have been very confident in making this next major step in the Company’s development” says Simon Shields, the Thompsons director who looks after all the company’s northern operations.
Simon also adds that “Having a third factory in Blackburn allows us not just to increase production in unit terms, but also significantly increase our efficiency too. Now, for the first time, we can achieve the whole production process from cutting steel plate to delivering a finished, painted vehicle with everything done in-house. Taken all together, this is a great step forward.”
Whilst Blackburn 3 has already created 16 new jobs, Thompsons is nonetheless looking to employ another 20 people, principally for the new shotblasting and paint activities. Increased manpower is also needed for final fit as a key part of Blackburn 3’s activities is the installation of Hyva skiploader and hookloader bodywork which are also witnessing record demand.
Such has been the success of Thompsons northern Blackburn operation that in 2014 it produced more tippers than the company’s three factories in Croydon. The Group’s seventh production facility, Charlton Bodies in Dover, is also working to its highest ever capacity.