SPECIALIST laser engineering firm SJC Hutchinson Engineering has commited to an investment of £3.6 million in new technology and R&D in a bid to tap into the multi billion dollar global aerospace industry.
SJC Hutchinson has a formed a new division, Hutchinson AeroTech, which will be based at new premises in Antrim and will create 27 new jobs - 14 of them in Kilrea.
It will focus on cutting and shaping stainless steel and titanium components with hi-tech machinery.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered SJC Hutchinson Engineering over £686,000 to support this investment, including £349,000 towards its research and development activities, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The firm is also working with a number of academic institutions and aerospace companies to research the effects of processing aerospace materials using laser cutting.
Mark Hutchinson, managing director of Hutchinson Aerotech, said the expansion builds on over 40 years’ experience working with clients who demand precision and accuracy.
“Our investment in researching the effects of laser cutting on aerospace materials should differentiate us from our competitors and allow us to offer customers higher quality components for precision applications,” he said.
Opening the company’s new 10,000sq ft purpose-built site in Antrim, Invest NI’s Chief Executive, Alastair Hamilton, said: “Aerospace accounts for around 14 per cent of manufactured exports from Northern Ireland and it is great to see Hutchinson AeroTech build on their strong engineering experience to diversify into this lucrative sector.
“This long established company has worked with Invest NI to identify and target opportunities in niche markets. Through this investment, Hutchinson is poised to become a key supplier of sophisticated and high value parts for the international aerospace industry.”
Dr. Leslie Orr, Manager, ADS NI said, “Hutchinson AeroTech is a welcome addition to the aerospace sector in Northern Ireland.
The sector directly employs over 8,000 people, generates annual revenues of close to £1billion and contributes greatly to our exports.
“Our goal, is to further grow this high value, high technology sector. It is great that companies like Hutchinson AeroTech are using their extensive expertise in manufacturing to offer this sector machining and fabrication services.. ADS NI wish them well for the future.”