Newton Aycliffe lawnmower maker Husqvarna eyes factory expansion

A LAWNMOWER maker is extending its factory to meet rising demand.

Husqvarna UK wants to build greater storage space at its plant in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

The business needs the room to accommodate parts and its growing range of mowers, which include robotic cutters. Company bosses have now submitted plans to Durham County Council for the extension, which they say will span 475sq metres.

According to the proposals, the metal cladding building will be erected on the site of an existing pallet storage area. The plans come after another storage base was created at the Aycliffe plant and the business invested in new production equipment. Its kit includes a twin shot moulding machine, which officials say provides a better finish while improving speed and accuracy, with another piece of apparatus due to be installed later this year.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, Caraline Robinson, manufacturing director, said the company’s successes come from its commitment to quality. She said: “The key to our product is the software, which has been developed over 20 years.

“So, while there are competitors coming into the robotic market, it’s the technique of how ours cut the lawn and the finish you get that gives us such an edge.”

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo revealed how Husqvarna was creating more than 650 jobs to meet busy summer demand. The roles, both permanent and temporary, were for areas such as supervision, project engineering, moulding machine maintenance, equipment assembly and forklift driving.

Husqvarna can make between 2,000 and 20,000 products a week owing to demand, which means its staff levels have to be flexible.

Ms Robinson added: “We train our temporary workers to make our products to the required high standards. “Permanent production staff also work annualised hours, so they are working more hours during our busy time and less in low season.”

In 2010, The Echo reported how the 100,000th automower had rolled off Husqvarna’s North-East production line.

Based on Aycliffe Business Park, the firm, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Husqvarna Group, is known for its Flymo, Gardena and McCulloch brands.