The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Member of Parliament for Braintree and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs has officially opened the new €51.6m Horizon factory in Braintree, unveiled by British Offsite part of Weston Group plc. The 12,727m2 manufacturing facility brings inward investment and job creation to the local Braintree economy.
James Cleverly toured the new factory in Braintree’s Horizon Business Park with Bob Weston, Chairman of British Offsite and Weston Group plc, accompanied by Shaun Weston, Managing Director of British Offsite, and other company directors.
During the tour, James Cleverly and Bob Weston inspected the factory’s robotic automatic manufacturing lines designed in collaboration with Swedish robotic engineering firm Randek AB, which uses state-of-the-art robotic automated manufacturing to deliver a light gauge steel panel system and other components used by British Offsite for the onsite delivery of the superstructure and internal fit out of houses, mid-rise and high-rise developments.
The new Horizon factory is able to assist with the delivery of up to 4,000 new homes per year, with building components provided to both Weston Homes, the Group’s volume housebuilding division, and also sold on the open market to builders and contractors in the construction sector, including local and regional house builders.
The Horizon factory produces British Offsite’s UniSystem range that includes light gauge panels, walls, roofs and floors, with the panels having windows, doors, insulation, vents, fire stopping and external cladding in place, manufactured exactly to a developer’s needs. The UniSystem is a specially developed hybrid MMC that is highly flexible and allows rapid integration into traditional building design.
In addition, British Offsite also manufactures internal fitout modules, under their BOS Fitout brand, which include bathroom components, and kitchen and bedroom products, designed to be easily integrated into existing projects, with full quality control testing before elements reach the site.
The state-of-the-art automated production line, inspired by the automotive industry and designed by Randek AB, represents €6m of capital expenditure and is based around eight robots, designed and supplied by Randek Robotics.
British Offsite in Braintree is the first Randek AB customer in the UK to receive the new machinery, automation and productivity solutions. The robots work together in three teams to control a series of zero-labour production cells including fitting insulation panels, fitting plasterboard panels and cutting window openings.
The factory’s innovative hybrid MMC approach means the time between a site’s ground-breaking and first handovers can be reduced by up to 20%. One fully dressed UniSystem panel can be produced every 15 minutes, and the panels for one entire apartment can be produced every 60 minutes.
The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Member of Parliament for Braintree and Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs said: “I am immensely proud to have such a forward-thinking, innovative business based in the Braintree Constituency, and I wish them continued and much deserved success.”
Bob Weston, Chairman of British Offsite & Weston Group said: “We are delighted that James Cleverly, our local MP for Braintree has officially opened our new ‘Horizon’ factory which is one of the most automated light gauge steel panel assembly lines in Europe and the largest single production line in the UK. British Offsite in Braintree is proud to be part of the new wave of high-tech British manufacturing, bringing very significant new capabilities to the UK construction industry.”