Engineering giant Rolls-Royce is to plough more than £30million into building a new Wearside plant.
The firm has announced plans to create a new facility to manufacture a range of aerospace discs for in-service engines next to its existing Washington factory.
The new Fleet Support plant is expected to be fully operational in 2018 and will sit alongside the firm's UK discs manufacturing facility, which officially opened in June 2014.
The new investment marks the final stage of the modernisation programme for disc manufacturing in the North East and will complete the planned closure of the firm's Pallion site, which is more than 60 years old.
Employees from Pallion will start to move into the new site from 2017 and the Sunderland site is scheduled to close altogether in 2019.
The new 8000m2 facility will have the capacity to manufacture well over 1,500 fan and turbine discs a year for use in a wide-range of existing engines, including civil (Trent 500, Trent 800 and the RB211 engines) and alongside the defence aerospace applications (EJ200 and Adour engines). Fan discs and turbine discs are at the heart of the engine, operating in extreme conditions.
Mike Mosley, Rolls-Royce, Chief Operating Officer – Supply Chain, said: "Rolls-Royce is focused on transforming our global industrial base to develop solutions that our customers can trust. Our further investment in Washington demonstrates our continued commitment to developing innovative technology and lean facilities, which will improve performance and drive profitability for our business."
David Ayton, Rolls-Royce, Executive Vice President for the Rotatives Supply Chain Unit, added: "Our exceptional people engineer and make extraordinary components. This showcase facility gives us the opportunity to set new standards of excellence for quality, delivery and cost.”