A Wearside factory extension which is set to create more than 100 jobs opens today, a month ahead of schedule.
Car parts firm ZF TRW will be creating 130 jobs at its Rainton Bridge site over the next few years, with the first 30 employees joining the company in the coming months.
“The new building will handle production for this new piece of business initially as well as future business awards.Tim Jayes
The extension at the Rainton Bridge site doubles the floor space at the plant to meet demand from international customers. The investment was assisted by £1.75million from the Regional Growth Fund and support from Sunderland City Council.
ZF TRW exports everything it makes in Sunderland, with key markets including Europe and China.
The new space will initially be used for the assembly of motors used in the company’s new electric steering column system, designed to cut emissions, save fuel and produce a more economical, environmentally-friendly vehicle.
The first motors to be built are for a new contract with a major North American vehicle manufacturer, which begins production early in 2017. The existing Sunderland plant is also currently producing two new belt-drive steering products for other car manufacturers.
Plant manager Tim Jayes said: “The new building will handle production for this new piece of business initially as well as future business awards. The nature of our products means when we build motors, they go to the design and test centre, then are fitted to prototype vehicles for exhaustive road testing.
“The testing period can be eight to 12 months for the motors alone. When they pass all the tests, we can then start to build and assemble them into the full steering rack.”
City council leader Coun Paul Watson said: “We have been delighted to support ZF TRW since it came to Sunderland.
“The company is an important part of the city’s growing automotive hub, and is a major employer and driver for our local economy.
“We look forward to continuing to work with ZF TRW and backing the business’s further growth.”