Lontra, a technology company that develops innovative products that address traditional engineering challenges, has been awarded a grant of £1.58m from the Sheffield City Region Local Growth Fund to open a high-value digital services centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Catcliffe.
The new facility is expected to create 53 jobs in the area by 2024. Lontra is also set to create a number of new technical jobs as the business develops, some of which will be filled by local graduates and apprentices, for which the company will work with local universities and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre).
In the next phase of its ambitious plans, Lontra will set up a customer support operation. This will enable the company to undertake Research and Development activity with customers to support the development of innovative new products. Phase 2 will also see Lontra building a “smart” factory here in Sheffield, which will provide new engineering, research and development and technical support jobs.
James Muir, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman, said: “This is the first step in a larger investment opportunity that will ultimately see Lontra basing its manufacturing capability here. It is great news that the new digital centre and future manufacturing plant will create many new high value jobs in the region.”
Steve Lindsey, CEO of Lontra, said: “This is the start of an ambitious programme to build our digital services business globally. We could have located it anywhere in the UK or indeed the world, but we chose Sheffield. Locating here means having access to an abundance of skilled workers and being able to build our supplier network on a local basis. We see it as a real win-win both for us and for the local economy.”
He adds: “Sheffield has a strong history of manufacturing excellence and we plan to collaborate with a number of organisations in the area, including the AMRC. The city is also well served by good access to motorway networks and the ports, which will have many benefits as the majority of our products will eventually be produced here and will be exported to the US.”
The Lontra Digital Centre will enable the company to develop its aftersales support services to customers for its compressor products worldwide. The Sheffield City Region grant will also be put towards the purchase of innovative 6-demonstrator machines which will use advanced artificial intelligence techniques and sensoring systems to enable customers’ machines to be controlled and monitored globally. This means Lontra will be able to reduce maintenance costs for its customers, minimise downtime and reduce energy bills.
The Northern Powerhouse is a key aspect of the Government’s approach to addressing the productivity gap in the North and ensuring a stronger, more sustainable economy for all parts of the UK. The government has awarded £3.4bn in three rounds of Growth Deals across the Northern Powerhouse.
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