'One of the team': Hunmanby manufacturing firm welcomes robot to workforce

Nick Ringrose, Team Leader at Hunprenco, on the company’s production lineNick Ringrose, Team Leader at Hunprenco, on the company’s production line
Nick Ringrose, Team Leader at Hunprenco, on the company’s production line
A precision engineering firm near Filey is adding an advanced robot to its workforce after winning funding to upgrade its production process with the latest technology.

Hunprenco makes and ships specialised products around the world from its headquarters in Hunmanby on the North Yorkshire coast.

The company, founded in 1969, manufactures products for the global glass industry as well as other precision engineering parts for other sectors.

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Now, thanks to a grant of £20,000 from the Government’s Made Smarter programme, in conjunction with York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, Hunprenco intends to automate part of its production process with robotic technology.

Ben Henry, Production Director at Hunprenco, said: “We supply the glass industry with internal moulds for glass bottles. These are called plungers and they’re our specialty. As a result of our years of experience in this product, we have fine-tuned our processes to ensure our quality is unbeatable.

“Our production process involves manufacturing complex components under complex conditions. Sometimes these conditions can be dangerous for employees. The Made Smarter grant means we can invest in a robot which can carry out these tasks, minimising the risk to the operators, with the added benefit of operating more than one of our machines at a time, 24 hours a day.

“The robot will be very much part of the team. It’s not a replacement for staff – it means our staff can be deployed elsewhere. We can literally turn out the lights and leave the robot running, so we’re cutting energy costs too.”

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Ben said the Made Smarter grant had brought forward the investment in the robot by 18 months and that the funding had come ‘just at the right time’ for Hunprenco.

Mike Pennington, Business Relationship Manager for Made Smarter in the York and North Yorkshire Region, said: “This is the second maximum-amount grant issued in quick succession by Made Smarter for the York and North Yorkshire area. It’s great to see a company like Hunprenco really take its manufacturing process to the next level. This is a case of a local company serving a global market.

“We want to see more and more manufacturing and food producing companies in York and North Yorkshire embracing the latest technology and digital production processes. I’m looking forward to announcing more successful applications very soon.”