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£2m EC motor plant opens for business in Swindon

16 February, 2015

Torin-Sifan, which manufactures energy-efficient fan technologies for the European air movement industry, has opened a new UK factory dedicated to producing EC (electronically commutated) motors, fans and blower products. It has invested more than £2m in the new plant in Swindon, and has created 25 new jobs at the site, which will employ a total of around 90 people.

The 2,320m2 (25,000ft2) facility will allow the company to increase output of its modular EC motors by more than 20%. The plant has the capacity to produce around 400,000 single- and three-phase motors per year. Production of Torin-Sifan’s traditional ranges will continue at its headquarters site nearby. Altogether, the company now employs around 220 people in the Swindon area and sells more than 1 million products each year.

Speaking at the opening ceremony recently, Torin-Sifan’s managing director, Neil Sproston, said: “We are delighted to be able to open this new world-class manufacturing facility. By investing in Britain and limiting our outsourcing to other parts of the world, we have been able to utilise the trusted local skills base to ensure the continued quality and integrity of our products.”

At present, the new plant is producing EC motors rated up to 750W, but there are plans to raise the largest size to 2kW within 18 months, thus catering for almost all of Torin-Sifan’s customers’ needs. There are five production lines in operation, a sixth is being commissioned, and there is space for two more.

The new plant is a response an increasing demand from the air movement industry, driven partly by the ErP fan legislation, for more efficient technologies. EC motors can achieve efficiencies of up to 90% (compared to 20–50% for traditional air movement motors) and do not suffer from losses in efficiency as the motor speed is varied. Torin-Sifan claims that that its EC fan-motors are the most efficient in their class, achieving energy savings of 30% compared to traditional unregulated AC motors, or 75% if their speed is varied electronically.

The motors are also quiet in operation and have built-in harmonic filtering. They provide 0–10V speed control and can be supplied with impellers of various lengths and diameters. Their built-in electronics can warn, for example, if a filter becomes clogged.

As well as being used in ventilation and air-handling systems, the motors are suitable for applications such as boilers, cooker hoods, heat recovery systems and air curtains.

Sproston: a world-class manufacturing facility

Although the new EC motors are about twice the price of conventional induction machines, around 60% of Torin-Sifan’s sales are already for EC machines and its output of EC motors grew by about 30% last year. The company expects demand for EC motors to double between 2012 and 2017.

Torin-Sifan, which has been manufacturing in the UK for more than 50 years, had a turnover of £20.5m last year. About half of its sales are outside the UK, mainly elsewhere in Europe.

The company is a member of the Volution Group, which was formed in 2002 following a buyout of Smiths Group’s air movement and cable management operations. The group subsequently sold the cable management business and now focuses on ventilation products and components for both commercial and domestic applications. Its subsidiaries include Vent-Axia in the UK and inVentair in Germany.

Volution has changed ownership twice since 2002 and its majority shareholder since 2012 has been TowerBrook.

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