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Managers sew up deal to buy Yorkshire automation firm

15 August, 2017

A team of managers has bought the West Yorkshire automation and robotics specialist, Sewtec Automation, which designs and builds automated manufacturing and packaging systems for a global base of blue-chip customers.

Sewtec started life at the end of the 19th century as the design and development department of the sewing-machine manufacturer, Singer. In 1982, the company’s management decided to diversify, initially becoming involved in special-purpose applications for the global automotive industry.

The £22m-turnover business now employs 70 staff in Dewsbury, and exports 85% of its sales. It serves sectors including confectionery, food, pharmaceuticals, personal care and tobacco.

The business has been sold by Bernard Meehan, the driving force behind the growth and development of Sewtec over the past two decades. He will stay on as a consultant to the company.

“I am confident Sewtec is in safe hands,” says Meehan. “The fact that big multinationals from all over the world are coming to Ravensthorpe in Dewsbury to solve their problems is something I am very proud of.”

The management team of Gary Day, Karl Conqueror and Paul Johnson led the buyout with the backing of the Leeds-based private equity house, Endless. They plan to invest in research and development and hope to expand the business and to move into new markets. They aim to attract, train and retain some of the best engineering minds in the industry.

“We have developed a sustainable growth strategy that will allow the business to flourish further, while making sure that our employees remain engaged, satisfied and aligned with our vision,” says sales director, Paul Johnson.

Sewtec serves customers in a variety of industries, around the world

Sewtec’s recent projects have included:

•  developing a laser-etching system which resolved operational and obsolescence issues for a manufacturer of personal care products, while improving productivity and reducing labour costs;

•  designing machinery for producing biomedical sensors that patients with long-term conditions can implant under their skin for self-testing; and

•  engineering an identification system for a multinational manufacturer  of consumer products that will allow it to track-and-trace goods from production, through packaging, and into cross-border logistics, to combat counterfeiting.

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