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Shetland manufacturer to expand its operations

09 February 2011

A Lerwick based manufacturer with a track record in renewable energy technology is planning to move into new premises and increase its workforce as the business expands.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has been working with Fred Gibson, Managing Director of Shetland Composites in his aspirations to significantly grow the business to meet demand for their large range of products.

HIE is providing £115,940 assistance towards the £425k project which is also supported by £96,560 of funding from the Shetland Islands Council.

The business began trading ten years ago and the majority of the work in the early years involved producing wind and wave devices primarily for universities and academic research institutions out of glass reinforced plastic. Over the years, the company has maintained this work and diversified its product range into new and more commercial markets. The company is now is a leader in the research, development and manufacturing of wave and tidal prototype devices, fish hatchery tanks, navigation lights/buoys, and storage containers/ waste solutions.

The team at Shetland Composites have always been highly innovative. In 2001, the team built a Pelamis wave power prototype in which has over the last ten years evolved from an idea to reality. Other work has included creating a carbon fibre car and developing renewable energy hot water storage systems.

Shetland Composites is in the process of purchasing a site from Shetland Islands Council, situated within the Staney Hill Industrial Estate. Planning permission has been granted for a new 540m sq building and plans have been drawn up by the company.

The proposed new building is more than twice the size of the existing building which will include space to allow the company to engage in more research and development. It is expected that three new high quality jobs will be created which would bring the total workforce to eight.

HIE's Account Manager Andrew White, said: "Shetland Composites are an ambitious business with plans to expand their work and take on more staff. They are undertaking innovative projects which would benefit from the new workshop, allowing a production line to set up for tanks, casings and turbine masts. It will also give them the capacity to bid for and deliver larger contracts in order to grow their company."

Shetland Islands Council's Vice Convener, Josie Simpson said "Shetland Composites is a splendid example of an isles company developing products for the renewable energy market, and the council is keen to encourage that. The firm has already got a fine reputation for innovation and high quality work. These new premises will be a real step forward I think. It'll have greater manufacturing capacity and I can see new opportunities opening up to develop new products and secure contracts for them. Shetland Composites is a real success story in Shetland exports."

Managing Director Fred Gibson said: "The new building will more than double our current capacity and will be more suited to high-end manufacturing This will enable us to work towards business improvement standards and quality accreditations that are much sought after in our industry as well as increasing our productivity ".

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Rab Millar 17/08/2011

This may not work if the price of turbines does not change and the fact that Shetland Hydro companies cant tie you in for another five years ,yes you get your money back if there are no hitches and all runs smoothly but even with the incentive it wors out at an intrest rate that the bank can match in a recession. I was going to get one but not right now, still no return and extras apart from turbine mean its not worth investing and that has repercussions for the whole uk market.

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