North east business backing

A circuit-board manufacturer is bringing overseas business to its north east base after purchasing new equipment and safeguarding jobs thanks to grant support from One North East.

Wearside-based Faraday Printed Circuits received a £75,000 Selective Finance for Investment (SFI) grant from the regional development agency to purchase new machinery, as part of the company’s £300,000 investment project to bring business back to the north east.

Based in Washington, Faraday Printed Circuits currently employs a total of 58 staff and specialises in the manufacture and distribution of printed circuit boards (PCBs) for use in devices such as fire detection systems and motorway information signs – the circuit boards ranging in size from sim card through to full television-screen size.

The company also stands to save £10,000 to £12,000 a year after receiving assistance from One North East’s Energy Resource Efficiency (ERE) programme. Engineers have recommended the removal of a generator from the plant and connecting the equipment in question to the mains supply after the study revealed the availability of sufficient capacity. In addition, ERE will conduct training and mentoring programmes with employees.

Over recent years, the company has subcontracted an increasing amount of work to Asia, due to an inability to manufacture more complex design types of PCBs. Higher layer counts are being required along with finer details such as tracks, gaps and holes.

Flatter finishes are also being requested as more Surface Mount Technology (SMT) devices are incorporated into products. It is hoped the company’s investment project will bring back work currently sub-contracted to China and prevent further work being transferred abroad.

Assisted with One North East funding, Faraday Printed Circuits has so far purchased a brand new surface preparation machine, hot air solder levelling machine and top of the range registration system. Early next year, the company plans to introduce a new £150,000 plating line, which will be the forefront of securing orders for years to come.

The grant will also help secure 20 jobs and create three new production operator roles at its 18,300 sq ft headquarters at Faraday Close.