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£1 million plans for Cheadle firm

A CHEADLE company has shown its faith in the town by announcing a £1 million expansion and refurbishment to its factory.

Vulcan Refractories Ltd, based on the Brookhouses Industrial Estate, is to start work on the major investment programme in January.

The news comes after the company won a major showcase safety award at the annual Ceramic Federation Health and Safety Pledge Conference, for “Going the Extra Mile”.

Gary Dukes, managing director, said: “This big expansion will bring us up to modern standards.

“The whole layout of the factory will be changed to gives us maximum production flow.

“We feel at home in Cheadle and most of our workforce comes from the town or within a 10-mile radius.

“The company is owned by an American family who are very happy for us to invest in the business.

“We have been steadily growing over the last few years and have been taking on between two and three people every six months.

“We now employ 35 against 18 in 2009. Hopefully when the building programme is completed more jobs will become available.”

Vulcan, founded in 1969, is the UK’s leading specialist manufacturer of infrared heating systems and components for low temperature process heating applications.

The firm also has extensive expertise in the field of high performance ceramics and refractories for high temperature and aggressive heating environments, and exports to the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Africa and all over Europe.

Mr Dukes said the company had also made huge strides to improve safety.

He added: “We were very pleased to be successful at the recent British and Ceramic Federation Awards as we were a small compared to many of the big companies who were competing at the event.

“Everyone at the factory has a safety qualification and all employees have been great in their enthusiasm for the many courses.”

Enlisting the services of Ian Mycock, ex- Lafarge National Safety Manager, Vulcan has completely transformed its culture and approach towards safety.

Mr Mycock, who also won an award at the conference for the ‘Person who has most contributed to health and safety’, has designed and delivered several health and safety programmes for the firm.

He said: “I was delighted to accept the safety award from the British Ceramic Federation.

“It is a testament to the hard work and commitment shown by all the teams at Vulcan, a local company with local people.”

Operational manager, Stuart Handley, said the major investment and the winning of an award at a National event had brought a buzz at the company.

He said: “The expansion is the vision for our future. This will take the company forward.

“We have a full order book and sales are up by 30 per cent from last year.

“Winning the safety award is very prestigious to the company, but it could not be done without the hard work of our employees who are all on board.”

The firm is also looking to supporting local charities. At the recent Race for Life in aid of breast cancer 14 women raised £5,500.

Mr Dukes said: “The ladies raising so much money that we have set up our own charity fundraising team to help local causes.

“We are to sponsor the under 11 Cheadle Cricket team and this Saturday we have a charity rock concert at the Guild Hall.”

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