Engineering company establishes Ballymena site, to create 22 jobs
Invest NI's chief executive Alastair Hamilton (right) with Derek Gaston, AGR Automation's managing director, during a visit to the company's site in Woodside Road Industrial Estate in Ballymena, Co Antrim. Photo by Michael Cooper

Engineering company establishes Ballymena site, to create 22 jobs

10 Jul 2014

Engineering company AGR Automation Ltd is to create 22 jobs over five years in Ballymena, Co Antrim, with the establishment of an engineering site in the town.

Most of the initial jobs will consist of mechanical and electrical technician roles, to be followed by the recruitment of staff to fill mechanical, electrical and industrial software design positions.

Invest NI has offered the Arbroath, Scotland-headquartered company an employment grant of stg£220,000 for the jobs.

AGR Automation designs and manufactures high-performance bespoke automation solutions for high-volume parts assembly, mainly in the medical, personal care and industrial electro-mechanical device markets. It has equipment installed at client operating sites globally.

Deciding to expand

Derek Gaston, AGR Automation’s managing director, said the company has grown rapidly and blue chip clients based in the US and Europe recognise its engineering capabilities.

“We undertook a strategic review of our current operations, taking into account future growth projections, and concluded that we needed a second engineering site to increase our capacity to meet demand for our services,” said Gaston.

“Having considered a number of locations, we decided that Ballymena offered the best solution in terms of quality, cost and the support available.”

This second site will initially focus on parts machining and subassembly for the main Arbroath site, but in due course will become self-sufficient, Gaston added.

AGR Automation has identified growth opportunities in the area of complex full-scale automation systems for makers of medical devices and personal care products.

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI’s chief executive, said as well as funding AGR Automation with an employment grant, the agency is providing some stg£50,000 of support under its Skills Growth Programme for engineering, design, IT and management training.

“This assistance for skills development is an important element of our overall support package and will play a key role in ensuring the new operation quickly gets up to speed,” Hamilton said.

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic. She came to Ireland from Canada, where she had held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she wasn’t saving dangling participles, she was training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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