Tong Engineering has begun the second phase of development at its new manufacturing facility in Spilsby, Lincolnshire.
The company, which manufactures grading, handling and processing equipment for root and vegetable crops, completed the £3.6 million first phase in August 2020. A second phase build, of comparable investment, is set to commence on the three hectare site this month.
“We are very excited to be able to proceed with our plans for the next phase of our new factory,” says Edward Tong, managing director at Tong Engineering. “Despite a somewhat challenging 2020, we were extremely thankful that our plans for the first phase build were able to progress with minimal disruption, allowing us to start operating from the new site in the summer.”
Tong Engineering was established in a blacksmith’s shop in the centre of the Lincolnshire town, before moving to a former candlemaker’s factory on the outskirts. With urbanisation preventing further development, production was moved to Wainfleet some 12 miles away, before the company purchased the new site at Spilsby from a local farmer.
The purpose-built first phase manufacturing facility stands at over 126m long, 24m wide and 11m high. Another facility, identical in size, will now be constructed alongside the existing building. In addition, a third building will be constructed alongside, predominantly for storage of components and equipment. “We are currently working across two sites; the new site and our existing site which we have occupied for over 70 years,” explains Mr Tong.
The new site is currently dedicated to the aftersales departments, stores and final assembly processes, and also houses new shot blasting and powder coating facilities. On completion of the second phase, all remaining departments at the existing site will transfer to the new site including laser-cutting, steel preparation and fabrication divisions, as well as all office-based functions.
The second phase building will offer additional production space and will feature contemporary office space and meeting facilities. “The first phase building has already transformed our production, assembly and quality control processes,” says Mr Tong.
Tong Engineering offers standard product lines from box tippers to graders and vegetable washing equipment, but also produces tailor made systems. The range is manufactured from scratch including all electronics and programming of touch screen controls.
In preparation for the transfer of all departments to the new site this year, a second vertical storage lift has been installed in the first phase building, allowing storage of a further 55 square metres of stock items and parts.
“Whilst it will feel strange to leave our existing family site that we have operated from for so many years, we are very eager to break ground on the second phase at the new site this month. We look forward to continuing our business expansion plans and ensuring the continued development of our advanced and innovative range of vegetable handling equipment,” adds Mr Tong.
“The company has a number of dealers both in the UK and worldwide, but tends to work closely with customers on the development of its bespoke systems. Covid has seen a more rapid roll-out of planned remote support where technicians can ‘dial direct’ into machine control systems which enables the company to offer comprehensive back-up anywhere in the world. With 23-30 per cent of production exported, strong markets in the USA, Australia and New Zealand help balance any complexities posed by Brexit.”