On Tuesday, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal visited Rawdon where she officially opened the Airedale International facilities.
The premises were previously devastated by fire in 2013, when over 100 firefighters fought the blaze. The building was completely gutted and black smoke could reportedly be seen for miles.
After a presentation where the Princess Royal met the board, she toured the facilities and met staff. She learned how the plant functioned and what work is carried out on the premises. This tour aimed to highlight the importance of the manufacturing industry in the UK economy.
Ryan Bartlett was one of those lucky enough to be presented to the Princess. He has spent the last four years working at Airedale, gaining experience as a Design Engineer while working part-time for a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
He said: “It was an amazing opportunity to have met The Princess Royal. I love working in the manufacturing sector, every day is always different, and it gives me such satisfaction to be part of such a diverse range of projects.”
The tour encompassed all areas of the plant including; the research and development centre, sheet metal production, paint plant, and coil assembly areas; the offices; precision air conditioning production line, chiller area, CITB approved training school workshops and classroom.
The Princess Royal’s visit ended with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the reception area.
After her visit, Clive Parkman, Managing Director, said: “It was an incredible honour to receive this visit by The Princess Royal, and one that our employees will remember for years to come. We are very proud of our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities here in Rawdon, and the teams that run them, so it was a pleasure to be able to present these to such a prestigious guest. We are very privileged that The Princess Royal has taken such interest in our work and the future of British manufacturing.”
The building is fully operational after being rebuilt from the ground up. It can boast a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating for it’s environmental credentials. The building also features a number of improvements in health and safety, aesthetic and environmental considerations for local businesses and residents alike.
The new facility also has one of the biggest state-of-the-art research and development centers in Europe. Established in 1974, Airedale International Air Conditioning has three manufacturing bases in three continents with customers in over sixty countries with six hundred employees around the world. The company designs high technology cooling systems for customers all around the world.
Everyone was back in Rawdon this January when the administrators moved back. This return to Rawdon was done in phases. It was last year during all this moving about when the company began plans to rebuild this facility – to make it better than before.
After the fire, the company was forced to temporarily move to a site in Leeds city centre.
All was not lost, however when Airedale opened its facility in Moscow just weeks after the fire. And last year saw the launch of its Dubai Airport Freezone office in February. This event was attended by more than 40 customers and international business partners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain.