Automotive manufacturer TMD Friction has further strengthened its engineering capabilities with the expansion of a new department.
The Hartlepool-based global manufacturer of brake pads created a new flagship engineering team last year, bringing together four existing teams under one management structure.
Since then, because of Covid-19 and other labour market challenges, the team has never been at its full 49 capacity.
However, in the past few months a number of positions have been filled with two new production engineers, two maintenance technicians, a tooling engineer and an electrician joining the team along with existing technicians taking on lead technician roles with a further two to follow.
Alongside that, absences due to the Covid pandemic have significantly reduced, meaning the team headed up by UK Engineering Excellence Manager Michael Findlay is at full strength for the first time.
Michael said: “The UK engineering department was formed to bring together all existing capabilities within TMD Friction, creating one fully-integrated team to support the growth of the business.
“But since its formation, it’s been such a challenging time and because of the coronavirus pandemic and a labour market picture, the team hasn’t ever been at full capacity.
“However, recent investment in people means I now have a strong team at full capacity. That includes several apprentices, one of whom has recently joined the business, two new technicians and four further technicians who have been or are about to be promoted to lead technician roles.
“It’s such an exciting time for the business with investment in new lines boosting production capacity, enabling us to meet increased demand from our global clients.
“Having the UK Engineering Excellence department at full strength is absolutely key to the business continuing to meet output targets and the company’s continuous recovery from the Covid pandemic.”
Michael and the team have been pivotal in a number of improvements being carried out at the Hartlepool plant, with more to come in the coming months including the upgrade of key machinery and the plant’s heating system, the refurbishment of the staff toilets and investment in a new extraction system to reduce the amount of dust within the production areas.
Tom Russell, UK Operations Manager at TMD Friction, said: “Thanks to significant investment committed by our parent group, and several major developments happening behind the scenes, we are now ideally placed to capitalise on the growing demand for our brake pads across the world.
“Key to that is our dedicated workforce and we’re pleased to say that after a tough couple of years, our core departments, including the newly created engineering team, are now operating at full capacity.”
TMD Friction is a global manufacturer of brake pads, with the Hartlepool plant producing pads for 95 per cent of the models for Europe’s aftermarket, including emergency services vehicles and many of the major distribution small trucks and vans.
TMD Friction, which has its only UK production facility in Hartlepool, has been making parts for the passenger car aftermarket since 1974 and now employs 508 people at its Hartlepool factory.