A Forres engineering and construction firm is to expand its premises in a £2.5 million investment over the next three years.
AJ Engineering is to add 4.7 acres to its manufacturing site, following a purchase of neighbouring land previously owned by Moray Council.
The development will include the refurbishment of the existing buildings at the former sawmill site at Waterford and a new automated fabrication facility will be installed.
The firm, which currently employs around 80 staff in Forres, received £420,000 in funding from the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for the project – which HIE said will create up to 36 new jobs over the next three years.
AJ Engineering owner, Alan James, said, “HIE has been fully involved in the development of these plans and supported us in this project with a grant for our investment in the first and second phases. We had previously rented the buildings and ground from Moray Council and we were delighted that they agreed to sell the site to enable our future development plans.
“This investment will make us more efficient and it will provide the company with the ability to increase its throughput but at a lower production cost. The new equipment will mean that our skilled fabricators will be available to concentrate on the more technical projects and no longer have to spend time measuring or marking beams or drilling them as the new machine will be able to do all this automatically from the details downloaded directly from our drawing office. With the skilled workforce being available we will be able to seek a greater number complex projects.”
Steve Richards, business development account manager at HIE, added, “Moray is renowned for innovation and manufacturing across many sectors and AJ Engineering is a key part of this. This is a fantastic project and a great example of a dynamic Scottish manufacturing firm pursuing its growth ambitions through innovation and automation. It’s also brilliant news for Forres and the wider local economy, particularly in relation to the expectations of new opportunities for young people through apprenticeships.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide support and very much look forward to seeing the new facility take shape.”