Tong Engineering, a leading manufacturers of vegetable grading and handling equipment, is looking forward to a new era as it starts work on a brand-new production facility in Lincolnshire.
The new factory is being built as a two-phase project on a seven-acre site in the company’s hometown of Spilsby, with the £3.6 million first phase building expected for completion by spring 2020.
The fourth-generation family business currently operates across two sites in Spilsby and Wainfleet in Lincolnshire. On completion of the phase one build, all production will take place in Spilsby, enabling Tong Engineering to progress with its ambitious growth targets whilst creating 26 new jobs.
Edward Tong, Managing Director at Tong Engineering, said the new investment is great news for the company’s valued workforce, as well as for Tong customers worldwide.
“Having developed our current site in Spilsby from its early beginnings in the 1930s, we have had to be very resourceful in how we utilise and maximise our manufacturing space. Our new purpose-built manufacturing facility will provide over 20% more capacity. This will not only allow us to better meet demand for our industry-leading equipment, but with the size and scale of many projects increasing all the time, the additional space and height will prove invaluable.
“The assembly and testing phase of the production process will see particularly noticeable efficiencies as we will be able to assemble several large-scale projects at any one time with ease.”
The new factory will streamline Tong’s processes and make manufacturing more efficient too.
“When specifying the new facility, we have incorporated reconfigurable workspaces, allowing us to achieve more flexible production flow, offer shorter lead times and incorporate the most advanced manufacturing practices,” said Edward.
Edward added that the future-proof design will bring a number of overhead cranes into the new facility, increasing our lifting capabilities, whilst the company’s ongoing commitment to reducing their impact on the environment is reflected in several environmentally friendly features including energy-efficient lighting and heating.
“From manufacturing individual machines like our industry leading Caretaker mobile grader, to complete turnkey vegetable washing and processing lines, we are driving forward innovative and efficient vegetable handling practices within our UK and export markets,” said Edward.
“At the same time, we’re creating jobs, boosting economic growth in Lincolnshire and working with local building contractors and services throughout the project.”
Chairman Charles Tong said the multi-million-pound investment is a clear signal of Tong’s commitment to keeping ahead in the global vegetable handling equipment market.
“We have broken ground on the site of the new factory and we’re all absolutely delighted that this investment is going ahead,” he said.
“Spilsby has been our home for almost a century, but as the business has expanded, we have increasingly outgrown our current premises. Unable to physically expand our site in Spilsby any further, we had no option but to open a second factory almost 10 years ago in Wainfleet. Operating at two sites, 10 miles apart, does bring many logistical challenges, and we have been researching the viability of one new purpose-built factory for many years.
“As a business we are extremely busy – our UK customers are continuing to invest in advanced equipment and our exports have grown by 40% over the last five years. As we continue to grow, we need bigger, more modern premises to increase our production capacity.
“With the support of a £500,000 grant from the Greater Lincolnshire Growth Fund and East Lindsey District Council, this project will help us to stay at the forefront of our industry, increase local employment opportunities and achieve our business growth ambitions.”
Ursula Lidbetter OBE, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership that administered the grant, commented: “Tong Engineering is a successful and well-established Lincolnshire business and we are pleased to be able to support their continued growth with this grant.
Charles Tong (left), with his son Edward Tong, MD of Tong Engineering, plants a spade in the ground to mark the start of work on the new factory.