Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
10:42 AM 11th December 2020

Lontra Chooses Sheffield City Region For New Digital Centre

Lontra, a technology company that develops innovative products that address traditional engineering challenges, has been awarded a grant of £1.58m from the Sheffield City Region Local Growth Fund to open a high-value digital services centre on the Advanced Manufacturing Park at Catcliffe.
"Locating here means having access to an abundance of skilled workers and being able to build our supplier network on a local basis..."

The new facility is expected to create 53 jobs in the area by 2024. Lontra is also set to create a number of new technical jobs as the business develops, some of which will be filled by local graduates and apprentices, for which the company will work with local universities and the AMRC (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre).

In the next phase of its ambitious plans, Lontra will set up a customer support operation. This will enable the company to undertake Research and Development activity with customers to support the development of innovative new products. Phase 2 will also see Lontra building a “smart” factory here in Sheffield, which will provide new engineering, research and development and technical support jobs.

James Muir, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Chairman, said: “This is the first step in a larger investment opportunity that will ultimately see Lontra basing its manufacturing capability here. It is great news that the new digital centre and future manufacturing plant will create many new high value jobs in the region.”

Steve Lindsey, CEO of Lontra, said: “This is the start of an ambitious programme to build our digital services business globally. We could have located it anywhere in the UK or indeed the world, but we chose Sheffield. Locating here means having access to an abundance of skilled workers and being able to build our supplier network on a local basis. We see it as a real win-win both for us and for the local economy.”

“Sheffield has a strong history of manufacturing excellence and we plan to collaborate with a number of organisations in the area, including the AMRC. The city is also well served by good access to motorway networks and the ports, which will a great many benefit as the majority of our products that will eventually be produced here will be exported to the US.”

The Lontra Digital Centre will enable the company to develop its aftersales support services to customers for its compressor products worldwide. The Sheffield City Region grant will also be put towards the purchase of innovative 6-demonstrator machines which will use advanced artificial intelligence techniques and sensoring systems to enable customers’ machines to be controlled and monitored globally. This means Lontra will be able to reduce maintenance costs for its customers, minimise downtime and reduce energy bills.

Lontra was founded in 2004 in Warwickshire. It pioneered a step change in compressor technology by designing a new patented geometry, the Lontra Blade Compressor, which is a machine at the heart of many industrial processes. Its innovative design means that it leaks less, uses less energy and is more reliable than traditional machines of this type. Lontra works with many industries including water treatment, food production, pharmaceutical, chemical and cement manufacture. The company has a manufacturing plant in Tylesley, Birmingham.