Several new jobs will be created after Teesside engineering firm Tees Components was awarded a contract by Cammell Laird shipyard to supply four of its White Gill thrusters to be fitted on a major new research ship.
Contracted by Cammell Laird, Tees Components will design, manufacture, build and commission four 60-T3S-QR models of its 360° azimuth thrusters, which will enable the polar research vessel to manoeuvre and position extremely accurately even in heavy ice water conditions.
The vessel will be owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). It is a £200m Government investment to maintain the UK’s position at the forefront of climate and ocean research, and will operate in both Antarctica and the Arctic.
Lead design engineer Adam Robson said: “We are delighted to be working with Cammell Laird and their design team, Rolls Royce, on this prestigious project and also to continue our working relationship with NERC. The installation of four of our thrusters on this vessel will provide excellent manoeuvrability and station-keeping abilities in the extreme conditions in which this vessel will be operating.”
NERC and BAS are long-term users of the Tees White Gill Thruster, the units being installed on RRS Discovery, James Clark Ross, and Charles Darwin.
John Drummond, Project Director of Cammell Laird, said: “Following on from technical compliance meetings and contract negotiations, Cammell Laird are delighted to have awarded a contract to Tees White Gill for the manufacture and supply of 4-off 60TS3S-QR vertical shaft thrusters, the thrusters will be integrated into the new build of a POLAR Research vessel, RRS SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH which is being constructed at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Merseyside”
Tees Components has been operating out of its North Skelton site for over 50 years, providing heavy engineering subcontract services to a wide range of power generation clients.
The company expanded with the addition of the White Gill product in 2005, when Managing Director Clive Wood successfully secured the intellectual property rights in an acquisition from Elliott Turbomachinery. Tees Components’ team of mechanical and control engineers now supports the thrusters installed in ships worldwide, as well as designing and manufacturing new units.
A family-owned, family-managed business, Tees Components is a well-known local employer of apprentices and supporter of STEM education, and in 2015 won the Teesside Business Award for its engineering apprenticeship training programme. The new order is expected to create several new jobs in fabrication and machining trades.