Investing high-technology industrial businesses could find their ideal home at Wilton International, UK. Here’s why.

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Widely known as a centre of chemicals manufacturing, the Wilton International site has credentials that make it an ideal location for expanding high-growth, high-technology businesses.

Industry is transforming. The UK’s Industrial Strategy1 highlights major growth opportunities in areas including sustainable transport, carbon reduction, big data, and healthcare solutions for an ageing population. And as new technologies are commercialised, high-growth businesses are seeking suitable locations and sites for their manufacturing operations.

High-technology industrial companies have diverse location requirements, but a number of themes recur. Typical needs include development-ready sites with large power supplies, excellent transport and data connectivity, and access to a highly skilled labour force.

Wilton International is located in Teesside, North East England - an area famous for heavy industries including steel, chemicals, engineering and oil and gas. The site has its origins in the chemicals and process sectors, which require space for large-scale developments, ‘plug and play’ energy and utilities supplies, multi-modal logistics and access to technically skilled workers. In other words, the same basic location needs as businesses in emerging high-technology industries. It’s no surprise, therefore that Sembcorp Energy UK, the site’s operating company, is seeking to attract industrial investments from businesses in these sectors, including those at the forefront of the UK’s low-carbon revolution.

The following are just some of the high-tech and low-carbon sectors that are projected to see significant growth the UK, and for which Wilton International could present an ideal site solution:

Battery Technologies

The growth of electric vehicles will require a rapid expansion of battery production, and the UK is striving to become a global leader in the sector. The government has funded research and development to ensure that the UK has the capacity to manufacture a new generation of vehicle batteries, and is championing the construction of a battery giga-factory1. Teesside’s chemicals cluster and wider industrial base make it a strong contender for the factory itself and supply chain businesses. The region’s automotive cluster and world-class R&D centres, including the North East Centre for Energy Materials, are further benefits for businesses locating in the area.

As an established chemicals site, Wilton International has the infrastructure and secure environment required to support processes involved in cell manufacture and in the recycling of end-of-life batteries.

Fibre Reinforced Composites

‘Lightweighting’ is a key strategy to reduce the carbon footprints of vehicles including cars and aircraft, and one reason why significant growth is projected in the fibre-reinforced composites market. Being stronger and much lighter than the materials they replace, composites are also used in the renewable energy field to increase the life of wind turbine blades and tidal energy installations.

Wilton International’s available development land, chemicals manufacturing credentials and integration with the wider North East chemicals cluster make it a highly suitable site for major fibre-reinforced composites production facilities.

Renewable and more Sustainable Energy Technologies

Renewables and more sustainable fuels are key to a lower carbon future, and the energy sector is rapidly increasing production from sources such as wind, tide, biomass, waste-to-energy and waste-to-fuel to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.

Wilton International has biomass and waste-to-energy facilities on site, and is home to several businesses, including Ensus and Biffa, that are engaged in ‘circular economy’ activities. The site also hosts Nova Pangaea Technologies’ waste-to-fuel pilot plant, and has strong credentials as a location for additional pilot-scale waste-to-energy or waste-to-fuel operations.

As well as fully serviced plots in a secure environment, the site has established road and rail infrastructure for the transportation of feedstocks including RDF, plastics and other bulk waste such as tyres or hazardous wood.

Data Centres

The use of big data and artificial intelligence is growing across industry, and leading to strong demand for new data centres to deliver the required processing power and storage capacity. According to industry forecasts, the UK will need an additional 40,000 square metres of new data centre floor space per annum to meet projected demand.2

While Wilton International has its roots in heavy industry, the site’s private wire grid and resilient power supply are equally suited to the needs of the energy-intensive data centre sector. Wilton international also offer greenfield and light industrial development plots, including options outside the secure site area.

Advanced Manufacturing

The UK is a global leader in advanced manufacturing, focused on high-value sectors including aerospace, automotive, defence and medical technology. The country is, for example, home to the world’s second largest aerospace industry, after the US.3

The North East of England is home to a highly developed automotive cluster, including Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, while the region’s universities produce graduates in diverse engineering disciplines including automotive, aerospace and renewable energy. Research, development and technology capabilities in Teesside alone include TWI (materials joining technologies), the Materials Processing Institute and the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – part of the UK’s network of High-Value Manufacturing Catapult centres.

Wilton International meets the key requirements of investing advanced manufacturing businesses, including large, flat development plots, established power and utilities supplies and access to a skilled engineering workforce.

Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology

The pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector is experiencing rapid growth in the UK. Big data is enabling the production of targeted and personalised medicine, and the industry is producing solutions to the healthcare challenges presented by an ageing population.

The North East is home to a large pharmaceuticals and biotechnology cluster, which contributes 33% of the UK’s pharmaceuticals sector GDP.4 These manufacturers need easy access to chemicals, industrial gases and other feedstocks, so Wilton International’s established infrastructure, security and freight logistics represent a ready-to-go site offer for companies in this sector.

Attracting a new generation of high-technology businesses

Wilton International developed to meet the demanding requirements of chemicals and process businesses, which continue to be central to the site’s success. However, as industry transforms, the site’s assets and infrastructure are proving equally attractive to a new generation of high-technology energy-intensive businesses.

The site’s private wire network and cost-effective, resilient power supply address the energy needs of businesses in sectors as diverse as automotive manufacturing and data centres. For activities including battery, composites and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, the site delivers world-scale utilities capacities (including industrial gases and water at various grades) and top-tier COMAH safety and security standards.

Wilton International offers a diverse portfolio of development land, to suit a broad range of requirements. Both greenfield and brownfield plots are available, in sizes from 2.5 to 66 acres, both within and outside the secure site area.

But perhaps above all, Wilton International offers a ‘plug and play’ site solution that de-risks investment projects. Plots are pre-consented for industrial development and infrastructure is in place for power, utilities, and logistics. That means businesses can deliver projects more quickly and at lower cost, enabling them to take advantage of immediate growth opportunities in dynamic high-technology sectors.

1 Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain Fit for the Future’, HM Government publication
2 Datacentre Pricing
3 Aerospace Growth Partnership, 2019
4 First for Pharma