£2m investment to futureproof manufacturing

1 July, 22

Two years in the planning, pioneering pitched roof tile manufacturer, Russell Roof Tiles (RRT) has officially unveiled a new £2m upgraded utility plant at its 11-acre site at Lochmaben, Scotland.

The investment allows the manufacturer to continue to meet the high level of demand for its tiles. RRT is the largest independent manufacturer of concrete derivatives in the UK pitched roofing market and employs approx. 60 staff in Lochmaben, plus an additional two sites in Burton on Trent.

The project was started in 2020 but both construction and machinery was delayed due to the impacts of Covid-19. The new facility uses the latest robotic technology – the firm’s first robotic packer – from Vortex Hydra which will both improve production speeds, efficiencies and futureproofs the facility for the next 20 years.

The team collaborated closely with specialists Vortex Hydra – who have been successfully designing, assembling and installing concrete tile production plants globally for the past 50 years. Vortex Hydra have previously worked with Russell Roof Tiles on multiple projects over the past 35 years.

This is the most substantial update to the site for many years and will ensure continued 24-hour output.

Bruce Laidlaw, Operations Director, led the project and comments: “Working closely with Vortex Hydra, the original machine suppliers, the specification focused on overhauling and upgrading all key machines required to manufacture the roof tiles. Part of this was focused on increasing the speed of the production line, and installing robots in the packing system, a first for us.”

With orders placed in 2020, then equipment ready for delivery, the global pandemic hit, and the project timeline was delayed. The Vortex Hydra team were then impacted by issues in getting the required Italian engineers to site, to commence the upgrade, due to restrictions on international travel.

Bruce added: “Eventually, towards the end of 2021 when vaccinations allowed travel to recommence, we committed to the installation programme, on a very tight schedule to meet ongoing sales demands.

“With excellent teamwork between Vortex Hydra and local contractors, we completed commissioning in April and we immediately returned to 24-hour production. We have very quickly seen benefits with much improved efficiencies at the higher speeds, which in turn has helped service the high ongoing demand for our products in our key markets of Scotland and North England.”

Andrew Hayward, Managing Director at Russell Roof Tiles said: “These major improvements will allow us to increase the capacity. This is an important milestone in Russell Roof Tiles’ long term capital improvement plan to further enhance quality across the business, utilising the latest innovations in manufacturing.”

Russell Roof Tiles CEO Juan Prestamo officially opened the facility.

Russell Roof Tiles is a leading independent pitched roof tile manufacturer supplying products for the top housebuilders and high-profile social housing and commercial projects. The company produces thousands of tiles every week that are used on roofs across the country, by premier housebuilders and developers.

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