Landmark contract helps manufacturer go with the grain

DLAW at Port of Sunderland

A North East manufacturer of industrial heating units for the agriculture sector is celebrating after securing its largest contract to date.

DLAW Contractors, based at Port of Sunderland, has created four new jobs as a direct result of the six-figure contract win, which will see it manufacture, supply and install a 6.2 megawatt output grain drying unit for a working farm in Northumberland.

The grain drying unit – which will be powered by two geo-thermal ground-source heat pumps – was designed and procured by renewable energy specialist Calibrate Energy Engineering on behalf of the farm. The project will drastically reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and significantly reduce its carbon footprint when fully operational.

The contract win marks the 17th industrial heating unit to roll-off the DLAW production line since the company opened its manufacturing facility at the port in April 2019 and has seen the firm recruit four more staff - from accounts to coded welders - to help ease its ever-growing workload.

Dale Barry, co-founder and managing director at DLAW, said: “This is a huge win for us and we are absolutely delighted to be in a position where we can continue investing in the business and create opportunities for local people, especially during a period of such economic uncertainty.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve seen the business grow from a team of four to a team of 12 full-time members of staff operating from our own, dedicated manufacturing facility, and we couldn’t be happier with how the company has progressed.

“As well as manufacturing our geothermal heating units, we also have a contract to manufacture solar-powered containerised, transportable water treatment systems for Pure Water International. The units provide a self-sufficient and sustainable way for hard to reach communities across the globe to access clean drinking water and we’re confident both sides of the business will continue to grow as we look to the future.”

Shane McDonald, director of Calibrate Energy Engineering, added: “We awarded the contract of principal contractor to DLAW based on its understanding of the product and expertise in the manufacturing sector, which gave us confidence to move forward with the project and we are delighted to be working with them”.

DLAW secured the contract after tapping into support from the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project, a £10.9million business support programme led by the University of Sunderland and backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The support helped DLAW not only identify the machinery required to improve its manufacturing process but also provided it with the funding to help with the purchase of a new 8x4 CNC Plasma Cutter machine.

“The support we’ve received from SAM has been fantastic,” Dale added. “Not only has it helped us invest in new machinery, but it has also helped us improve our processes and ensure we are running as lean an operation as possible.

“Without the new CNC Plasma machine we would have struggled to take on a project of this size and I couldn’t recommend the project enough to any manufacturing business looking to futureproof their business and continue growing post-pandemic.”

Ken Teears, project manager at SAM, said: “The SAM Project was set up to provide innovative SME manufacturers across the North East with the tools and capital required to help them push the boundaries of their respective industries and DLAW is a perfect example of this.

“As a start-up business, the company has been able to adapt quicker than most to changes in its key markets and this is evident by its latest success which has seen the firm punch well above its weight and position it as a key challenger in the supply of industrial heating units. We are delighted to have been able to support the company and would like to wish them all the best for the future.”

Matthew Hunt, director of Port of Sunderland, has also worked closely with DLAW over the past 18 months, helping the company identify the space and infrastructure required to ensure it has continued to meet the demand for its products from customers across the globe.

Matthew said: “We have invested millions in ensuring Port of Sunderland is investment-ready over recent years and to see companies such as DLAW not only investing here, but growing at such rapid pace, is fantastic to see.

“Over the past year and a half we’ve seen the company grow from what was literally a workshop in a container, to its own dedicated manufacturing facility, and we are looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the business.”

Get in touch with our team at Port of Sunderland

Matthew Hunt
Port Director
matthew.hunt@sunderland.gov.uk
Captain Kevin Ullah
Harbour Master
captain.ullah@sunderland.gov.uk
Keith Middleton
Cargo Operations Manager
keith.middleton@sunderland.gov.uk
Neil Mearns
Marine Services Manager / PFSO
neil.mearns@sunderland.gov.uk
Karen Lindsay
Commercial Officer
karen.p.lindsay@sunderland.gov.uk
Jon Holvey
Port Engineering Manager
john.holvey@sunderland.gov.uk
Darren Day
Logistics Manager
darren.day@sunderland.gov.uk
Andy Foster
Business Development Manager
andrew.foster@sunderland.gov.uk