To meet the increasing demand for ventilation systems in the UK, leading indoor climate solutions manufacturer, Zehnder Group UK, yesterday opened a new modern manufacturing plant, utilising the very latest technology, in Maidstone, Kent. The new facility will create an innovative power hub in Britain, not only serving the UK ventilation industry but allowing increased export to Europe and beyond.
In a celebratory event on Wednesday, esteemed representatives from the local Maidstone community, along with notable figures such as Faversham and Mid Kent MP, Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care), Helen Whately, and The Worshipful the Deputy Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Martin Cox, gathered at the factory for the grand opening.
The distinguished guests were warmly received by Chairman of the Board of Directors for the 120-year-old Zehnder Group, Dr. Hans-Peter Zehnder and Zehnder UK Managing Director, Tony Twohig. Together, they performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and graciously welcomed customer representatives and attendees inside for an exclusive tour.
The new factory, located in the Hollingbourne area of Maidstone, has been strategically located to allow easy access to major transportation routes and infrastructure, providing an improved logistics hub and delivery capabilities for Zehnder customers throughout the UK. It features the very latest equipment and technology in ventilation manufacturing for Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) units, trickle vents and single point extract fans – reducing the need for offshoring and allowing increased export into the EU.
Zehnder has made significant investment in the facility that will offer the increased production capacity, allowing the business to expand its product lines and services to meet the changing needs of its residential and commercial customers.
The new factory site has been designed to meet the highest standards of quality and sustainability and will incorporate the latest energy-efficient technologies to minimise its environmental impact. The new building operates at the highest energy efficiency through the implementation of solar panels, LED low energy lighting, which is light sensitive and self-adjusting, and heat recovery heating and cooling systems in the office areas.
Brand new machinery, such as plastic moulding machines, cooling systems and a fully electric vehicle fleet, including forklift trucks, also work to the latest energy efficiency ratings – lowering Zehnder’s carbon footprint and becoming a key part of its journey to carbon neutral.
The sustainability credentials of the new factory don’t end there. The new site is set up to recycle the energy from cooling water to heat or cool the machines, and then in the winter, reuse the heat from the compressed air system to warm the building – meaning the site is in a constant process of reuse and recycle, putting less strain on the local grid and surrounding amenities.
Zehnder has committed to staying in the Maidstone area. Most of the staff live within 12 miles of the site, including the factory’s operations manager, and every employee has access to a local free electric bus service to help them get to work. The launch will also open up job opportunities for local residents, with a focus on skilled and experienced professionals in the manufacturing and engineering fields.
The operations team will also use local businesses, such as packaging suppliers, facilities management companies, hospitality suppliers (for example local hotels and caterers), subcontractors (toolmakers, and materials suppliers) and logistics providers to help with external requirements.
Zehnder Commercial Director, Stuart Smith, said at the opening of the new facility: “It was an honour to welcome customers, staff and our esteemed local guests onto the new site today – and to have Hans-Peter Zehnder present to reinforce the importance of this opening for Zehnder Group made it an extra special occasion.
“Maidstone will offer us increased production capacity and more efficient technology to expand our product outputs and services across residential and commercial lines. This opening will really put Zehnder UK on the map as a centre of excellence for sustainability and energy efficient manufacturing practices as well as a global hub for exports across the world.
“Through our sustainability efforts and ongoing community focus, we hope to also make a positive impact on the area – creating job opportunities, supporting other local businesses and fully utilising the excellent logistic links that Kent offers.
“The technology we’ve brought into the factory production line is the very latest in cutting edge innovation for our market-leading ventilation systems and this investment is a testament to our commitment in providing our customers with the best products and services – as well as our dedication to sustainable manufacturing practices.”
Zehnder is known for providing high-quality ventilation systems, and the opening of the new factory in Maidstone, Kent, represents a momentous milestone in the company’s growth and expansion. The upgraded facility will enable Zehnder to continue to provide innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of its customers, while also contributing to the economic growth of the region.