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Leading multinational pitch manufacturer makes £1.8m commitment to Cumbria

L-R: Luke Edwards, Technical Director of SIS Pitches and George Mullan, CEO of SIS Pitches

A leading UK-based pitch manufacturing company has invested £1.8 million in a new turf production facility, safeguarding more than 50 jobs, and creating an additional 15 positions by 2022.

Despite the uncertainty facing UK businesses through Brexit, SIS Pitches has re-affirmed its commitment to British manufacturing with this major investment.

The purchase of a new backing plant will allow SIS Pitches to extend its current site in Maryport, Cumbria, increase production volumes and grow its workforce.

It’s welcome news for Cumbria, where unemployment rose by 1.5% between October and December last year, as recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

SIS Pitches is a world-leading full-service provider in specialist sports pitches and landscaping grass. Last year, SIS Pitches designed, constructed and installed SISGrass hybrid pitches at six 2018 World Cup venues, including the Luzhniki Stadium pitch for the opening match and the Final.

The new factory, which covers an area of more than 2,100 square metres, is one of the most technologically-advanced production facilities in Europe. The company will use the new factory to deliver the highest quality, long-lasting synthetic surfaces.

George Mullan, SIS Pitches Owner and CEO, said: “This investment in new state-of-the-art facilities and technology will support our ambitious growth plans while also creating and safeguarding jobs in the local community.

“The Glasson Industrial Estate has been at the heart of manufacturing for more than 50 years and, despite business uncertainty in the face of Brexit, we are very proud to be able to continue that tradition through this significant investment. We are also grateful to Cumbria LEP for their investment in the project.

“Our new factory will ensure we continue to provide the highest quality products and increased output, maintaining our position as the market leader in the manufacturing of synthetic turf.”

The expansion plans at the Glasson Industrial Estate has benefited from a £274,000 Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership investment, which supports wide-ranging projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences through its Local Growth Fund.

The site has been home to UK turf manufacturing since 1966, when Palmyra Ltd, the UK’s largest polypropylene artificial grass manufacturer, relocated to the north west of England as part of its expansion plans.

The new SIS Pitches facility utilises the latest technology in thermal insulation, LED lighting, laser-fire detection and advanced cladding systems, while the new backing plant will be the most advanced turf backing system in the UK.

The state-of-the-art coating line, the most advanced in Europe, provides SIS Pitches with the option to run either new standard latex coating or their new ‘SISBond’ Polyurethane technology, both of which are applied to the back of the synthetic turf during the manufacturing process to secure the artificial grass fibres to the backing cloth. The line also comprises new turf straighteners and guidance units to ensure products are fit for purpose, plus an advanced roll-up unit to eliminate creasing and enable turf to be rolled tighter than before.

SISBond Polyurethane has been specially engineered to provide a much stronger and durable backing than other systems. It is primarily used for elite performance, providing enhanced fibre retention and greater resistance to moisture.

In addition, SIS Pitches has also developed and launched a new UK-made premium yarn that is designed to maximise durability and fibre resilience, thus further enhancing their reputation as market-leaders in turf innovation and technology.

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