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SMC picks UK as site for European lab

01 May, 2000

SMC picks UK as site for European lab

SMC Pneumatics` Milton Keynes site has been chosen to host a technical centre that will conduct research, and develop products, for the whole of Europe.

Announcing the decision at the Ifpex exhibition in Birmingham, SMC`s UK managing director, Steve Bangs, revealed that SMC plans to invest around £4m in the European Technical Centre (ETC). He expects around 80 people to be working in the Centre by this time next year.

Until now, almost all of SMC`s development work has been done in Japan and has been aimed at satisfying the demands of the home market. The company has decided that it requires additional technical centres in Europe and North America to meet the particular needs of those markets.

About half of SMC`s sales are now outside Japan. At the same time, SMC is doubling the size of its research and development centre in Tsukuba, Japan, which already employs about 750 engineers. About 3,000m≤ of space at SMC`s Milton Keynes site is being allocated to the technical centre. This will include a 400m≤ advanced life test laboratory.

Initially, the centre will be staffed by ten Japanese and eight European engineers, but the number could exceed 150 within two to three years, Bangs said. It might then be necessary to transfer the operation to a dedicated new building on the site, he added. Bangs also announced that SMC in the UK will, in future, sell all of the products in SMC`s five-volume, 9,000-page Japanese product catalogue.

Until now, the UK has offered a limited selection of products in its 900-page "core catalogue". Products not normally stocked in the UK will be held in SMC`s European warehouse in France. The establishment of the ETC in the UK has prompted the decision to widen the portfolio of products available here, because the Centre`s experts will be able to support the enlarged range.

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