New managing director for TDK UK

New managing director for TDK UK

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Chris Pritchard is taking over as managing director of TDK in the UK to oversee the completion of a key factory expansion.

Pritchard joined TDK Lambda in 2020 from VP of finance at the Ultra Electronics Group when Geoff Wilby, who is retiring, took  on full responsibility as MD. He will oversee the completion of a key three year, £11m project factory expansion at Ilfracombe in the UK to increase production capacity by 50 percent. The expansion will also allow the plant to make more TDK power supply designs as a second source to avoid supply chain or tariff issues, an increasing issue for European production.

The TDK Lambda UK plant also works closely with the TDK corporate Advanced Technology Centre in Bristol.

“Guided by Geoff Wilby, and with the support of our dedicated team, I am committed to driving our Ilfracombe North Devon Expansion and continuing to innovate and enhance our products and services,” said Pritchard (above)

The original factory was built over 50 years ago with further expansion in the mid-1980s, and added a £1 million EMC Centre in 2019, but has been restricted by the structure of the building.

“We started working on this two years ago to get the factory ready for the future, and we put the plans up to corporate for approval,” said Wilby told eeNews Europe back in 2020. “We had the approval in March, regardless of what was going on with Covid-19, that was a big vote of confidence from corporate.”

The redevelopment is moving office space outside, expanding the R&D facilities and overhaulling and automating the end-to-end material flow. Raising the roof will allow 9m high automated storage systems to store material being used in production, and the expansion will give more space for a new fleet of automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

“The corporate drive is for ‘location free’ manufacturing so we are designing for common processes rather than cheap labour and that enables the UK to incorporate more lines from corporate,” said Clive Davies, the redevelopment programme manager told eeNews Europe said at the time. “The VLS [automated storage] system [from Modula] uses the height of the building and also holds more inventory to stop satellite inventory stores, with FIFO (first in, first out) no matter where the inventory stores. We have differing heights in the facility, but I’m having to build a new roof to get the maximum size.”

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