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Royal opening of new building highlights Renishaw’s continuing investment for growth

13 July 2015

Renishaw Innovation Centre opened on 7th July by HRH The Princess Royal

  • Located at the company's headquarters site near Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
  • £20 million investment including fixtures and fittings
  • 153,000 sq ft first phase development with planning permission to expand by a further 77,000 sq ft
  • Part of a large ongoing programme of UK investments with new buildings in Staffordshire and refurbished facilities in South Wales
  • Her Royal Highness also to present Renishaw with its 18th Queen's Award
  • The then Princess Anne last visited Renishaw in 1980 when the company had just one facility and employed around 100 people

Global precision engineering company Renishaw plc is pleased to announce that the Renishaw Innovation Centre has been formally opened by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, who also presented the company with a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category.

The Renishaw Innovation Centre gives the company an additional 153,000 sq ft of space which houses research and development and corporate services staff, as well as demonstration, training and conference facilities. The additional space is also enabling Renishaw's spectroscopy and laser calibration product lines to relocate to the company's headquarters site. The space vacated at the Old Town site in Wotton-under-Edge and the Woodchester site, near Stroud will provide further expansion space as the company continues to develop.

Speaking about the new building Sir David McMurtry, Renishaw's Chairman and Chief Executive, said, “The Renishaw Innovation Centre is one of a series of significant investments that we are making to secure our future growth here in the UK, and in our many overseas markets. This building on its own represents a £20 million investment and I would like to thank all of the Renishaw employees and our contractors who have worked incredibly hard to deliver such a high quality facility.”

HRH The Princess Royal said, “It is a pleasure to open this new building and I'm sure that it will fulfil all the ambitions that you might have for it, but it certainly goes with my best wishes.”

Building design and construction

The Renishaw Innovation Centre was designed and constructed by two Gloucester-based businesses who are long-standing suppliers to Renishaw, with Roberts Limbrick architects working closely with Barnwood Construction to develop a building that met Renishaw's current needs, whilst providing for future flexibility. The company was granted planning permission for a 230,000 sq ft building in June 2012 and construction commenced in April 2013; the additional 77,000 sq ft will be constructed as required to meet future growth.

For an innovative engineering company, it is appropriate that the design and construction of the Renishaw Innovation Centre was a challenging process that needed innovative solutions. The existing site slopes significantly in places, and the requirement was for a building on a single level, not stepped along its length. The level and shape of the building relative to the existing site was a complex balance between keeping the floor levels low to minimise the impact of the building from outside the site, sufficiently high to eliminate the risk of flooding, as economic as possible in terms of cut and fill to minimise the amount of surplus excavated material, and also to ensure that the car parking and goods access was not too steep.

Due to the slope of the site and the need to optimise the external and internal building levels, the earth works on the site was a significant engineering exercise. Topsoil was stripped and the existing subsoil was cut and filled to create plateaus for the building and the stepped car park. The filled soil was ‘lime stabilised' in rolled layers to give a sufficiently stable base for the building foundations and ground floor slab.

This innovative solution significantly reduced the need for imported stone fill and the removal of exported soil from site, which was both environmentally sound and cost effective - this approach negated the need to dispose of 4,500 tonnes of soil to landfill which equates to 280 lorry journeys, and also saved the need to bring to site 5,000 tonnes of clean freshly quarried stone equating to 250 lorry journeys.

The car park has been laid out to enable generous landscaping and, in time, reduce visual impact of the parking area as a whole.

Energy Efficiency

The Renishaw Innovation Centre is a very well insulated structure that is mechanically heated, cooled and ventilated. The ventilation has heating and cooling recovery to reduce the requirement for heating and cooling fresh air, whilst windows are shaded to reduce solar gain. The use of photo-voltaic (PV) panels is also extensive, mounted to the roof and south facing walls, and will produce an estimated 280,000 kWh per annum. Within the building artificial lighting is from low energy LEDs and automatically controlled by day lighting and movement sensors.

Recognising British innovation

Within the Renishaw Innovation Centre all 40 meeting rooms are named after British innovators, primarily in the fields of science and engineering, but also innovators local to Renishaw's headquarters site such as Tyndale, Jenner and Pitman. The main conferencing facility is named after UK engineering icon Isambard Kingdom Brunel who was responsible for many iconic structures in the West of England region including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the ss Great Britain. Other rooms are dedicated to significant innovators including Whittle, Faraday, Lovelace, Haslett, Babbage, Turing, Caxton and Stephenson.

Said Sir David: “This excellent new building is a place which we hope inspires people and whilst it is very much focused on the future and helping Renishaw and our customers to achieve ever greater technology breakthroughs, we are also very keen to honour those British innovators who have helped us as a society get to where we are today.”

Presentation of Queen's Award for Enterprise 2015

As part of her visit to Renishaw, The Princess Royal will also present the company with a Queen's Award for Enterprise 2015 in the Innovation category for the development and manufacture of its RESOLUTE™ family of non-contact, optical position feedback devices. RESOLUTE enables a step change in the performance of motion control systems used in manufacturing and other environments. The company is delighted to have won its eighteenth Queen's Award in the 50th anniversary year of this prestigious awards scheme.

Suitable for the most demanding applications, RESOLUTE is the world's first single track fine-pitch optical absolute encoder. It can determine position to a resolution of one nanometre (one billionth of a metre) with motion speeds of up to 100 metres per second for linear position applications, and is capable of 32-bit resolution at up to 36,000 RPM for rotary (angle) applications. RESOLUTE is employed in a diverse variety of applications including safety-critical position feedback for medical robots, the control of precision metalworking machines, the manufacture of flat panel displays and the production of semiconductors.

Sir David McMurtry, said, “RESOLUTE is a phenomenal product that marries our years of experience and expertise in areas such as optics, high speed image processing, system engineering and precision manufacturing. I am proud of the achievements of the many people across the Renishaw Group who have worked tirelessly to produce a globally successful encoder product that is a world-first in its field.”

He continued: “We won our first Queen's Award in 1979 for Export Achievement, and whilst we have been fortunate to have been recognised a further seventeen times over the years, to receive a Queen's Award is still very special as they continue to be regarded as the UK's most prestigious awards for recognising commercial and technological success.”

35 years of continuing development

The then Princess Anne last visited Renishaw in October 1980 when she opened an extension to the company's first ever commercial premises in Wotton-under-Edge.

At that time Renishaw had:

  • just over 100 employees
  • annual sales of £2 million
  • all of its employees based at one site
  • no overseas operations
  • just recruited its first apprentice (1979)
  • just won its 2nd Queen's Award

Today the company:

  • has over 4,000 employees
  • is forecasting annual sales for the year ended June 2015 of between £480 and £510 million
  • has 15 offices in the UK and an additional 56 offices in 31 countries, including 12 offices in China
  • has 114 apprentices in training and this year will also recruit a record 70 young graduates
  • has just been honoured with its 18th Queen's Award

Reflecting on her original visit The Princess Royal commented, “It's extraordinary how you have evolved that technology which was so ahead of its time into being such an integral part of pretty well what anybody wants to do in terms of precision manufacturing; an astonishing achievement.”

She added, “The only thing that is missing from Renishaw in a way is that public perception of just how integral you are and just how important you are in so many things that people do and enjoy doing.”


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