Increased commitment to innovation aims to open new doors for Union Industries

Union Industries, the Leeds-based manufacturer of high-speed industrial doors, is ramping up its focus on innovation with a £200,000 commitment to develop new technologies.

Announced at its recent AGM, the employee-owned company has placed innovation at the core of its growth strategy and is growing its Research and Development (R&D) department as it develops new industrial door solutions.

The company produces a range of fast-acting internal and external roller doors, which are used in locations such as mega distribution and customer fulfilment centres and in sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), food, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and warehousing.

With plans to double its team of dedicated innovation engineers to four in the next 12 months, Union Industries is both responding to the changing requirements of its customers as well as embarking on R&D programmes to drive technology change.

Having already developed the “Green Door” concept which uses energy reduction technologies to operate in a more cost-efficient manner, and a system that enables its doors to send real-time status updates to its maintenance teams, Union is now pursuing automation innovations to aid customers developing facilities with minimal workforce requirements.

To support the development of new door technologies, Union Industries has benefited from the government’s R&D tax relief scheme, which alongside investing its profits into innovation, has enabled the company to increase its commitment to R&D. In the last year Union Industries has reclaimed £50,000 in R&D tax credits.

Andrew Lane, Managing Director of Union Industries, said: “Covid had a unique impact on innovation for many companies and it is now time to start pushing the boundaries again. While science pulled out all the stops to create vaccines in double-quick time, much of business was only focused on the immediacy of traversing the pandemic.

“We have driven innovation within the business, but the introduction and now growth of a dedicated R&D department is bearing fruit for our products, what we are able to offer our customers, and create what will be required in the future. With an increased budget and more people in the team, we are confident we can remain at the forefront of our industry.

“R&D is such a unique area of a business as some of the projects we embark on never come to fruition. As a Managing Director with a vision, it’s my role to have the trust of colleagues, particularly in an employee-owned company such as ours, to let us explore what is possible. The availability of tax relief is really important too as it helps drive innovation in SMEs, which are the lifeblood of the British economy.”

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