Smiths Aerospace is finalising a plan to double capacity at its engine components manufacturing site in Suzhou, China.

John Ferrie, president of the aerospace division, says “the facility has doubled [in capacity] since we set it up and we are actively contemplating doubling it again.” He adds that the company is in the final stages of organising internal approval for the investment needed to start work: land has already been set aside for this purpose.

The expansion plan would see the site’s workforce increase from around 160 people to more than 350. The site carries out machining and assembly work for aircraft structural components and mechanical systems components.

“If we have approval in the next quarter, we would start work at the end of the calendar year and would expect to be in situ by this time next year,” Ferrie says. He declines to specify the level of investment involved in the plan.

Work will be progressively transferred to the site from UK and US locations, once the new facility is up and running, thanks to the growth of new business, Ferrie says. “We’re trying to manage our global capacity to achieve the economic performance we need,” Ferrie explains, adding that part of this involves “taking advantage of the low-cost opportunities available in China.”

Source: Flight International