Factory of the Future Takes Shape in Rotherham
The steel frame for the centrepiece of AESSEAL’s new Factory of the Future is now under construction at the company’s global headquarters in Rotherham.
The project, which includes the refurbishment and “greening” of AESSEAL’s existing plant as well as a state-of-the-art, 60,000 sq ft extension that will almost double the site capacity, brings the firm’s total investment in Rotherham to over £61 million.
Designed by Sheffield-based architects, Race Cottam Associates (RCA), the new building creates an advanced precision engineering factory together with office space, new entrance, statement reception and café. RCA is targeting a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating for the building, which is designed to store its own energy and be all-electric.
“The initial concept was to provide a new manufacturing facility capable of supporting state-of-the-art robotic machines whilst simultaneously creating new workspace and a statement entrance for AESSEAL’s international clients and colleagues,” explains RCA’s architect and project lead, Mark Eden. “In addition, part of the brief was to create an open plan production area that would not only allow for internal reconfigurations as the business grows but also significant viewing platforms for staff and visitors.
“Our design integrates AESSEAL’s original facility via a two storey, linked structure which incorporates the new entrance. Large areas of glazing ensure full exposure to the precision engineering manufacturing and world-leading robotics,” concludes Mark.
The wider project includes a significant investment in the latest environmental measures, including photovoltaic panels, advanced battery storage and the use of recycled products such as shredded car tyres to form the tarmac for the car park. Surrounding the 10-acre site, which was originally filled with steel slag, a ‘Tree Walk’ will act as an educational and environmental resource and will include a wetlands area and accommodation for bees, hedgehogs and other wildlife.
RCA’s partnership with AESSEAL dates back to 1996, when the practice was first appointed to design and deliver a new industrial and office complex. Chairman and co-founder, David Cottam said: “Initially we were asked to produce a sensitive design, not too strong or ostentatious, that could be built in phases to match business expansion. Since then, AESSEAL’s growth has been exponential and I’m exceptionally proud of what we have achieved together in almost three decades. I firmly believe what we’re creating now will be a true legacy building and showcase for AESSEAL’s success.”
Chris Rea, managing director of AESSEAL and the AES Engineering Group adds: “I congratulate Dave Cottam and his team at Race Cottam Associates for going on this journey with us and producing a design that provides a showcase for industry and the environment working in harmony. The Factory of the Future is a symbol of our commitment to keep pushing beyond Net Zero and encourage our customers and suppliers to do the same, proving that it is possible to be a globally successful business and also take care of the planet.”
Construction began on AESSEAL’s new Factory of the Future in January and is expected to complete in May 2023.