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Specialist Manufacturing


Specialist manufacturing forms a core of Cumbria’s economy with businesses ranging from global defence giants producing gargantuan submarines to smaller enterprises creating tiny LED lights.

Defence giant BAE Systems has a base in Barrow and is responsible for delivering seven Astute-class submarines for the Royal Navy through its Submarine Solutions division and land-based armaments through its Global Combat Systems division. BAE remains a major employer in Cumbria and also supports numerous businesses and jobs through a vast supply chain of companies that have established in and around Barrow. Barrow-based Structured Software Systems Ltd creates computer systems for complex engineering projects for clients including NASA.

Meanwhile McBride, also based in Barrow, is a leading supplier of private label household and personal care products for some of Europe’s largest and more successful retailers. In nearby Ulverston Marl International Ltd and Forge Europa specialise in the design and manufacture of LED lighting, and form part of a thriving cluster of similar companies in the town and the surrounding Furness area.

Along the coast heading north, specialist manufacturers include Iggesund Paperboard, Europe´s leading manufacturer of paperboard is based in Siddick; and sportswear company, New Balance; whose commitment to British manufacturing has been rewarded with a Queen's Award for Enterprise. In Workington, Fortune 500 organisation Eastman, has been manufacturing chemicals, fibres and plastics for almost 40 years, while nearby Indorama makes Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) polymer for the soft drinks market.

Top bed manufacturer Sealy UK's springs are produced in Aspatria whilst in nearby Wigton is Innovia Films, producing high performance packaging and films. Cockermouth is home to James Walker & Company Ltd, world leader in fluid seals and gaskets and M-Sport the team chosen by Ford for the FIA World Rally Championship; winning in 2006 and 2007. Leading tyre manufacturer Pirelli has been producing tyres in Carlisle for 40 years, but Kendal-based Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon beats them all having started production of small hydropower systems back in 1853.