High-tech Ballymena company made of the Wright stuff

Ballymena company the Wright Group has established a high-tech new subsidiary, Wright Composites Ltd, with an investment of almost £750,000 supported by Invest Northern Ireland.

The new company manufactures Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) and composite components using a range of state of the art closed mould techniques, including Resin Transfer Moulding Light (RTM Light). It is the first time that the innovative RTM Light technology has been used in Northern Ireland.

The new composites facility will explore opportunities to develop technologically advanced products and processes in collaboration with local universities, with a view to identifying lucrative intellectual property opportunities.

Wright Composites occupies a dedicated 50,000 sq ft unit adjacent to well-known sister company Wrightbus. Wrightbus uses composite and GRP components produced by closed mould technology such as RTM Light in its bus manufacturing operation. The components are also used by Customcare, the after sales service division of the Wright Group.

Mark Nodder, Managing Director of the Wright Group, said: “We are always striving to improve our performance in the face of increasing foreign competition and recognise the long term benefits to be gained from continuous innovation. By establishing this ground-breaking facility and investing in R&D, we can now capitalise on this cutting edge technology and begin to develop relationships with the local universities which will add value to both the Wright Group’s operations and, ultimately, the wider economy.

“Components made from GRP and composite materials are lighter, more durable and more aesthetically appealing than those made from conventional materials. The closed mould techniques also enable us to better control the surface finish and thickness of components. Wright Composites has the added benefit of providing a supply of these high quality components for our bus operation.”

He added: “The new subsidiary has already helped to improve the competitiveness of the Wright Group as a whole and we hope it will also contribute to Northern Ireland’s growing status as an international R&D hub and a centre of excellence for composites.”

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, said: “To compete in an ever more challenging global marketplace, local manufacturing companies must ensure that they have a technological edge over the competition.

“The introduction of “Closed Mould” Technology such as RTM Light with this investment in the new subsidiary venture Wright Composites, will not only strengthen the company’s position, but will also help to enhance the composite materials capability of Northern Ireland as a whole.”