Tree company branches out with R&D support

With support from Invest Northern Ireland, a Newtownabbey company has developed a unique portable sawmill that should generate significant export sales over the next few years.

M. Large Tree Services, which employs 24 and this year celebrates its 40th anniversary, took its first step into design and manufacture with R&D support from Invest NI, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The company, which specialises in forestry, landscaping and woodcutting services and machinery, saw a gap in the market for the product. With assistance from Invest NI’s Innovation Voucher scheme it was able to access specialist expertise from Queen’s University to help it carry out a technical review of the design, testing and certifying requirements for the sawmill. It then developed a prototype with R&D support from Invest NI.

Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, says: “M Large has recognised that by developing its own range of innovative products it can not only open up new revenue streams but also protect itself from over reliance on other manufacturers. This product has substantial export potential and this will help to future-proof the company’s viability.”    

The portable sawmill has a number of innovative features. It is easy to transport and assemble, comes in two sizes and incorporates a sawdust collection system.   

Managing Director, Michael Large, says: “This is an exciting development for the company and hopefully is the first of many R&D successes for us. The support from Invest NI was vital in enabling us to access expertise and support for prototype development and CE certification. We are confident that the sawmill will quickly establish itself in the UK and European markets and become a significant source of income for us.”