Start-up sheet metal fabricator triples turnover during lockdown

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Roo Engineering's workforce has doubled since March. (Image: Business Live)

A start-up sheet metal fabricator in Staffordshire, UK, has tripled its turnover and doubled its workforce since March.

Roo Engineering, which was started in April 2019 by husband and wife James and Abbi Rigby, has grown from an initial three employees to a workforce of 27, and now operates across two sites, Business Live has reported.

The firm specialises in metal work and offers everything from design, finishing, and assembly to supply and installation. 

It is headquartered in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, while also operating at a powder coating plant in Fenton. It’s customers come from a variety of industries all over the UK.

The majority of the firm’s growth has occurred since the start of lockdown in the UK, when it secured a £1 million contract for the manufacture of thousands of hand sanitiser dispensers.

So far this year the business has invested more than £500,000 in a new 6kW BySmart Fiber 3015 laser from Bystronic, as well as LED lighting that will help to reduce the company’s annual CO2 emissions by 15.45 tonnes and 3.1 tonnes respectively.

‘Our new laser has given us new capabilities, which will hopefully help us to win more work, and ideally, more locally-based contracts,’ said James, managing director of the firm. ‘It will also mean we can create three or four new positions in the next couple of months; we can probably accommodate about 35 people here in Newcastle, so if we go beyond that we will have to start to look for a bigger premises.’

Having been in engineering for over 15 years, James saw the opportunity to set up his own business with Abbi using the contacts he had built up. ‘It’s been going really well,’ he remarked. ‘A lot of our growth has been organic, it’s only recently that we’ve started to really push things from a marketing perspective.’

Roo Engineering was founded by Abbi and James Rigby in April 2019. (Image: Business Live)

Abbi, who is Roo Engineering’s finance director, added: ‘For me, our success is down to the fact that we offer a diverse range of services and we operate to a high standard, which is why we get a lot of repeat business. We have always recognised that to be a successful business we have got to invest and be at the forefront of new technology. 

‘We also think it’s important to support the training of young people. We are just at the stage where we are starting to look at taking on some apprentices and are working with North Staffs Engineering Group, in Hanley, to do that. We are also actively looking for young females to join us on engineering apprenticeships.’

‘I think it is important for our staff to see that we are investing and that they are working for a stable business at a time when everything is so uncertain,’ James concluded. ‘Our plan now is to continue to expand.’