Washington’s Snorkel set to reach new heights after doubling workforce and launching new models

Updated on Monday 5 August 2019, 4:54 PM

2 Minute Read

Washington manufacturer Snorkel Europe Limited is gearing up for growth amid new product launches and partnerships.

Originally launched in the US in 1959, Snorkel makes aerial work platforms, more commonly known as “cherry pickers”, from its facility near Sunderland.

The business has seen impressive growth after almost doubling its headcount over the last two years.

Snorkel employs 249 members of staff, including four apprentices, at its plant and has also increased its sales by 79% since 2015.

Now sales are set to reach new heights as the business is introducing new models to its existing range of 28 lifts, and has also embarked on a partnership with fellow Sunderland firm Hyperdrive Innovation, to design and develop a lithium-ion batter that can be used with diesel-powered lifts.

John Gill, Snorkel’s chief manufacturing officer, said: “Snorkel’s strong performance at the Washington plant reflects our drive to grow, and the excellence of our workforce.

“The continuing support of Sunderland City Council’s business investment team is very important to us.

“We are proud that the majority of our employees are local people, and our commitment to training and upskilling of all our workforce and our apprenticeships programme means that our growth is positive news for the region as well as for Snorkel.”

Snorkel has increased its capital expenditure to more than £650,000 over the last two years, investing in its plant to help its employees and create a more efficient manufacturing process.

Part of the investment has led to the installation of a new blast room facility for preparing steel fabrications for powder coat paint, as well as a new compressor, and energy-saving LED lights.

Cllr Michael Mordey, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “Snorkel’s continued investment in the region is reaping impressive results.

It’s great to see Snorkel and Hyperdrive Innovation working together to create innovative new products – two thriving Sunderland-based businesses leading the way in their fields and creating highly skilled jobs.

“Snorkel is a responsible, sustainable and efficient manufacturer – which benefits employees, customers, our local community, and the wider environment. We wish it well as it continues to grow.”

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