Sustained growth at GFE drives investment in new manufacturing facility
23 January 2023
FIRE SAFETY systems manufacturer Global Fire Equipment (GFE) has announced the opening of the company’s new manufacturing facility in the Algarve region of Portugal. The facility represents an investment of €7.5 million by the GSS Group, in turn creating a new home for two of its constituent companies: GFE and CREATECH Emergency Lighting.
At 7,500 m2, the facility is more than twice the size of GFE’s previous manufacturing plant. The land purchased spans an area of 16,000 m2, allowing plenty of scope for further expansion should this be required as the company works towards its ambitious future growth targets.
On that note, GFE has sustained impressive growth across the last decade, including double-digit growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. In parallel, CREATECH Emergency Lighting has also achieved strong growth and will need the increased manufacturing capacity to help deliver on its own international sales ambitions.
For its part, the GSS Group sees a significant market advantage of integrating both its fire safety and emergency lighting divisions under one roof.
Initially. the new facility will operate on a single eight-hour shift pattern, but GFE could triple production capacity if it wishes as there’s the option to add two further eight-hour shifts, thereby allowing the facility to operate on a 24/7 basis.
A number of dedicated manufacturing zones are incorporated into the new facility, including on-site injection moulding and PCB manufacture. The new assembly lines have been designed to maximise efficiency in the manufacturing process.
Given the additional space, GFE has been able to increase stock storage and dispatch areas by 400% compared to its previous plant. Other areas include product testing, general assembly and management, sales and administration.
Sustainability and energy efficiency
Building a sustainable and energy-efficient manufacturing facility was one of GFE’s key prerequisites for the new plant. The Algarve is one of the sunniest climates in Europe, which allows GFE to maximise on-site solar energy generation. Having installed a large number of solar car ports, GFE’s on-site solar energy generation has jumped an impressive 600% compared to the former plant, which means that almost 90% of the facility’s energy needs will be supplied by solar energy.
All manufacturing and office support infrastructure is scheduled to be in place by the end of January 2023, with the remaining services moving in by the end of the following month.
The new facility is located within 3 km of the former site so all current employees will retain their positions with the business. Further, GFE will continue to have good access to the labour market within the Algarve.
Drive for high quality
Paul Pope, global business development manager at GFE, informed Fire Safety Matters: “Our new manufacturing facility reflects the vast amount of work and investment every member of the GFE team has put into the company over the past few years. Our drive to deliver high quality and affordable fire safety systems is at the forefront of our operations and clearly evident in the design of this facility. We’re also delighted that we’ve been able to invest in energy efficiencies, which will undoubtedly make our business more sustainable.”
Joao Paulo, founder and managing director of GFE, stated: “This announcement marks a pivotal moment in our company’s history. Building on our years of manufacturing experience and technical developments, this facility will ensure that we not only continue to support our existing customers with industry-leading products and technical support, but also that we will be able to expand further into new markets around the world.”
Paulo continued: “We’ve always been focused on ways in which to improve efficiencies in our manufacturing process. We have been able to develop sophisticated automated production lines for our new facility designed to increase our manufacturing capacity. While these productions lines will carry forward GFE’s drive for automation, we will also be looking to expand our team to ensure that we continue to meet the high quality and standards our customers have come to know, expect and rely upon.”
*For further information on Global Fire Equipment and its fire safety solutions visit the website at www.globalfire-equipment.com