A firm making specialist equipment for the pharmaceutical, healthcare, biotech and chemical markets is set to build on its success.
During a busy 2017, Extract Technology boosted sales, unveiled its latest ground-breaking product and demonstrate its commitment to quality and employee well-being.
The Bradley-based firm is a world leader in the manufacture and supply of containment and aseptic systems – including aseptic process isolators containment isolators, downflow booths, restricted access barrier systems and dispensing and sampling facilities used to protect both the operators and products during dispensing, sampling and testing operations.
Extract Technology, owned by US-based Wabash National Corporation, was founded in 1981 in a small office and workshop in Dewsbury. The firm now employs more than 80 people at its head office and manufacturing facility at Bradley Junction Industrial Estate. It counts major companies including GSK, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Novartis among its customers.
Finance director Jason Armitage said the company increased its market share during 2017, seeing a 30% growth in its key UK and European markets.
Last year also saw the culmination of an 18-month project to develop an innovative new product – a Cell Therapy Isolator (CTI) to serve the expanding cell and gene therapy industry.
Cell therapies are treatments that use human cells, including stem cells, with the aim of restoring, maintaining, or improving the functioning of human tissues or organs.
Extract Technology’s CTI features a unique “aseptic docking system” to allow incubators containing growing cells to be “docked” into and out of the isolator for feeding and harvesting. Other features include integrated centrifuge, fridges, on-board bio-decontamination and environmental control.
The CTI was launched at a major industry show in Amsterdam and will feature at forthcoming trade events in Germany and the USA this year.
Paul Hudson, director of technical operations, said: “The CTI project has been our most challenging R&D project to date, with the biggest challenge being the production capacity constraints associated with processing within an isolator.
“The benefits of previous R&D investment have been invaluable to the cross functional engineering innovation team and have contributed significantly to our success to date.”
Elsewhere, the business achieved the Investors in People silver standard – having held the IIP bronze standard for the past three years – following a two-day independent audit which included interviews with 25% of the staff.
Alan Wainwright, managing director, said: “We fully recognise the strength of the business is our people and the ability to take a client’s concept and through our teams deliver to a customer’s site a fully validated world class product.
“We are absolutely delighted to be awarded the silver standard, particularly given this new standard is even tougher and more rigorous than the previous standard.
“Particularly pleasing is the learning taken from our previous assessment and how this has been acted upon in terms of tangible improvements for our business. Achieving the silver standard is really down to everyone’s hard work, commitment and teamwork.”
Extract Technology has also been re-accredited to the Better Health at Work (BHAW) wellbeing charter. Specific activities include regular health checks for all employees, stress management workshops, healthy lifestyle support and advice.
Having been ISO quality standard accredited for over 25 years, the firm also achieved an ISO 90001 upgrade to the 2015 standard, underlining its commitment to continuous improvement.
In the community, Extract Technology has supported causes including the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice at Bradley and Barnardo’s.
It has forged links with King James School at Almondbury and Shelley College – attending careers conventions to promote engineering as a career and hosting an introductory tour of its facility for those that were interested in manufacturing apprenticeships.
Mr Wainwright said: “These really are exciting times. We are exceptionally pleased with the progress the business has made and continues to make and this is testament to the hard work of everyone in our company.
“The business is well-placed for future growth and has robust plans in place for continued development and expansion, centred on operational excellence, customer focus and innovation.”