Pioneering Midlands company commits to UK manufacture of new compressor

Lontra Blade Compressor

Lontra, a pioneer in engineering, manufacturing and digital services, has named Blyth-based Universal Wolf as manufacturing partner for the new and innovative enclosures for its ground-breaking compressor design.

Lontra, which is based at Napton in Warwickshire, is committed to UK sourcing wherever possible and this is a major component of its new product line. The deal is expected to scale over time to many millions of pounds per annum for Lontra’s Northumberland-based partner.

It follows Lontra’s announcement in June that despite concerns over COVID-19, it had raised sufficient funds to start manufacture of the next industrial application of its revolutionary new blade compressor technology. With proven reliability gains and energy savings, and an impressive export market due to the wide applicability of the product, the Lontra says its blade compressor is the first clean-sheet compressor design in over 80 years. It can be used across many sectors such as aerospace, automotive, food and beverage, pharmaceutical manufacture and water treatment.

Production of Lontra’s enclosures at Universal Wolf’s factory in Blyth starts this month and will see the metal fabrication specialist support Lontra in its plans to produce many thousands of machines. The new LP2 compressor is set to disrupt an $84 billion global market, with growing demand in the USA, where Lontra already has established distribution and sales outlets in place.

Alasdair Waugh, Managing Director at Universal Wolf said: “We have worked closely with Lontra during the prototyping stage for the product, and we are delighted to now be working in partnership with the team to manufacture the enclosure for their game-changing Blade Compressor. Over the years of working with Lontra, Universal Wolf has invested heavily in its production facilities and capabilities, with CAPEX investment reaching nearly £1 million since 2017. This continued investment means that we are able to effectively scale to the requirements of customers like Lontra.”

Universal Wolf is one half of the industry-disrupting Tharsus Group. The partnership and investment highlights positive alliance amongst Britain’s dynamic small and mid-size manufacturers. The news comes off the back of August’s manufacturing PMI figures, showing the sector’s highest level of growth in six years, which in turn emphasises the sector’s strength and agility, paving the way to recovery for UK manufacturing.

Steve Lindsey, CEO at Lontra, said: “Universal Wolf matched our ambition and free-thinking design and engineering; our collaborative innovation approach is helping drive high-value manufacturing and productivity in the UK.

“We wanted to work with a business who could grow with us and this was evident from the beginning. Our shared experiences of working in traditional industries and applying new and innovative solutions are a model for how British manufacturing can reinvent itself for the digital age.”

Craig Brown, Business Development Director at Universal Wolf, added: “A small business with such a fundamental scale of volume and ambition to become well-established in manufacturing is unheard of in these times. Lontra truly feeds into the notion that the UK can be a confident global competitor when it comes to assembly manufacturing. This is a partnership that transcends the transactional relationship between the customer and supplier and it’s what has made the process successful. By working collaboratively, I am confident that we have created a product that is manufacturable and cost-effective whilst at the same time achieving the design we set out to achieve.”

The new LP2 is expected to be of great interest to many industries, as energy efficiency, noise and reliability become ever more challenging. It is already demonstrated to be up to 34% more efficient than its competitors, offering incredible energy savings along with step-change improvements in reliability and management.