An Taoiseach cutting the ribbon at Grant Engineering's newly expanded facilities on Friday, January 17 last.
Grant Engineering welcomed the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to officially open its newly expanded facilities last week, representing a capital investment of €14 million in its factory, based in Crinkill.
The major expansion includes a state of the art R&D innovation centre, a customer services centre, a dedicated training academy featuring an auditorium and training suite and an extension to the existing manufacturing facilities, which has also seen further investment in robotics and automation.
Welcoming everyone to the official opening, Niall Fay, Director with Grant Engineering, outlined how the event marked the opening of the newly expanded €14 million facilities, which were announced in 2016 in response to increased demand for the company's heating products on a local and international level.
Grant Engineering in peak season employs 370 people in Ireland between full and part time roles, many of which are from south Offaly, North Tipperary, East Galway and Laois along with 80 people in the UK; and as recently as 2018, Grant Engineering expanded its footprint even further opening a premises in Lyon, France with the support of Enterprise Ireland.
“It's a great honour to have you all in attendance and shows Grant's standing in the community,” the Director said thanking everyone who worked in Grant Engineering over the years in particular his own father, John Fay.
Grant Engineering was founded by Stephen Grant in 1978 and since then the Manager Director has been committed to designing and manufacturing products to the highest standards. His dedication has been recognised through numerous awards including winning the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008 as well as OFTEC Awards for Excellence; Plumbing and Heating Awards for Innovative products and Outstanding Achievements in the industry.
Speaking on the day, Mr Grant was delighted to be starting the new year with the opening of this new facility. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to innovation, growth and to the local economy. In recent years we have expanded into new markets and developed new products to meet the needs of our customer base. Our focus on sustainability continues to grow, and to help achieve de-carbonisation I believe that home heating fuel needs to follow in the footsteps of transport and transition to electric or 100% biofuel heating. This is impossible to do in the short to medium term in an affordable way, however the introduction of a Biofuel Obligation for home heating could enable homes to become sustainable. We have future-proofed our products over the last 5 years so that they can operate using biofuel but to aid transition and further reduce emissions we need the support of fuel suppliers and the government.”
“Accelerating the electrification of heat is another way to aid transition and this is helped by current building regulations with new houses being predominantly fitted with a heat pump. We have been supplying air to water heat pumps for nearly 10 years and these appliances are ideal for new build homes where the house design is matched to the heat pump. However, there is a huge issue for the deployment of heat pumps to the retrofit market which is based on the affordability of deep retrofitting, which cost up to €70k. Together with my R&D team, I am excited to announce that we have developed new hybrid technology called EVOLINK which will be available later this year. EVOLINK is the first of its kind in hybrid technology and enables the smart integration of heat pumps to a property by combining with existing technology in a home whether oil, gas or biomass. EVOLINK uses intelligent software and complex algorithms to optimise the use of the heat pump throughout the year, optimising the operating temperatures of the two appliances through modulating pumps and hydraulic mixing circuits. It also incorporates smart features like in-built weather compensation and can effectively reduce carbon emissions by 70% - 80% overnight at a fraction of the cost of deep retrofitting, thereby offering an affordable way to transition with minimal disruption. The EVOLINK hybrid can play a substantial role in the transition to full decarbonisation of residential heat, as will biofuel.”
Speaking at the opening An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said: “My vision for the future of the Midlands begins with companies like Grant Engineering. They have developed a 21st century facility for state-of-the-art, environmentally efficient heating products for the 21st century. And with the right vision, the right policies, and the right investment, the future for the Midlands itself is bright. As this area moves away from peat harvesting and electricity generation, we will leave no worker or community behind. Our Just Transition funding of €116 million will create an estimated 400 jobs directly and indirectly, and significantly upgrade the social housing stock. The first Just Transition Commissioner has been appointed and his priority will be to help communities and workers affected by the imminent ending of peat harvesting for power generation in the Midlands region. With the right vision, and the right policies, I believe the Midlands can become a leader in other areas of the green economy, such as retro-fitting. Through bog rehabilitation and tourism, we can also ensure that our bogs continue to be a source of employment. Decarbonising our economy with our Climate Action Plan means our air will be cleaner, our homes warmer and more comfortable, we will have secure energy supplies, and there will be new jobs in sustainable industries.”
Offering his congratulations, An Taoiseach added that attending at a function like this “makes me really optimistic for the future and optimistic for this region” before declaring the multi-million euro facility officially open.
Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Grant Engineering, both in Ireland and internationally since its establishment. At Enterprise Ireland, we know that investment in innovation is critical across all sectors to maintain competitiveness and to drive export growth and we are delighted to directly support this new facility. Grant Engineering has experienced strong progress over the last number of years, and I would like to congratulate Stephen, Niall and the team for their continued investment in Research and Development and their commitment to diversifying in international markets.”
“Hugely important to the local economy, Grant Engineering is an excellent example of an innovative, regionally-based company with global ambition that has expanded its reach to build a robust business in the face of challenges like Brexit. This new R&D Innovation and Training facility will enable Grant Engineering to continue to grow, and we look forward to continuing our work with the team both here and through our international office network as they progress on this upward trajectory.”