Although the UK may have lost much of its volume manufacturing over the past few decades we are still world leaders in making high quality, high spec products – with Tratos being an excellent example.
Formerly North West Cables, the Prescot-based business operated from a small factory in Knowsley Business Park. In 2009 it was take over by Tratos, an Italian family firm which has overseen a £17m investment and quadrupled the footprint of the plant.
As the company’s previous name suggests, it manufactures electrical cables – not so much the type that connects your bedside lamp to the wall but more on a large industrial scale.
According to finance director Kevin Martin, some of the reels of cable the firm produces are now so big they have had to invest in a new fleet of forklift trucks capable of lifting them.
Mr Martin joined from the social housing sector in 2014 and quickly realised he face a bit of a learning curve. He said: “When I first came here I asked for a product list and people looked at me a little funny and I quickly realised – there are thousands of different electric cables, many bespoke, we can produce.”
Employing 60 people, Tratos deals with an array of customers from many business sectors including rail, road, telecommunications, oil and gas and aviation (cables for airfield lighting).
Tratos is also a major supplier to the maritime sector, supplying wiring for ships and demonstrates how varied the maritime supply chain is.
“We also have a strong relationship with Peel Ports, supply them with products for their sites across the UK,” Mr Martin added.
Tratos has its own testing facilities which include the standard test for voltage, spark test and resistance as well as more in-depth tests for elongation, heat shock, shrink back and vertical flame tests.
Mr Martin says Brexit is obviously something the company will need to look at in terms of logistics but says the Italian owners have demonstrated huge confidence in the site with their investment.
He added: “Tratos committed to a five-year investment plan in early 2014 and three lots of funding have been brought together, totalling £17m.
“It has been a major commitment to the site by the Italian owners, despite the prospect of
Brexit which could be a logistics headache. Around 90% of the raw materials, such as the copper, comes from Italy so that is something we will need to look at.”