Manufacturers throughout Northern Ireland need to address the Brexit challenge while taking advantage of the depressed value of sterling. That’s the message from Ireland’s largest supplier of precision engineering cutting tools and abrasive products, as it announced that it is expanding its operations in Northern Ireland.

Hard Metal Machine Tools is adding to its workforce because it believes there is a significant opportunity for Northern Irish manufacturing companies to become ultra-competitive through a combination of improved productivity, high quality service and weak sterling.

The company’s Managing Director, Philip Hannigan, said: “To benefit from this advantage, manufacturers have to be able to compete on quality and productivity. Cutting tool technology is the key to this. Tools which allow machines to operate more efficiently with reduced cycle times can result in 20% to 50% increase in productivity. This has a dramatic effect on the competitiveness and profitability of any business.

“Hard Metal is expanding our operations in Northern Ireland because we recognise the opportunities that are there for manufacturers. We already work with companies throughout Northern Ireland.

“We provide customers with access to the world’s leading precision cutting tools and abrasive finishing products, backed up by unrivalled manufacturing expertise after 42 years in business.”

Hard Metal has added a new technical sales engineer to its staff based in the North. Lee Williams will work with Hard Metal’s Northern Irish manufacturing customers. His appointment comes just a year after Nick Quinn was appointed as Hard Metal’s Technical Sales Engineer for Northern Ireland.

Lee will work alongside Nick on key account projects, supported by Hard Metal’s technical and logistics head office in Bray, Co Wicklow, and main depot in Shannon, Co Clare.