Hartlepool firm praises workforce as it unveils ambitious plans to grow

A brake pad manufacturer has outlined ambitious plans to grow after “probably the hardest 12 months we’ve ever faced”.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 3:11 pm

TMD Friction, based on Hartlepool’s Oakesway Industrial Estate, has secured more than £2m of investment from parent company TMD Friction Group.

The global automotive manufacturer has been making parts for the passenger car market since 1974 and now employs 449 people in the town after taking around 45 people on in the last 12 months.

TMD Friction, which manufactures brake pads for 95 per cent of the models of Europe’s aftermarket, including emergency services vehicles and many of the major distribution small trucks and vans, moved to its current Hartlepool base in 1998.

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TMD Friction operator Angie Dugan.
TMD Friction operator Angie Dugan.

Despite the challenging economic climate due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is building on a successful end to 2020 and first quarter of 2021 by continuing to scale up production to meet global demand and expects to be making around 120,000 parts per week throughout 2021.

TMD Friction’s chief executive, David Baines, said: “The Hartlepool site has grown massively in the past 12 months, despite the global coronavirus pandemic, and we now have the broadest capabilities in the group at Hartlepool.

"In fact, the chances are if you are changing the brake pads on your car, they will have been made in Hartlepool.

“To build on that, and really establish this facility as a global centre of excellence, the group has committed significant investment which will support the continued scale up of production.

TMD Friction operator Stephen Garthwaite.

“Alongside that, we are investing in our existing workforce and bringing new talent into the business which will help us achieve the ambitious plans we’ve put in place for the current financial year.”

The company’s other UK sites in Elvington, Warrington and Cleckheaton have also benefited from investment to support operations at Hartlepool.

Tom Russell, UK Operations Manager, added: “The growth at the Hartlepool plant over the past 12 months – probably the hardest 12 months we’ve ever faced – is down to the dedication and commitment of our workforce.

“As a team we’ve shown real resilience and as a result only six days of production time were lost during the pandemic. Six days where we closed the plant and worked round the clock to get the production areas Covid-safe.

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