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Wallsend-based SMD announce ambitious growth plans

Posted on 12 April 2023

Wallsend-based SMD announce ambitious growth plans

Soil Machine Dynamics (SMD), a global subsea robotics and engineering business headquartered in Wallsend, has announced plans to exceed £100m turnover within five years.

To reach this goal, it is focussing on the electrification of its vehicles, has ambitious recruitment targets, and plans to expand its innovation and services arms with two new facilities on the horizon that will be based in the North East of England.

Mike Jones, chairman at SMD, said: “We have been around for over 50 years now and have weathered many storms including the dot com crash and more recently, the pandemic. What has helped our continued growth has been our focus on innovation and that has undoubtedly been because of our talented people.

“Last year our turnover was £58m, inclusive of our Shanghai operation, and we have confidence that we can double that by 2025.

“We are proud to be based in the North East and especially on the Tyne and that won’t change. As we move forward and start to cement our service offering, we are planning on opening a dedicated customer service centre and will need new people to support our clients. In addition, we want to open an R&D facility and will need engineers and software developers to shape the future of SMD’s products and services.”

Branching into a more service-led model is key for SMD and it recently announced a brand new framework agreement with client, Van Oord, whereby it not only supplied its equipment for an offshore wind project in Taiwan but was also on hand 24/7 to repair and maintain the vehicles.

Given the challenging conditions in the emerging territory, this was vital in reducing downtime ensuring the project was completed within the client’s operational timescales.

Liam Forbes, general manager of services at SMD, explained: “We have listened to our clients and it’s very clear that they value the assurance working with the OEM can offer. They increasingly want our help to repair, modify and maintain their equipment.

“The three year arrangement we have with Van Oord means the team benefits from our OEM expertise, a set price list of all parts and services and 24/7 worldwide technical support. This will vastly reduce the cost and the time it takes to purchase, modify or repair parts.”

Mr Jones continued: “As well as services being a huge growth area for us, the electric revolution is also something we are working hard on. We have created our first electric ROV vehicle that will be in the market this year and have great concepts for more electric vehicles and applications in the pipeline.

“It’s a very exciting time for SMD and we are determined to achieve our goals and continue to be pioneers in our field.”