Reece Group welcomes Royal visitor at Armstrong Works

24th October 2014

Armstrong Works, Newcastle’s iconic engineering site and home to the Reece Group’s portfolio of innovative engineering companies including Pearson Engineering was given royal approval yesterday by the HRH The Duke of Kent.

His Royal Highness was welcomed by John Reece, chairman of the Reece Group who updated The Duke on the recent history of Armstrong Works, purchased by the Reece Group in 2012. The property is now undergoing a £10m redevelopment program which over the next two years will transform the site into a world class design and manufacturing facility.

During a tour of the premises The Duke was made aware of the capability and expertise of the Reece Group companies – Pearson Engineering, Responsive Engineering, Pipe Coil Technology, Reece Innovation and Velocity – which operate globally across the oil and gas, subsea, defence and construction markets.

(left to right) Geoff Hill, Pearson Engineering, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, John Reece, Chairman of The Reece Group and Randall Flack, Technical Director, Pearson Engineering

(left to right) Geoff Hill, Pearson Engineering, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, John Reece, Chairman of The Reece Group and Randall Flack, Technical Director, Pearson Engineering

After being shown Responsive Engineering’s fabrication division which has over 70 welding bays with capability for a range of metals, His Royal Highness took the opportunity to speak with some of the 50 apprentices employed in the business, after which the Royal Party went on to view the company’s other divisions that operate over 40 machine tools and have a range of laser, plasma and water cutting equipment.

A demonstration by Velocity Patching’s vehicle showed His Royal Highness how pot holes and road defects could be repaired in minutes using its specially designed vehicles. The Duke was interested to learn about the use of these machines on the UK’s roads, currently repairing over 1,500 pot holes per day, and Velocity’s increasing export business to countries such as the USA and Mexico.

The hour long visit concluded with an impressive demonstration of products designed by Pearson Engineering – a world leading authority in the design and manufacture of equipment for armoured vehicles. Managing Director, Craig Priday and technical director, Randall Flack talked The Duke through a live demonstration of the company’s product range including the counter mine /counter IED mine rollers responsible for saving many lives in Afghanistan and Iraq which had won the company The Queen’s Award for Enterprise both for Innovation and International trade.

Pearson Engineering staff (left) with His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent (second from right) and John Reece, chairman of The Reece Group (right).

Pearson Engineering staff (left) with His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent (second from right) and John Reece, chairman of The Reece Group (right).

Speaking about the visit, chairman of the Reece Group, John Reece said: “It has been a privilege to meet the Duke of Kent and demonstrate what a vibrant and pioneering engineering and manufacturing environment we are continuing to develop at Armstrong Works. The north east’s capabilities in these sectors are often overlooked and we have shown clearly that this region can hold its own nationally and globally in manufacture and engineering innovation.

“The Duke showed remarkable awareness of the issues faced by troops in war zones and was very interested in the technologies we are developing within Pearson Engineering to ensure that we remain at the forefront of development in the defence sector by anticipating and responding to the future needs of the military.

On departure, His Royal Highness was presented with a set of steel coasters featuring The Royal Crest which earlier, The Duke had seen being intricately surface cut on one of Responsive Engineering’s state of the art laser precision cutting machines.