Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, has today visited the Welsh Research & Development headquarters of the specialist global technology manufacturer, Markes International.
As the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of thermal desorption equipment, Markes International employs 80 staff at their Global Research & Development Headquarters at the Gwaun Elai Medi-Science Campus, in Llantrisant.
Used to detect chemicals in air and materials, thermal desorbers are used across a wide range of scientific applications, including environmental monitoring, emissions from consumer products, food aroma monitoring and forensic science.
Managing Directors, Alun Cole and Elizabeth Woolfenden, welcomed Ms Hart on her first visit to the campus. During her visit, Ms Hart took a tour of the company’s UK Technical Centre, where she had a chance to see a thermal desorber extracting potentially toxic compounds from car tyres, and International Sales Support Specialist, former University of Glasgow PhD student Laura McGregor, demonstrated the techniques used in extracting compounds from tattoo ink.
Ms Hart said: “The world has moved on significantly when it comes to analysis and regulation. We have a need to know what’s in everything we use, and how damaging everyday products can be.”
The Minister was then escorted on a tour of the Manufacturing & Engineering Facility by Pamela Simpson, who briefed the Minister on the company’s plans to bring an improved research and development facility to the Llantrisant campus to cope with the rapid expansion.
“We currently export 85–90% of our equipment following huge demand fuelled by China, but also regulation. New products are continually evolving, putting pressure on current production space and staff numbers”, said Pamela.
“Alongside our internal recruitment initiatives, we have also fostered a close relationship with the GO Wales scheme over recent years, and have two GO Wales placements which have commenced today within our Technical Centre”, she added.
Expressing her delight at Markes International’s collaboration with GO Wales and having viewed the physical constraints of the Technical Centre, Ms Hart agreed with Managing Director Elizabeth Woolfenden, who stated that “the current campus buildings were not built for production.”
“Expanding our Research & Development operations will not only enable us to safeguard highly specialised jobs, but also create further PhD-level positions to support the expansion of the site and secure its position as a global centre of excellence”, stressed Managing Director, Alun Cole.
“Having recently opened our newest global facility in Germany, our Welsh Headquarters will play a huge role in connecting our Welsh business operations with the rest of the world and open up new market opportunities”, he added.