Pickersgill-Kaye’s facility in Leeds is undergoing a major redevelopment, as owner ASSA ABLOY’s significant investment plans for turning the Yorkshire lock maker into a specialist production base for the rail industry gathers pace.

An ongoing programme of refurbishment is being carried out on the infrastructure at the site, including modernising the manufacturing facility, creating new office space and implementing the latest design and computer technology.

The comprehensive renovation by ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions, is designed to make Pickersgill-Kaye a dedicated R&D facility and rail centre of excellence to help drive opportunities for the company in the rail sector, through innovation and improved service levels for its emergency override mechanisms, safety critical solutions and locking equipment.

Upgrading the Leeds plant to bring it in line with other ASSA ABLOY manufacturing sites includes new office areas to bring together procurement and sales, as well as future labs for design and engineering. The aim is to provide a world class working environment that matches Pickersgill-Kaye’s renowned rail locking products.

Operations director Martyn Unitt said: "We’re putting brand new infrastructure in place so that the look and feel of the factory will be very similar to any other ASSA ABLOY business. This significant investment, coupled with introducing lean manufacturing principles, is also designed to show our customers that we are a world class business with world class facilities."

He added: "The aspiration is to make the Pickersgill-Kaye facility one of the best in the ASSA ABLOY Group. We have a planned programme of changes which are creating a modern, efficient and well laid out working environment that will help the business remain at the forefront of developing locking products for the rail sector."

It is long-term sales in the rail market which has enabled Pickersgill-Kaye not only to manufacture locking systems fit for 21st Century trains but also the capability and equipment to support legacy rolling stock on the UK’s rail network – often retro-fitting problematic locks originally supplied by competitors.

However, there is a move towards higher quality, more robust products and some operators are recommending Pickersgill-Kaye’s locks to the train manufacturers in order to achieve the standards they need.

Train companies cannot afford to have a vehicle taken out of operation because one lock is not working, whether it’s on a toilet or a locomotive cab door, which is where Pickersgill-Kaye comes in by producing safety critical equipment that is built to last.

With over 150 years’ experience supplying the rail industry with door locks, Pickersgill-Kaye’s manufacturing flexibility and commitment, now with the considerable investment in the infrastructure by ASSA ABLOY, will help the company to compete and win further orders for high profile projects against often tough overseas competition.