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Specialising in the production of simple and efficient machines for the purpose of spreading bedding straw, Spread-a-Bale offers a unique operation for a comprehensive range of livestock farmers beef, dairy, sheep, pig and poultry. In contrast to standard bale processors, Spread-a-Bale’s spreading rotors accelerate a mass of straw in order to throw it the full width of the pen with minimal dust generation. Having been based at Thornton Science Park since 1st June 2015, this innovative and award winning company have grown significantly in the last few years.

Spread-A-Bale were initially attracted to Thornton Science Park due to the location and secure nature of the site. The close links to motorways, railways and nearby docks made exporting to the UK and America simple and efficient. In addition, the company were impressed with the tight security measures, and felt Thornton would provide a safe and secure premises for their business.

One of the company’s first tasks whilst at Thornton Science Park was to develop a new process for their machines. In order to fit the marketplace, Spread-A-Bale needed to customize and modify their existing machinery. Once this was achieved, their sales soared and the company experienced a period of continued growth.

The University of Chester’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, co-located on-site, has supported Spread-A-Bale by supplying two student placements to work on a project for the company. In order to offer an extended warranty on their machines, Spread-A-Bale wanted to develop a device that could monitor how many hours a machine had been used for. The company employed one CAD student to produce detailed design drawings of this device, as well as one engineering student who researched how the device could be physically created. The placement was a success and Spread-A-Bale were impressed with the work and research that had been carried out by the students.

Managing Director, Michael Hughes, feels Spread-A-Bale has benefited greatly since being based at Thornton Science Park. He comments:

“Thornton Science Park is an excellent site which is well maintained with fantastic facilities. The secure nature of the site is great and the proximity to transport networks has particularly aided our export process. We have also been pleased with the student placements – we were very impressed at the level of work produced by the students. Being able to draw on this support from the Faculty of Science and Engineering is a great benefit to companies based at Thornton.”

There were two members of staff at Spread-A-Bale when they moved to Thornton Science Park in 2015. Three years later, the company now employs a total of 5 members of staff. Their turnover has also increased by 238%.

As a result of Spread-A-Bale’s growth, they have been able to diversify into new markets, such as the waste-to-energy market. Michael Hughes realised his company were in a prime position to recognize opportunities to efficiently de-bale shredded recycled waste and also biomass material. He is currently working on numerous projects which involve exploring this opportunity further.

The company’s growth and expansion is showing no sign of stopping. They are now looking for additional office and warehouse space in order to operate from bigger premises and to continue expanding the business.

For further information on Thornton Science Park, please visit: https://www1.chester.ac.uk/business-growth/locations/thornton-science-park.