Business

Underwater tech firm to open Dundonald factory

WFS is to set up at the Inspire Business Centre in Dundonald

A COMPANY which makes technology enabling underwater wireless communications is to open a manufacturing facility in Belfast and creating 15 new jobs in the process.

Scottish firm WFS Technology is setting up the factory after several years carrying out research and development in the Titanic quarter.

The company was founded in Edinburgh in 2003 and first started carrying out research work in Belfast in 2009.

It will continue to develop prototype equipment at another facility in Livingston.

The Belfast team's work led to the development of ground-breaking technology that allows wireless communications with robotic vehicles operating subsea and underground.

The company has 80 granted patents and has sold more than 7,000 of its Seatooth subsea radio-enabled controllers developed in Belfast.

Customers are in the oil and gas, renewables, environmental, defence and consumer markets.

The new jobs will be at the Inspire Business Centre in Dundonald.

WFS has a three-year plan to invest in machine tools, electronics assembly, test and customer support facilities to meet the growing demand.

Company chairman Brendan Hyland said: “The quality of the research undertaken in Belfast exceeded our expectations. We plan to build on these successes, expanding our operations in Belfast to meet rising customer demand for wireless subsea products."

Mr Hyland, himself originally from Dundonald, said the business had massive potential to scale up.

"What we have developed basically is the equivalent of bluetooth underwater.

"We are the only company in the world doing it and are very heavily patented.

"Our customers are principally in the oil and gas industries so we sell into the North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Australia and Japan."

And he hailed the research team in Belfast for its development work.

"They carried out some really fundemental research in this area because there are no textbooks about it.

"That phase of the work is finished now. We currently have 20 people at work in Scotland and will grow numbers in Dundonald over the next three years."

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