Firm clocks up 50 years in business

Employees and former employees gathered at RA Labone manufacturing in Ilkeston to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.
Employees and former employees gathered at RA Labone manufacturing in Ilkeston to celebrate the company's 50th anniversary.

A family-owned Ilkeston manufacturing company has celebrated clocking up 50 years in business with a special open day.

RA Labone & Co Ltd, which is based on Lower Middle Street in the town, marked the landmark with the event ‘for friends and colleagues, past and present to get together and reminisce’.

The company makes components for blue-chip customers across the world, primarily in the automotive, medical and electrical equipment sectors.

It was founded by businessmen Robert Solloway and Alf Stiegler.

Mr Stiegler is still at the company as chairman.

His son-in-law Chris Young is the managing director.

Technical director Richard Goldthorpe said many of its current workforce had been with the firm for several years - helping to give the ‘company a family feel’.

He said: “RA Labone has been a great place to work with many people having been here for over 25 years.

“This has given the company a family feel with people pulling together in more difficult times so when the good times came once again we all benefitted.

“The mix of long-standing staff and new apprentices, combined with investment in new technology allows us to be very positive about the future.”

RA Labone employs 125 people in Ilkeston and says it is ‘committed’ to employing young people from the area.

The firm currently has three apprentices in the tool shop learning the trade dating back to the industrial revolution - but still very relevant in today’s market place.

It is anticipated that the number of apprentices will continue to increase in the years to come.

The company’s turnover last year was up approximately 25 per cent compared to 2013 and it exports around 55 per cent of its production.

Its main automotive production line is used on heated windscreens supplied to Ford and Jaguar Land Rover.