The UK-based propulsion specialist, CJR Propulsion, is to invest £4m in a new manufacturing equipment and infrastructure at its Southampton plant. The company, which has a strong involvement with the global yachting industry, has also recently appointed a new distributor for the South of France.

CJR describes its investment as ‘representing one of the marine industry’s largest single investments of 2018’. It states that the newly appointed apparatus, and related software, will integrate seamlessly with CJR’s existing CFD (computational fluid dynamics) department and create an end-to-end, data-driven design and manufacturing process, boasting high levels of automation.

The latest arrivals include machine-controlled, robotic mould-making, multiple 5-axis CNC machining cells, pick-and-place delivery and storage technology and the automation software required to integrate each stage of the process.

CJR Propulsion’s managing director, Mark Russell, said: “We hope the new equipment will help position the company as one of the world’s most technically-advanced propulsion experts and, over time, help improve quality and efficiency standards across the industry. Many in the propulsion industry are still happy to rely on individual experience and ‘a good eye’ to make decisions we know are critical to the performance and longevity of a propulsion system.”

He added: “We are simply not comfortable with that. However, fundamentally, this isn’t about CJR, these investments are about delivering better products to our customers, and on that front, the impact will be significant. Accuracy, performance, efficiency, longevity and ride comfort can all be improved and we are looking to reach a level of precision that is above even Class S standards.

“On a recent project,” he explained, “ the customer estimated they will save 10% on their annual fuel bill because of our props, so there are real, tangible benefits for boat builder or end user. We also know we can cut the time from initial contact to delivery by over 60 percent on new projects, without adding anything to the final cost so, across the board, this is great news for all our clients.”

The bespoke equipment has been designed and built specifically to meet the requirements of CJR Propulsion’s growing customer base and will enable CJR to offer its unique approach to ever-larger projects around the world. To house the new equipment, CJR Propulsion has acquired an adjacent facility in Southampton, increasing its manufacturing space by more than 50%. The company is also providing existing staff with the opportunity to retrain to ensure the increased levels of automation doesn’t result in job losses.”

In another move CJR Propulsion has appointed a new distributor to cover the important south of France market. CJR has entered into a long-term partnership with France’s Marine Transmissions, which will become the exclusive distributor and maintenance provider for CJR products and services in the South of France and Corsica.

The new agreement further expands CJR’s global reach and offers CJR customers even more options for local support in one of the most important regions for summer cruising. Founded in 1994, Marine Transmissions has over 20 years of experience in the industry and in 2014 opened its own dedicated propulsion department in response to growing demand for its repair and maintenance services. Today, the company has extensive facilities within its Mandelieu-la-Napoule HQ, located near Cannes in the heart of the French Riviera.

Sophie Garello, managing director of Marine Transmission commented: “We are very proud of the reputation we have built and this is demonstrated in the 830 yachts we currently maintain from our modern facilities. Our location and comprehensive proficiencies mean we are uniquely positioned to support CJR customers, regardless of whether it is regular maintenance, refit or repair."

She added; “CJR’s forward facing philosophy and investment in the latest technology matches our own focus on leveraging new developments to improve the on-board experience and vessel performance for our customers. Because of these cultural alignments, we are confident that our relationship with CJR will be a long and mutually beneficial one.”

Alex Stevens, technical sales manager for CJR, added: “We are delighted to partner with Marine Transmissions and offer its extensive capabilities to CJR customers in the heart of this Mediterranean hotspot. Not only does this relationship have the potential to reduce the time out of the water in the event of an incident, but it also gives our customers total confidence that the work will be completed to the same exacting standards as our facilities here in the UK."