Dyson has revealed plans to build a new battery factory in Singapore, along with investments by the vacuum cleaner and tumble dryer maker in technology centers in the UK and the Philippines.
The company, run by billionaire Sir James Dyson, said the investments in Bristol in the UK and St Thomas in the Philippines would be worth £100m and £166m respectively. Investment from Singapore will be significantly higher.
The plan continues Dyson’s strategy of basing its manufacturing operations outside the UK while retaining research and development functions in the UK, including its research and robotics facilities at Malmesbury and Hullavington in Wiltshire.
James Dyson was one of the most prominent business supporters of the UK leaving the EU, arguing that the UK would gain more than it would lose. However, in 2019 he faced a barrage of criticism for moving the company’s headquarters to Singapore, where it already had factories.
Dyson said the western Singapore plant would be its biggest investment in “advanced manufacturing”. With the Philippine technology center hiring 400 new engineers, the investments will double the amount of factory space devoted to advanced technologies, the company said.
The central Bristol site will house hundreds of software and artificial intelligence engineers, though the company said it would replace existing office space.
Chief engineer Jake Dyson, son of the founder, said the Bristol site would hire more “software, AI and connectivity engineers”.
Dyson said it would make batteries using new proprietary technology at the Singapore plant. He declined to elaborate on the battery technology that would be used, citing business sensitivities, but the company is understood to believe it can make smaller, lighter, more energy-dense batteries to power its devices. The development of battery technology had been a key part of Dyson’s plans (since abandoned due to enormous costs) to make an electric car.
James Dyson said that “next generation battery technology will drive a major revolution in the performance and sustainability of Dyson machines.”
Jake Dyson has previously announced work on robots capable of basic household tasks, an area of potential growth for a company whose sales are largely made up of air-moving products, ranging from fans and hand dryers to hair dryers and vacuum cleaners. , although it also sells lamps and hair straighteners.
The new buildings form part of a previously announced plan to invest £2.75bn over five years.