A MANUFACTURER is beating the downcast economic climate with a rapid £22million expansion which will create hundreds of jobs.

Xaar’s climb to the forefront of the global business market will guarantee a vital 200 jobs for the Huntingdonshire economy as it seeks to expand its site on the Ermine Business Park, Huntingdon, to quadruple production of its ground breaking 1001 printhead.

Once it has raised the money needed to fund the ambitious growth project, it will double its staffing operation at the Hurricane Close plant and install ultra-modern equipment to meet ever-growing demand for its product which prints six million ink droplets a second.

The firm is trying to raise the money through its shareholders, but should they not agree to help with the investment at their next meeting on November 9, the firm is so keen to expand it will move ahead with alternative funding from other sources.

Sales and marketing director Phil Eaves said: “When the product came to market two years ago, there was initially a slow take-up but there has been a rapid expansion in the past 18 months.

“We have a plan to scale up by four times and create 200 new jobs within four years.”

Impatient to grow, Mr Eaves said: “We’ve started the plan in advance anyway because we have cash. We know we need to make this expansion plan whether we raise the money on November 9 or not.

“If we don’t raise the money, there would be a slower time line but it would go ahead.”

The company was born as a spin-off from world-renowned Cambridge Consultants in the 1990s and opened its Huntingdon facility a couple of years ago.

It was built with room for expansion so the site’s floorspace can be filled with new equipment.

Included in the expansion will be specialist manufacturing rooms which cost £1m each and will allow staff the highest quality products.

Popular with companies doing ceramic tile printing as well as those printing labels, Mr Eaves said: “Today this printing is done using traditional methods but this is technology which allows you to print in a way which is quite a lot different.”

Process engineers, materials planners and production operators will be just some of the roles Xaar will be looking to fill.