An American nuclear support firm is expanding in West Cumbria.

PaR Systems, a global leader in automated handling systems, has been operating from Seascale since 2011.

It is now opening a new facility in Lillyhall, near Workington, as a part of a long-term investment PaR has committed to its customers in the UK.

PaR recently agreed to an extended framework agreement to support Sellafield Ltd., allowing the company to increase its commitment to work in the area.

PaR has grown its UK team and is now supporting several customers in the nuclear industry for projects, which include cranes, manipulators, custom tooling, robotic handling systems and research and development for decommissioning.

Jon Sakry, president of PaR Systems Handling Solutions, said: “Opening our new facility in Lillyhall is a critical step in continuing our rapid growth in the UK and support to businesses in the area.

"We’ve outgrown our previous location, and our new location will give us the space to expand our operations in the UK."

The new premises, on Joseph Noble Road, will be a centre of excellence for remote handling.

The firm said the new premises will allow it to develop technology solutions for the nuclear industry and other markets, including aerospace, automotive and commercial material handling.

The new facility will include workshops for assembly of mechanical and electrical equipment and for the building, testing and refurbishment of manipulator systems.

It will also include specialised overhead cranes and it a demonstration facility for PaR’s crane anti-sway and motion control systems.

The facility, previously occupied by Gen2, provides PaR’s engineering and technical team office space for current staffing as well as future growth, the firm said.

PaR will also build a demonstration facility to support remote operations in both nuclear processing facilities and for decommissioning applications.

Equipped with a nuclear crane and a PaR robotic manipulator system, it will be viewed through cell windows to simulate real ‘hot cell’ environments.

John McGibbon, PaR Systems UK managing director said: “I am excited for the opening of our new facility at Lillyhall, as it will allow us greater space to support our nuclear remote handling work for Sellafield and our other nuclear customers, as well as space for additional automation and handling equipment for testing, research and development.

"We are proud to add this location in West Cumbria and to support the local industrial businesses already established in the community.”

The move to the Lillyhall site has been assisted by the purchase of the site by local property firm Britain’s Energy Coast.