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SMD Rewarded for Enterprise

08 June 2011

A world-leading manufacturer has been given the Royal seal of approval.

North East company Soil Machine Dynamics has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Yesterday the Queen’s cousin, Prince Michael of Kent, met workers at the Wallsend manufacturing site, in North Tyneside, where he formally presented the award to them.

The ceremony was one of just a handful of events the Prince made during a visit to Tyneside, which also saw him stop off at the nearby Segedunum Roman Fort.

Apart from meeting with management at the factory the Prince also got a chance to speak with some of the company’s latest apprentices, some of whom were taken on following The Journal’s highly successful 100 in 100 campaign.

SMD was given the Queen’s award in the innovation category. The company designs and manufactures Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicles (WROVS) which are used in harsh underwater environments around the world.

One of the company’s vehicles was used in the Gulf of Mexico to help plug the hole which was caused when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded killing 11 people and leaving 200,000 gallons of crude oil pouring into the ocean each day.

The award is the latest accolade for SMD, which has also been hailed as the Subsea UK Company of the Year 2011. One of the company’s underwater vehicles is also helping Japan to recover from the devastating effects of March’s earthquake and tsunami.

The Q-trencher, a device used to remotely dig trenches in the sea, has been used to repair telecommunications cables running between the Japanese islands.

Andrew Hodgson, chief executive of SMD, said: "We have led the subsea ROV market for a number of years in terms of design and innovation and the Queen’s Award is a marvellous acknowledgement of our achievements.

"This award is testament to the creative skills and technical expertise of our engineers in our Research & Development and Production units supported by an outstanding team of people who continue to excel in their work for the company.”

"Through the creation of the five business streams and the emergence of new energy markets such as renewables and nuclear, we have further developed our product range to meet the challenges of these sectors and increase our presence in global markets.”