British robot firm moves production to Madrid to maintain EU base post-Brexit

The Shadow Robot Company, a London-based firm that produces robotic hands and graspers, is set to outsource the bulk of its production to Spain after opening a new office in Madrid.

The move, partly a response to Brexit, will see the firm’s production manager moving to Madrid, and will not result in any job losses.

The firm, founded in 1987, says the new base in the Spanish capital is part of an expansion programme to accommodate a growing demand for robotic technology. The firm currently employs 30 staff worldwide, including eight overseas.

Shadow’s head office will remain in London, as will its core research and development team, the firm says.

Shadow is one of the longest-running robotics companies in the UK, and has worked with NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) during the last decade.

Brexit nerves

Rich Walker, managing director of Shadow, said the timing is right “to strengthen our position worldwide, especially in Europe”.

Walker stressed the firm is “involved with many EU projects and collaborations – so having a second base in Europe is vital for us, and we see our new Madrid office as an organic progression”.

He added: “We’re also keen to further develop our links with the Spanish-speaking world, and Madrid seemed like the perfect location in which to do so.”

Many entrepreneurs fear that Britain’s exit from European Union could imperil the UK’s tech market. Earlier this week, many British tech founders expressed fear that the freeze of money from the European Investment Fund to British venture capital firms could prompt a “significant slowdown” in tech investment.

Juan LaForga, Shadow’s head of production, said the firm’s new office – on the Carrera de San Jeronimo – is “a benefit for both staff and clients visiting the company”.

“This area is beautiful and bustling with activity, it feels good to be located here,” he added.

Shadow has also appointed a new logistics manager, Sherrine Ricketts, to ease cohesion between the firm’s various sites.