Last week, Gerald officially opened a new production line at Heighway Pinball, on a visit to the company in his Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituency.
Heighway Pinball is the first ever mass producer of commercial coin-operated pinball machines in the UK and its success is enabling the company to move to mass production at its factory in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. The new line will give Heighway Pinball an initial output of one hundred pinball machines a month, rising to more than two hundred and fifty games per month within the next six months.
The company currently employs 26 highly skilled people and this new line provides a great opportunity for the company to expand its operation and increase its workforce to meet future demand.
Gerald Jones MP was given a full tour of the factory in Merthyr Tydfil, before being invited to cut a ribbon, which officially launched the start of the new production line. He was hosted by Heighway Pinball's Managing Director, Andrew Heighway and his senior team, along with Simon Storer, Head of Communications for bacta; the Amusement Machine Industry trade body.
Speaking during the visit, Gerald Jones MP said; ‘I was delighted to visit Heighway Pinball and to witness the passion that Andrew and the team have. The business has been built up locally and it was great to hear about the plans to develop the business further and to create additional jobs. This is great news for Heighway Pinball and for Merthyr Tydfil. I wish the company every success and very much look forward to visiting again in the future.’
Andrew Heighway, MD of Heighway Pinball said; ‘I am immensely proud and excited that my company has reached this important milestone. Our market is truly global and over the coming twelve months, we expect to ship thousands of games around the world.
‘Heighway's first game; a motorcycle racing-themed game titled 'Full Throttle', has been shipping in low quantities since the end of summer 2015. However, this move to mass production comes in anticipation of our eagerly-awaited second game, 'Alien Pinball' - an officially licensed theme from 20th Century Fox, based on the first two movies in the franchise - 'Alien' and 'Aliens'.
‘There is huge interest and demand for 'Alien Pinball' and we expect to have this game running on our production line by the summer. We will be releasing three new games every year and already have games three to five in development - all due for release by summer 2017.’
Heighway's games are packed full with innovation and technology - designed to attract a new generation of players and to make it profitable for operators to once again place pinball machines out on location.
Andrew added; ‘The price of pinball machines is rising all the time, but we believe that our new hardware system, which allows operators to change their site games with upgrade kits, in minutes, - and at a fraction of the price of a full game, will revolutionise the coin-operated pinball market.’
Speaking on behalf of the wider amusement machine industry, Simon Storer Head of Communications for bacta added; ‘This is a really positive development for the company and I am delighted that Gerald Jones MP was able officially to open the new production line. I know he was impressed with what the company is doing and Heighway Pinball is one of many small manufacturers in our industry throughout the UK that are doing great work and providing skilled jobs and opportunities in their communities. They are a huge asset to the economic prosperity of our country.’