Ultima was born in Barnsley 30 years ago. Co-founders Alf and Clare Ellis were in the process of building their own house and therefore required a new kitchen……
After scouring the market for a good quality kitchen at a reasonable price with no success they decided to make thier own, little did they know that this was to be the first ever Ultima kitchen.
Through word of mouth and personal recommendations they began to receive requests for kitchens of the same quality. This quickly developed into a business and a retail showroom based in Barnsley town centre.
1982 // Husband and wife partnership Alf and Clare Ellis moved to their first ever business premises. A 1490sq ft Showroom and Factory facility in Barnsley town centre.
1983 // Two local kitchen studios, in Barnsley and Huddersfield approached Ultima to start producing kitchens for them. Following this, Ultima began to attract several trade customers.
1985 // Ultima Furniture Systems became a limited company.
1985 // Ultima moved to new premises on the outskirts of Barnsley, a 10,000sq ft facility in Wombwell. It was at this factory that the company began to invest in automated machinery; they purchased and installed their first beam saw, which was capable of cutting 5 sheets of board at a time. This was quickly followed by the company’s first ever CNC router.
1986 // Early in 1986 Ultima began to manufacture its first fully rigid glue and dowel cabinets. They also began to manufacture and finish their own veneered panels and accessories.
1996 // Ultima acquired the 1st of its two current sites based at South Kirkby, Pontefract (Unit 26). A 30,000sqft purpose built furniture manufacturing facility built in 1993.
1997 // Ultima began manufacturing their own solid wood and smooth painted kitchen doors.
2007 // An 8,000sqft freestanding showroom and warehousing facility was constructed within the land surrounding Unit 26.
2008 // £1.3m was invested in state of the art Homag Sawing, Edgebanding and CNC routering machinery.
2009 // In early 2009 the companies purpose built 3,500sq ft showroom was fully furbished with 22 stunning kitchens.
In October 2009 Ultima acquired another purpose built furniture manufacturing facility in South Kirkby, approximately 100m from its first site. This was a 50,000sq ft unit that had also been built in 1993 (Unit 30). Following this acquisition £1m was invested in several pieces of hi tech manufacturing machinery. This included a Burkle membrane press, several Biesse machines including a saw, a CNC router and an SAE automated board storage and retrieval system to be situated at this new site.
2010 // In May 2010 Ultima Kitchen Door, Accessory and Painting production moved to the now fully refurbished Unit 30, along with some office staff. The Showroom at Unit 26 was also extended by 2,200sq ft.
2011 // Unit 26 was extended by 25,000sqft to house a new £1.5m automated cabinet assembly line. Now the most advanced automated cabinet assembly line in the UK, capable of producing 2,500 cabinets in a 37hour week. This series of machines automatically inserts hinge plates, worktop brackets, 5 different types of drawer runners and leg bosses.
Several more machines were purchased and installed at Unit 30, including two Orma presses for manufacturing curved components and two more Biesse CNC routers. Work also started on populating the 3,000sq ft Showroom at Unit 30 with Kitchen displays.
2012 // More automated machinery is due for delivery at Unit 26, taking the overall investment in this project to over £3m. This includes 2 new sections that will feed in and out of the existing assembly line to allow the production of special units in a more efficient way and also speed up the packaging and despatch of all units once assembled.
Ultima continues to invest in manufacturing, the production facility at Unit 30 is currently being extended by 6,500sq ft to house an automated paint spraying line.