Midland precision engineer Diecam is reaching for the sky after developing a new product to be used in the Airbus A-380 Superjumbo.
The Walsall firm has won accreditation from the European aerospace company for its complex fuel connectors.
The devices, which are used to transport fuel in the wings of the aircraft, have been developed by a new process using CNC machines and traditional engineering.
Instead of being made from castings, the j-shaped connectors are machined from solid aluminium billet.
James Slater, managing director of the company, said: "We used to machine the tools to make castings, and then we realised we could make the part without the need for a casting at all.
"We worked with new cad cam technology, complemented with traditional engineering and manufacturing skills to create a new process.
"This enabled us to turn the idea into a commercial reality."
He said the new machined parts which are 450mm long and 180mm thick, offered several advantages over castings.
"Without castings, you can eliminate porosity problems, while there are more accurate parts and they are also a lot lighter. Customers no longer have to pay for the tooling, which is a big saving and we can reduce lead times."
Mr Slater, who runs the business with John Gunning, saw the opportunity to make the new product but had problems at first persuading Airbus to take them on because it lacked the required aerospace quality standard.
Diecam has now reached the AS/ EN 9100 standard, although it will be continuing its relationship with a third party supplier to supply into the A380 programme.
The arrangement with Airbus is due to continue until at least 2006, and could continue even longer.
Mr Slater said: "Hopefully we can extend it. We are talking about using this technology in the new A400 M military transport, and the A350 and the A380 freighter.
"It is the biggest thing that has happened to this company and is going to fund dramatic growth over the next three years."
He said this could mean more CNC machines and increasing staff numbers which currently stands at two.
The company was helped to achieved the AS/EN 9100 standard after linking up with the Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands.
Although Diecam had the skills and technology to make the parts, because it did not have the accreditation it could not supply directly into the aerospace industry.
It also faced problems with limited capacity, with the existing site in Kingswinford too small to cater for the range of machine tools and equipment required.
MAS-WM referred Diecam to Black Country Investment who assisted them to find a large enough site that would accommodate their manufacturing requirements.
The firm moved to a new site in Walsall, while it received help from Bob Reeve - MAS-WM 'lift off' specialist manufacturing advisor - to help reach the required standard.
Consultants TEC Translational were engaged in a programme resulting in accreditation to ISO 9000 (2000) and AS/EN 9100.
The new site enabled Diecam to operate additional CNC machinery centres that allowed for increased output and the ability to deal with more complex work-pieces.
These improvements have given Diecam a 'first move advantage' with Airbus.
Mr Slater said: "This means we will be able to see designs at an earlier stage and improve our products to meet their demands. It means we are like a preferred supplier, which bodes well for a project this big."