A Black Country engineer whose products range from bell clappers to giant food mixing machine blades has had its new factory opened by Trade Minister Ian Pearson.
When Harco Engineering was acquired by managing director Martyn Hughes five years ago, it employed five people providing sub-contract precision machining services to a range of customers in the engineering industry.
Since then Harco has built a reputation for its quality service and a quick turnaround and seen annual turnover grow to #600,000.
This rapid expansion has enabled the company to expand and move in June 2005 from Kingswinford to new premises in Brierley Hill, where it now employs 16 people.
The #500,000 investment in a new factory will help the company expand in the future, with a new 20 tonne crane allowing it to take on larger jobs.
Director Karen Hughes said: ?We have moved from two smaller premises into one bigger site and increased our workforce from ten to 16.
?This will allow us to take on bigger jobs and generally increase our capacity.?
Mr Pearson (Lab Dudley South) was invited by Mr Hughes to visit the Canal Street factory where Harco machine specialist parts for the chemical, steel processing, automotive, mining and general engineering industries.
Part of the expansion was funded by a #17, 000 grant from the Selective Finance for Investment in England (SFIE) grant from Advantage West Midlands, which enabled Harco to purchase new plant including a HAAS VF11 CNC machining centre with fourth axis.
Mr Hughes said: ?Our success is down to Harco being a family business, where no job is too big or too small and our customers know they can come to us at any time of the day or night and expect a quality and reliable service to deadline.
?We have made replacement clappers for a church?s bells in time to ring for Christmas Eve to large disintegrator fan blades for mixing machines used by the food industry.
?Engineering is a very competitive industry but the support we had from Advantage West Midlands and the Manufacturing Advisory Service played an important role in the company expansion and purchase of new plant.? Mr Pearson said: ?I am delighted for all concerned at Harco that their move to new premises has gone successfully.
?Dudley South is in the top 25 per cent of constituencies in terms of the number of people employed in manufacturing, with around 30 per cent of all employed people in the area working in engineering or a related profession.
?Harco is a great example of a strong local company that values its skilled and loyal workforce.
?They are proving that high-spec, high value-added manufacturing is flourishing in the Black Country.
?Their growth is testament to the hard work of management and staff coupled with the support of the regional development agency.?
Patrick Palmer, head of Access to Finance at Advantage West Midlands, said: ?A key role of the Agency is to develop a diverse and dynamic business base.
?We are encouraging more businesses to invest in capital expenditure to improve productivity, modernise and diversify - and Harco Engineering is an excellent example of how an SFIE grant can provide the critical piece of funding needed to complete the finance package needed for viable and sustainable growth.?
In the financial year 2004/05, Advantage West Midlands made SFIE offers totalling #13.3 million to 68 firms in the region.
The offers, which supported capital expenditure of #87.8 million, created nearly 900 jobs and safeguarded a further 1,300.