Marrying tradition with the latest technology is proving a winning formula for one of the West Midlands' longest established manufacturers.
JH Richards & Co, which is based in Saltley Road, Birmingham, is celebrating its 125th birthday by securing more than £500,000 of new orders in the automotive, power generation and utility sectors.
The new work secured after backing by supply chain initiative Accelerate follows the complete refurbishing of an existing workshop to establish a new bearing manufacturing centre. The company, which has a turnover of around £1.5 million, has invested £180,000 in new machinery.
It has enabled the white-metal bearing and crankshaft specialist to expand its workforce by three to 35, including a former worker from MG Rover.
Managing director Andrew Jeeves said: "Being in business for 125 years teaches you a few tricks along the way, not least the need to continually invest in your staff and your manufacturing capability, in order to meet the ever more stringent demands from customers.
"Throughout its long history, this policy has served the company well and now any visitor to our Birmingham site will witness the latest manufacturing software, an experienced and highly trained workforce and a plant that is amongst the most efficient in the industry."
JH Richards' latest investment has been backed by a £20,000 capital grant from Accelerate and is the most important development to take place since it moved to its present location in 1965.
The funding boost has been channelled into a state-of-the-art Mazak Integrex 300 CNC machine, which is the largest of its kind the company has ever purchased.
Its versatility helps produce bearings for use in diesel engines, gearboxes, turbines, fans and pumps.
Business Link's Norman Taylor said: "Recognising the way industry is going, JH Richards has successfully positioned itself at the high quality end of the market for bearings, many of which are bespoke to customer requirements.
"The latest addition gives the company a whole new platform to target improvements in quality and productivity and thereby enhance delivery performance and customer satisfaction."