A forward-thinking Coventry engineering firm has doubled productivity and secured its future after buying new equipment with grant aid awarded by Midlands supply chain initiative Accelerate.
Pailton Engineering used the £10,000 European Regional Development Fund money to purchase a new heat treatment facility that has not only boosted productivity but lead to efficiencies across the entire firm.
The company, which employs more than 140 people at its Holbrook Lane site, was established in 1969 and supplies steering and other components to bus, truck and prestige car manufacturers around the world.
The latest Accelerate grant is one of a series to Pailton over the past three years, bringing the total funding support to more than £50,000.
Production engineering manager Jim Rawbone said the company had needed to improve its production facilities as its existing equipment was out-dated and inefficient.
"Since installing the new machine, we have doubled our ball pin production rate, widened our product range and we’re much more efficient - we used to have 50kw machinery, which only worked at a 50 per cent output.
"Now we have machinery that is based on a 25/40kw output, which works at about a 95 per cent efficiency rate. We are very keen to follow in this vein and environmentally it makes sense," he said.
The firm also secured an interest-free loan from The Carbon Trust to help improve its environmental operations.
Some of Pailton’s larger customers include DAF Trucks, JCB and Terex and the firm boasts an impressive global turnover of £12 million.
Mr Rawbone said: "Our philosophy has always been to offer short lead times for products designed specifically for individual customer needs.
"This latest grant from Accelerate has allowed us to speed up production and has helped us immeasurably."
He said the company was now committed to developing the business to head off competition from firms in China and Eastern Europe.
As part of the improvements, the company is looking to automate much of its assembly operations and install a separate 300sqm mezzanine floor.
Accelerate adviser Peter Arnott said he had developed a close relationship with the firm and had been impressed with its growth rate of 32 per cent over the past two years.
"When Pailton realised they needed a new heat treatment facility they didn’t just buy one off the shelf - they thoroughly researched it and went out there to make sure they purchased exactly the right piece of equipment for their needs," he said.
The grant aid had helped the firm win more contracts and perform better, he added.
"The grant, which has paid towards the machinery, means the firm has been able to eliminate some of its sub-contracting as well as increase capacity.
"This is exactly the sort of success story we like to be an active part of and it demonstrates how our grants can target and benefit a specific section of a business," he said.
Accelerate, which is funded by the Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund, assisted more than 1,500 companies last year in implementing lean manufacturing, boosting sales, launching new products and improving quality, cost and delivery performance.
The programme is managed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is a regional partnership of Business Links, SMMT Industry Forum, universities and a number of vehicle manufacturers.