A West Midlands-based electropolishing firm, which processes parts for Apache helicopters, is on course for its best ever year.
Anopol, which employs 39 people at sites in Birmingham and Hampshire, will exceed £3 million sales after it bounced back from the recession by identifying new markets and investing in the total quality and service of its surface finishing for the customer.
The company, which also supplies parts for nuclear reactors and medical implants, has seen export sales rise to reach 35 per cent and has reported growth across the automotive, medical, semiconductor and aerospace sectors.
The firm, which has been given strategic and financial support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service – West Midlands (MAS-WM), has also seen major interest in its plant design and installation service, with the last three projects delivering more than £1.2 million in revenue.
David Cass, who was recently appointed managing director, said: “The downturn affected us in terms of reduced orders, but thanks to the diverse nature of the business we were able to face the challenge and emerge stronger than before.
“During the recession, we put in place a strategy that focused on improving productivity, spotting opportunities in new markets and really pushing our expertise in designing and manufacturing bespoke electropolishing and pickling facilities.”
He added: “Working with our business partner Delmet in Italy, we have been successful in landing new contracts, including specialist equipment for the pharmaceutical and medical implant sector.
“The latest high profile order has seen us design and install a new pickling plant that surface finishes hot water storage cylinders in a fully enclosed environment, with no operator contact to chemicals and in-cycle treatment of all waste water from the pickling process.”
“Using all of our years of experience, we came up with a solution in just four months that reduced processing lead times from hours to minutes and is completely safe and friendlier on the environment. There are also massive returns on investment for the customer.”
Established in 1969 by John and Brian Swain – the current chairman and technical director respectively – Anopol has grown into one of the most respected names in the industry for chemical and electrochemical treatments of stainless steel, nickel and nickel alloys.
Its main sub-contract services are pickling and electropolishing of castings, forgings, pressings, wirework and welded assemblies.
Recent investment of more than £250,000 has seen it purchase a new ‘blacking’ process and moved forward diversification into treatments for new metals, such as tungsten, titanium and zirconium.
John Swain said: “We’ve come a long way since our first sub-contract order to electropolish stainless steel chocolate moulds for Cadbury’s Milk Tray back in the 70s.
“A lot of our success has been down to our desire to continually evolve, so that we lead the rest of the UK in electropolishing and pickling.
“This means we are able to offer solutions to some of the most complex projects imaginable; just take the surface finishing we are currently applying to corrosion resistant enclosures to keep electrical gear secure or the top end grills we surface finish for the Bentley Arnage.”
MAS-WM has been working with Anopol for nearly five years, providing assistance in productivity that resulted in savings of £30,000 on waste and increased efficiency by 23 per cent.
It has also provided funding towards the firm’s ISO 9001 and 14001 programmes and, most recently, support in addressing its social media strategy.
Rachel Eade, cluster manager at MAS Auto, said: “Anopol is an excellent business that is combining traditional expertise with the latest processes to win customers both at home and abroad.
“The newly-strengthened management team responded well to the recession and I’m pleased to see the business exceed its growth targets.”