A fast-growing Midland precision engineering firm has more than doubled its factory space as part of plans to almost double turnover by 2015.
Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE) has invested more than £1 million into taking on two new adjacent units and in acquiring additional state-of-the-art equipment that will enable it to reduce lead times and further improve quality, taking its total factory size to 20,000 sq ft.
The company, which offers precision components, prototyping and low volume production, is sourcing a number of the new etching machines from a specialist US manufacturer that will be installed and up and running by early 2013.
These acquisitions have the potential to double current capacity and comes at a time when the business is securing an influx of new orders for components used in next generation aircraft, F1 cars, cutting-edge medical implants and newly developed parts for heat exchanger and fuel cell technology.
In addition to the building expansion, ACE has also appointed Ian Whateley as its new managing director, with the aim of him overseeing growth from the current £3.5 million turnover to £6 million by 2015.
Chairman Alan Rollason said: “This is a very exciting time for our business and the fact we have been able to double our floor space gives us the opportunity to attack new opportunities.
“All of the infrastructure and systems have been put in place and we’re just waiting now for delivery and installation of the new etching machines. Once these are up and running we’ll be able to etch many more millions of parts per year in a diverse range of materials.”
ACE specialises in development of prototype components, pre-production and volume fulfilment to customers in aero, automotive, electronics, medical, telecoms and renewables.
Its components go into a range of products from aircraft and F1 cars to meshes and electronic connectors and even frames for designer glasses.
All parts are developed and manufactured at its main site in Telford or at the company’s dedicated sister business, ACE Forming, in Kingswinford.
Latest production machinery, a dedicated laboratory and state-of-the-art measuring capability ensures it works to the most exacting tolerances and can manufacture components in materials, such as stainless steel, nickel alloys, copper, beryllium copper, phosphor bronze, brass and, thanks to groundbreaking new processes, aluminium, molybdenum, titanium, nitinol and elgiloy.
Mr Whateley, who started his career as an apprentice before senior positions with other photo etching companies, said: “I’m really excited about joining ACE. The company has a unique ability to provide etched part solutions to many complex contracts that our rivals won’t even consider.
“This is a very powerful selling tool and, with the new investment in technology and the building giving us far greater capacity, we are confident we can achieve £6 million sales within the next two to three years. Naturally, this would mean around 15 new jobs, taking us up to 50 staff.”
ACE is part of the Midlands Assembly Network, a collective of eight sub-contract manufacturers who work together to share best practice and pitch for new work.
The group includes Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, FW Cables, PP Electrical Systems, SMT Developments and Westley Engineering.