A Birmingham manufacturer is taking on former Eastern Bloc countries after making a £1 million investment in new plant and design technology.
Larkshill Engineering, which was started by engineer Frank Murphy under the arches of Snow Hill Station 20 years ago, is on target to achieve record annual sales of £2.5 million by the end of this financial year.
The figure represents an increase of more than 38 per cent on 12 months ago, while five extra skilled jobs have been created at the Hockley firm as a result.
Now based at a purpose-designed 18,000 sq ft factory in Bond Street, Larkshill employs 23 highly skilled engineers and specialises in the design and manufacture of precision machine tools, moulds, jigs and gauges for the high-tech automotive and aerospace industries.
Its latest investment includes the purchase of a large CNC lathe, CNC miller and CNC vertical borer, which have been supported by grants from Advantage West Midlands' Accelerate programme. Mr Murphy, managing director, has ploughed in almost £1 million from the company's own funds in addition to £70,000 in grants.
He said: "The new machinery has taken us into a different league and we're on course for our best year ever. The acquisition of the Puma lathe has enabled Larkshill to secure a new project for aerospace tooling for a new civil airliner and to complete the job to very high specification and on time.
"We have also secured new work which had previously gone to several former Eastern Bloc countries, but on which we can compete across quality, price and lead-time.
Mr Murphy said: "Larkshill is proof-positive that manufacturing is alive and kicking in the West Midlands and that there is support out there for companies such as ours." ..SUPL: