A Walsall company has been named among the top 16 manufacturers in Britain after being shortlisted for a national award.

Power Panel Electrical Systems beat hundreds of other firms to win through to the final of the 2006 Manufacturing Excellence Awards (MX) Awards. The firm, which employs 172 people at its base in Cheslyn Hay, has doubled in size in the past five years.

Power Panel, which has a turnover of around £13 million, supplies complex electrical assemblies for large machinery manufacturers in the food processing, semi conductor, packaging and CNC markets.

Managing director Tony Hague said he was delighted to be nominated for the award.

He said: "It's great to show where the company has come from and recognises the growth we have achieved and approach taken.

"Last year we picked up three best factory awards and also the best in the Black Country awards, but it is nice to be recognised further.

"We have embraced change and are going from strength to strength."

Power Panel is not standing still, with the addition of a 12,000 sq ft factory extension to its 20,000 sq ft site completed in June, which will result in new jobs being generated.

It will now face the scrutiny of a panel of industry experts, chaired by Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, head of Warwick Manufacturing Group, before finding out if it has won - at a black tie ceremony being held in London on June 29.

In last year's MX Awards, Telford's GKN Wheels made it through to the final and was victorious in the customer service category.

Organised annually by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the MX Awards are backed by numerous organisations including the DTI, Barclays, RSM Robson Rhodes and Sandvik Coromant.

Benefits include more than £10,000 of consulting advice in the form of comprehensive benchmarking reports and a free diagnostic 'health check' from the DTI's Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).

Trade and Industry Secretary Alan Johnson said: "The future of manufacturing depends on the industry raising investment, applying science and innovation, best practice and skills to create even better products the world wants to buy. The MX Awards show it can be done."