A major £500,000 investment drive has reached its final stage at a Telford-based precision manufacturer, with the arrival of two new state-of-the-art etching machines.
Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE), which has recently boosted its workforce by 12%, has taken delivery of two Chemcut Etch machines at its Hortonwood 33 facility in a bid to meet increasing global demand from the aerospace, electric vehicle, and hydrogen fuel cell markets.
The acquisitions will increase the firm’s etching capacity by 30% and will help customers bring their designs and prototypes to market quicker, a decisive selling point that the business hopes will help it meet its two-year plan to hit £10m in sales.
It has been a busy twelve months for ACE, with turnover now back past Covid-19 levels and its best-ever month recently recorded after an influx of domestic and international orders were completed for customers keen to avoid international supply chain disruption.
Ian Whateley, Managing Director of Advanced Chemical Etching, commented: “We are always looking at ways where we can reduce lead times and have greater control over the tolerances we can offer, and this latest investment reinforces that.
“The two etching machines are currently being installed and should be fully up and running by late summer. When they go live, we’ll have a third more production capability, which means we can go after new opportunities and there’s plenty of those currently, whether its supplying busbars and lead frames to EV or critical components to the medical sector.
“This latest technology will make us faster, guarantee repeatable quality and, with energy costs rising, will reduce our electricity and water consumption considerably.”
ACE specialises in the development of precision components to customers in more than 25 countries, spanning aerospace, space, general engineering, automotive, electronics, medical, telecoms and renewables.
The scope of its activities is far and wide and can include anything from safety critical components for aircraft and F1 cars, to meshes and electronic connectors, battery interconnectors, fuel cell bi-polar plates, cooling plates and heat exchangers.
All parts are developed and manufactured at its main site in Telford or at the company’s dedicated sister business, ACE Forming Limited, in Kingswinford.
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 new processes, aluminium, molybdenum, titanium, nitinol and elgiloy.
Chris Ball, Executive Director, went on to add: “We operated throughout the pandemic and, thankfully, have emerged with an even stronger order book than what we went into Covid-19 with…that’s a great position to be in, especially with the amount of reshoring opportunities heading back to the UK.
“In addition to our recent investment drive, we have also strengthened our workforce with eight new people joining across our inspection, facility and plant maintenance, and our sales and marketing departments.
“There has been an increase in the number of special operation products we are getting involved in and this would necessitate the need for people to be multi-skilled and internally work across numerous projects. That’s why investment in ongoing training will be so crucial.”
Advanced Chemical Etching is planning more exhibitions this year, with its next appearance coming at the Precision Fair in the Netherlands in November (16-17th)
It is also seeing requests to do mini trade shows of its capability to many several design departments at existing and new customers.