Supporting the automotive sector’s move towards electrification and the aerospace industry’s desire for lightweight parts has helped a Shropshire manufacturer boost its sales by 40%.

Advanced Chemical Etching (A.C.E.) has won over £2m of new orders over the last twelve months, with contracts being placed from customers in the UK, Europe and the Far East – taking turnover to £7.6m.

The company, which has also created 12 new jobs to cope with demand, is looking to build on the recent expansion by completing a £500,000 investment drive that has seen it install new inspection equipment and two pre and post cleaning machines.

This means the Telford-based firm can move from manually processing 350 sheets a day to over 1000, giving it capacity to meet the target of £10m of sales by 2021.

“We have built a strong track record for producing high quality precision components that are ideal for use in the electrification of vehicles and in helping to reduce weight across F1 cars, aircraft and in some intricate medical implants,” explained Chris Ball, Executive Director at Advanced Chemical Etching.

“The last twelve months have exceeded all expectations and we’re probably up an extra £1.5m on where we thought we would be. New orders have come from clients in the UK, the EU, Malaysia, Thailand and the Far East – despite the difference in geography, the reason they use ACE is simple…repeatable quality and short lead times.”

He went on to add: “I know there’s a lot of speculation about Brexit uncertainty, but we’re genuinely not seeing it and believe that investing from a position of strength is the best thing to do.

“In addition to automating the pre and post cleaning operations, we have also installed an XRF machine in the laboratory and 3D microscope and new Co-ordinate Measurement Machine for the inspection department.”

A.C.E. specialises in the development of prototype components, pre-production and volume fulfilment to customers in aerospace, 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 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 Limited, 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.

Ian Whateley, Managing Director of Advanced Chemical Etching, concluded: “It’s not just investment in equipment or machinery either; we’ve also completed a comprehensive review of our processes and our people and this is paying dividends.

“By giving our staff the opportunity to express their experiences and provide new ideas, we have been able to complete a number of training programmes and implement more lean manufacturing principles. It’s all added up to a more efficient facility on Hortonwood, with productivity up 40%.”