Heat treatment specialists Metaltech Ltd are eyeing new markets following £50,000 funding and a major new national accreditation.
The County Durham firm, which employs 24 people at its Consett facility, used the £50,000 funding from GROW:OffshoreWind to acquire specialist furnace and quenching facilities – the process of rapidly cooling products to produce certain properties.
The equipment will boost Metaltech’s capacity as it targets the offshore wind and marine markets for future work.
In addition, Metaltech has also secured the SC21 Bronze Award which is designed to benchmark supply chains to raise competitiveness.
Supported by the Business Growth Service’s Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), the company took 18 months to go through the rigorous process. It now plans to use the standard to win work with the Ministry of Defence.
Metaltech managing director Dr Graeme Forster said: “SC21 is a major achievement for our business and I believe we’re one of the smallest firms to go for and successfully secure the Bronze award.
“A lot of the major Tier 1s and primes will only consider you if you have this accreditation and we saw it as a natural progression from the AS9100 standard we already held.
“It’s a long and demanding journey, but it provides you with a great continuous improvement framework that delivers better communication, efficiency gains and cross functional working within the workplace.
“MAS has been tremendous and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support, knowledge and patience of advisors Alan Whittaker and Jim Barr. They understand our business, got the timing spot on and then delivered the external assistance required to get us ready for approval.
“This included an automated spreadsheet system to allow us to closely monitor both quality and delivery performance – two of the key SC21 metrics. We are now in a much better position to win new work in the aerospace, defence and security sectors.”
Dr Forster thinks Metaltech are one of the smallest firms to strive for the SC21 standard which is sought after among Tier 1 suppliers.
Metaltech’s £50,000 funding came from GROW:OffshoreWind Enabling Fund, a scheme run by Grant Thornton in conjunction with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), RenewableUK and the University of Sheffield. The service is designed to provide English manufacturers with consultancy, technology and funding support.
The equipment purchased with the funding will increase Metaltech’s capability from one tonne to four tonne payloads, which means the firm can provide thermal process of larger components demanded in the offshore and marine sectors.
Dr Forster said the firm had been turning work down through lack of capacity.
MAS’ Alan Whittaker said: “Metaltech is a great example of a SME competing with bigger rivals on quality, performance and flexibility and the combination of SC21 and larger capacity will help it grow from its current turnover of £1.5m.
“It is also extremely innovative, developing a molybdenum disulphide dry film lubricating coating (MT2936) for use across a range of diverse markets, from excavation to offshore and marine.”