Six-figure investment at Coventry firm
A six-figure investment in new machinery has led to a Coventry business expanding its overseas trade to 62 countries and recruiting extra staff.
NDE Clarke Pitchline, which is based at the historic former Riley Motor Company Works on Aldbourne Road, specialises in the design, engineering and manufacture of a range of mechanical power transmission components used in traditional industries ranging from steel, mining, paper and also electric vehicles, wind energy, marine and defence.
The business is reaping the benefits of a series of recent investments over the last 18 months totalling around £300,000. These included a Gear Measurement CMM Machine that was supported by a £46,263 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme which is delivered by Coventry City Council.
A further project saw the purchase of a Höfler 11-axis gear grinding CNC machine that was supported by a £20,000 grant from the Coventry and Warwickshire Green Business Programme which is delivered by Coventry University Enterprises.
Both of these investment projects were part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
In order to map the most effective layout of its 30,000 sq ft workshop to maximise productivity and capacity, NDE was also able to access £4,000 of grant support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme.
The Manufacturing Growth Programme covers 18 LEP areas across England and is the UK’s largest provider of business support, they have assisted thousands of SME manufacturers with their business growth plans and have provided those businesses with a total of £8.7m of grant funding since October 2016.
So far, two extra members of staff plus an apprentice have been recruited at NDE Clarke Pitchline to operate the state-of-the-art machines which have opened up new markets for the 50-strong business that was established 52 years ago.
Adam Wilkins, who joined NDE as an apprentice on the shop floor 18 years ago and is now Business Development Manager, said: “The major investment in machinery and staff would not have been possible without the help of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub and their partner organisations.
“Having these machines means we have been able to break into new markets and grow our export business. We now export to 62 countries such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain in Europe as well as more obscure countries such the Philippines, the Caribbean, Peru and Singapore and our exports now make up 40 per cent of the business.
“The CNC machine enables us to precisely machine gears to a high tolerance so we can now supply in to markets such as wind turbines where their need the gears to be quiet and on submarines to keep noise to a minimum to prevent detection.
“The projects have enabled us to attract people with the right skills and without the investments, we wouldn’t have been able to win new business outside the UK so it has been a massive benefit.
“This January was one of our best order intakes we have ever had and if this continues over the next 12 months, the size of the business will grow rapidly since we have a full order book and new business shows no signs of slowing down!”
He said they had received continuously updated information from the CWLEP Growth Hub concerning the UK-EU’s trade deal which has meant few headaches so far following the UK’s departure from the EU.
Adam added: “It has been a challenge certainly with exporting goods across the globe but like a lot of companies we have engaged the services of a freight forwarder to organise the shipments for us.
“We have also taken on an extra member of staff and provided training on export assignments and paperwork, so it has been quite a smooth process.”
Gary Thyeson, Account Manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said NDE Clarke Pitchline is an innovator in their sector.
“It has been a pleasure to support a well-run company such as NDE Clarke Pitchline with their growth plans and capital investments,” he said.
“The new investments have made a real difference in their strategy to expand their commercial offering which now extends to all corners of the world.
“This shows the difference working with the Growth Hub can make, as we can strategically co-ordinate all the different grant and business support programmes that are available for companies to access.
“I am particularly impressed with their focus throughout the COVID pandemic which has contributed to their ongoing success and I have no doubt the business will continue on an upward trajectory.”
Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, added: “Coventry is packed with innovative, growing companies just like NDE Clarke Pitchline and I’m really pleased that with a little bit support they have been able to create new jobs – including an opportunity for an apprentice.
“This a company with real ambition and one that is trading strongly in the UK and across the world. I look forward to seeing what’s next for them.”
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Matt Joyce .