ACE unwraps £1m investment birthday present

Posted on 16 Jan 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Advanced Chemical Etching Limited (ACE) is celebrating its 15th birthday in style after putting the finishing touches to a £1m investment that it hopes will propel company sales towards £5m.

Additional staff will be needed as ACE heads towards £5m
Additional staff will be needed as ACE heads towards £5m.

The Shropshire-based firm offers precision 2D and 3D components, prototyping and volume manufacture, and has just completed a major expansion plan to more than double its Telford factory to over 20,000 sqft.

Established in 2000 by Alan Rollason (now chairman) and Chris Ball, the company is expecting that the additional installation of two new large etching machine lines – plus advanced measuring equipment – will help it build on an influx of new orders for parts used in aerospace, automotive, electronics, Formula 1, medical, heat exchanger and fuel cell technology.

Rollason explained: “This expansion plan has been a long time coming and has taken a massive effort from all of our 35-strong workforce to make it a reality.

“We now have an excellent platform and the right capacity to go after new work and there is plenty of that around as companies are increasingly looking for that complex component or alternative use of materials.

Currently at more than £3m turnover, the chairman sees “no reason” why ACE can’t achieve £5m in the next couple of years.

He continued: “15 years has flown by and it’s great to see how we’ve progressed from a small business employing just three of us to one of the sector’s leading providers of photo-etched components.

“Despite our growth, we still operate to the same principles we did when we spotted the niche in the marketplace…fast turnaround, customer service, quality and always looking at the next innovation.”

ACE, which is a member of the successful Midlands Assembly Network (MAN), has recently developed two new processes using unique etching chemistry.

ACmE (Aluminium Compliant molecular Etching) and TiME (Titanium Molecular Etching) are the result of years of R&D, which culminated in the company embarking on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the University of Wolverhampton.

It was able to tap into the expertise of PhD-qualified chemical engineer Dr Eesa to come up with two chemical solution developments that offer exacting tolerances and world class repeatable quality – attributes very much sought after by the automotive and aerospace sectors using Titanium and Aluminium.

Ian Whateley, Managing Director at ACE, went on to add: “In addition to the new machine lines, we are now planning to invest significantly in expanding our specialist laboratory so we can continue to push the boundaries of etching technology.

“We see this as a major opportunity and gives us a fantastic competitive advantage over our rivals, especially those from low cost countries. The KTP went so well that Dr Eesa has been employed as the head of our R&D team.”