The West Midlands-based manufacturer of car parts is looking to recruit 50 new staff after securing contracts worth £20m for its new mass load floor.
The Manufacturing Advisory Service in the West Midlands supported the development of the product, which reduces emissions by lowering the weight and therefore fuel consumption of the vehicle in question.
Hybrid car manufacturer Fiskar and General Motors are the first vehicle manufacturers to place orders with Cobra UK, with more expected when production is increased in September this year.
Gary Searle, managing director of Cobra UK said: “MAS-WM’s New Product Development team has been a major help, providing financial and strategic advice throughout the entire process, from early ideas and one-on-one mentoring to prototyping and support with testing and validation.”
Cobra UK has another facility in Welshpool, and currently employs 72 people. Adding another 50 employees to the payroll is a huge commitment for the relatively small company, explained Searle. The company has recently diversified, using its existing knowledge of the automotive industry to manufacture seats for stadiums around the Midlands, including Birmingham City, Leicester City, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Further diversification is currently taking place at Cobra, said Searle: “We’re currently in the advanced stages of testing new airline seats that again utilise low mass technology.”
Cobra believes that the new technology will have positive ramifications for the airline industry, and has the potential to save up to £850,000 on fuel costs on a low cost carrier aircraft and nearly 1500 tonnes of carbon emissions.
“By combining engineering grade polymer with a unique metal coating, we are able to produce a trio of seats that weigh just 21kg, half the total of current seating solutions,” Searle added.
The New Product Development programme, which has already assisted 50 companies in the region, gives manufacturers access to key areas of support, including structured process and methodology to mitigate technical and commercial risk, one-to-one mentoring and funding towards prototyping, market research and securing patents.
Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), MAS-WM has assisted more than 6000 firms, adding £250m to the economic performance of industry.