Fit for a king: Manufacturers among King’s Awards winners

Posted on 7 May 2024 by James Devonshire

The winners of this year’s King’s Awards for Enterprise were announced yesterday and some of the UK’s best manufacturers were among those who were recognised.

Previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, the awards are for outstanding achievement by UK businesses across four categories: innovation, international trade, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.

His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenants will be presenting the Awards to businesses locally throughout the year.

Minister for Enterprise Kevin Hollinrake said: “I congratulate the recipients of this year’s King’s Awards for Enterprise, who exemplify the talent, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit of British business.

“I wish them every success and commend the invaluable contributions they make to communities both at home and overseas, helping to grow the UK economy.”

The full list of Awardees across the four categories can be found in the London Gazette.

King's Awards 2024 manufacturer winners (click to expand)
AML (Sheffield) Ltd

South Yorkshire precision engineering technology company Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield) Ltd is celebrating after the announcement that its 100-strong team has been awarded the much-coveted King’s Award for Enterprise Innovation, which celebrates “leaders in their field who adopt exemplary working practices and inspire other businesses”.

Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield) Ltd's high-tech shop floor

This award, one of the highest accolades for business excellence in the United Kingdom, acknowledges how AML’s development and application of novel technologies and lean processes, including forging, automation and robot loading, unlocked a two-fold improvement in productivity that enabled an aerospace prime to expand into the lucrative private aircraft market.

“This is an incredible achievement for the whole AML team and a recognition of our expertise and commitment to excellence,” says the firm’s co-founder and Managing Director, Dr Gareth Morgan. “Innovation was hard wired into our DNA from the very beginning which is why the most demanding customers on the planet, from aerospace and defence to land based gas turbines that complement the green energy / renewable sector, trust us with the manufacture of strategically critical components.”

The Award highlights an innovation in the precision manufacture of complex aerofoil geometries for jet engines. “By receiving information early, we were able to create bespoke machining programs and introduce robotic loading and automation to generate efficiencies from the outset. On the technology front, we developed an adaptive machining algorithm that ensures each component’s features are perfectly blended with the other components’ surfaces, increasing its performance and reducing rejected parts,” said Dr Morgan. “The icing on the innovation cake is a patented vibration-reducing damping fixture and a unique robotic cell that together helped double production rates for the client while improving product quality. “

Originally a spin-out from the award-winning Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre – itself the recipient of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2007 – AML received a £1.98m Renewal Action Plan grant from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Authority in 2022 to accelerate the creation of 32 new high value added jobs. The King’s Award for Enterprise Innovation was driven by funding from the Aerospace Technology Institute and has resulted in eight new roles to support the new production cell built to manufacture these components, consisting of six machine operators and two manufacturing engineers.

Today AML is recognised as a market leader in delivering flexible manufacturing capability at the cutting edge of machining technologies and efficiencies. “We work collaboratively with our customers to understand their changing needs and challenges, which enables us to deliver technologically advanced solutions. But it’s by investing in our people and creating a culture of innovation across the business that we can make these step-changes in productivity for our clients. The King’s Award for Enterprise Innovation tells us and our customers that AML sets a high bar and then leaps over it.”

Arrowsmith Engineering

Arrowsmith Engineering (Coventry) is flying high again in export markets after it was announced as an International Trade winner in the latest King’s Award for Enterprise list.


The company, which is part of the rapidly growing ASG Group, has seen overseas sales rocket by nearly 400% following the pandemic, with orders now accounting for 35% of the firm’s annual £7.6m turnover.

Precision components manufactured at its Bayton Road factory in Coventry are sent to global customers in China, France, Germany, Singapore and Spain for end use in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames.

A strong investment in new technology and robotics, coupled with the creation of ten new jobs, has given Arrowsmith the capacity and capability to win work against rivals ten times its size.

Plans are now in place to build on strategic partnerships with Incora, ITP, Mecachrome, Parker-Meggitt and Rolls-Royce to take annual sales past £12m over the next two years. This should result in the creation of a further 15 jobs in the UK.

Jason Aldridge, Managing Director of Arrowsmith Engineering, commented: “It has been some turnaround from the very depths of despair during Covid to the renaissance we are seeing now and in the future.

“Civil aviation – a major market for us – literally dropped off the cliff (40% reduction) with the pandemic and we had to show good old-fashioned resilience and a fair bit of business innovation to get through it.”

He continued: “We also moved with changes in the sector with the location of customer production facilities switching. Thanks to our technical expertise, our ability to add value in design and the financial strength of the ASG Group, we were able to secure contracts in new countries, as well as securing one of the biggest orders to supply parts for the German-built jet plane project called ‘Pearl 700’.

“All of these reasons have contributed to our outstanding short-term export growth and led to us winning the International Trade King’s Award for the second time in our history. It’s a real landmark moment for us.”

Arrowsmith Engineering, which has recently been reaccredited for the Silver SC21 supply chain award for quality and delivery performance, is continuing its quest to get more female engineers involved in aerospace.

A recruitment push has seen women make up nearly a quarter of the workforce and it’s a figure Jason and his management team want to continue through more work with local schools, colleges, and universities and by using existing engineers as mentors to showcase what ladies can achieve in industry.

Jason concluded: “The King’s Award will definitely help us with recruitment, especially when you consider we are competing with some major carmakers and aerospace primes locally.
“The process is one of the most stringent in business and I’m delighted for our wonderful staff. Yes, we have invested heavily in the best technology, but our people are still our greatest asset and selling point. This Award is for them.”


Brandauer has the rare honour of being one of only a select group of companies that have held two different King’s Awards for Enterprise titles simultaneously.

The Birmingham-based company, a leading presswork and tooling specialist, has been recognised for ‘Innovation’ after developing a new precision modular tooling concept that will deliver up to £6m of new sales over the next two years.

This has involved the manufacture of globally competitive precision tools that can produce micron accuracy components for use in high specification construction applications, battery assemblies, MedTech devices and electrification.

The ‘Innovation’ accolade comes just four years after the firm was presented with an International Trade Award from the then Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

Rowan Crozier, CEO of Brandauer, commented: “It’s so difficult to get Royal endorsement once, so to get a second Award is a tremendous achievement for the business and reinforces our determination to be world class in everything we do.

“The initial title had already helped us win new contracts, especially in the US where the Royal family are highly revered. I’m hoping the Innovation Award will showcase our new precision modular tooling capability to new audiences and help us achieve our aim of delivering significant growth in this area over the next few years.

“It has been the whole teams labour of love; coming up with this new process and technology approach, taking more than three years to complete. Now we have a Micron Precision Tooling offer that is no longer expensive or inflexible for our customers and takes weeks out of production, reduces tooling costs by 25% on average and will transform production efficiencies for our customers.”

A significant amount of the IP generated from the modular tooling concept has been embedded into courses being delivered to OEMs, like JLR, at the Precision Tooling Academy in Aldridge, a joint venture between Brandauer and In-Comm Training.

This will be used in courses that will help train the toolmakers of the future, a vital engineering discipline that was slowly dying out with specialists retiring without passing on knowledge and experience.

Rowan concluded: “The UK must be better at commercialising some of the new technology we design and develop and that is exactly what we are doing with our innovation. We will be creating revenue for our business, our supply chain and, importantly, creating up to 10 new jobs.

“This is also a breakthrough for domestic industry in general, as we are also sharing the methodology and IP with other SME companies, so they can grow their own toolmakers.”

Harrison Spinks

Fifth-generation family-owned luxury bedmaker and components manufacturer Harrison Spinks has earned a prestigious King’s Award for Sustainable Development, adding to its two current King’s Awards for Innovation and International Trade and previously awarded Queen’s Awards, bringing the total number achieved by the business to eight.

The King’s Award win solidifies the company as an industry pioneer in sustainability, having made significant strides to improve its production and CO2 emissions across the main beds business and within its component manufacturing division, as well as working to improve the local biodiversity in Yorkshire where both businesses are based.

The business has spearheaded responsible manufacturing through various initiatives and innovations since it began in 1840, including introducing a world-first pocket spring that’s recyclable due to its glue-less design, and made from wire that’s drawn in-house. It is also the only bedmaker to have its own farms to produce home-grown natural materials for use within its luxury mattress filling pads, and the only British bed manufacturer to create 95%* of its mattress components in-house, including its fire-retardant chemical-free mattress fabric that’s woven in Yorkshire.

The news follows the release of the bedmaker’s newly-launched Impact Report which outlines a host of sustainability-focussed initiatives, including plans to become Nature Net Positive across all operations and decrease carbon emissions from direct operations by 95% within 10 years, with the company’s components division already introducing new manufacturing technology to reduce energy consumption by 60% as well as decreasing raw material usage.

Harrison Spinks is one of the UK’s largest growers of hemp – a crop known for its environmental benefits, absorbing more CO2 per hectare in its growth cycle than any other forest or commercial crop. This year the business is increasing its flax acreage by 500% to 120 acres to replace cotton within its luxury mattress fillings, as well as investing into UK-based wildlife programmes to boost the local natural habitat.

The Leeds-based bed manufacturer has also been successfully recognised for its sustainability initiatives at the Yorkshire Sustainability Excellence Awards, where it was announced as the winner in the Circular Economy Excellence category for its commitment to using responsibly-sourced materials in its products, such as traceable British Wool and upcycled luxury cashmere offcuts, as well as its dedication to innovation to reduce environmental impact.

Simon Spinks, Chairman of Harrison Spinks, said: “Receiving the King’s Award for Sustainable Development is a tremendous honour, especially after previously holding a Queen’s Award in this category, and it reflects the unwavering dedication of our whole team’s efforts to be the UK’s most responsible bedmaker.

“As a proud British manufacturer, this award win is testament to our commitment to driving the business forward through industry-leading responsible business practices that also enrich the lives of our colleagues and communities.

“Whether it’s actively encouraging biodiversity on our farms, supporting children’s bed charity Zarach with mattresses each month for children and families in poverty, or helping our employees achieve a better work-life balance by introducing a compressed four-day working week, we know the importance of making a positive difference to the world around us.

“We’re immensely proud to have been recognised by the most prestigious Awards for Enterprise in the UK. Having previously won seven Queen’s and King’s Awards for Sustainable Development, Innovation, and International Trade, this latest accolade only reinforces our position as world leaders in sustainable bed and component manufacturing.”

The King’s Awards for Enterprise are designed to recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in four categories: Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity. Successful businesses can use the prestigious King’s Awards emblem for five years.


Sheffield firm on a mission to revolutionise the construction industry through game-changing innovation has been singled out for the prestigious King’s Award for Enterprise.

Employee-owned manufacturer Gripple, which works across 85 countries worldwide, including seven sites in South Yorkshire, is one of only 59 businesses in the UK to be chosen for this year’s King’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation.

Awarded for Fast Trak, its innovative pre-fabricated bracket system, which is used to suspend mechanical and electrical services in construction applications, the award recognises Gripple’s dedication to driving efficiency and sustainability in construction, helping customers do more with less by solving real-world challenges with simplified engineered solutions. Its innovative design allows for easier, faster and safer installation than traditional rod and strut, making it invaluable in supporting major construction projects.

Ed Stubbs, Managing Director at Gripple said: “Gripple is all about doing more. That means empowering our people to push boundaries and deliver better solutions for the markets we service.

“Innovations like Fast Trak, designed by engineers, for engineers, are crucial to driving the industry forward. Solving the challenges facing our customers and delivering efficient and sustainable solutions is what drives us. Success for them means success for us.

“We are delighted to have been recognised for this commitment by his Majesty the King. It is testament to the hard work of each and every one of our employee-owners and our commitment to excellence in design innovation and manufacturing.”

Gripple’s Fast Trak system is made up of specialist track and prefabricated slotted brackets, which use patented cartridges to help make installing electrical containment, pipework, ductwork or other mechanical services easier and faster.

The award is the sixth time Gripple’s products and initiatives have been recognised in the UK’s Queen or King’s Awards for Enterprise, and the third time it has won the Award for Enterprise in Innovation, recognising its continued commitment to delivering game-changing solutions in the markets it services.

The King’s Awards for Enterprise, previously known as The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, were renamed last year to reflect His Majesty The King’s desire to continue the legacy of his late mother by recognising outstanding UK businesses. The Award programme, now in its 58th year, is the most prestigious business award in the country and celebrates businesses in four categories; International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity, focusing on social mobility.

This year only 257 awards have been handed out despite there being 5.5 million businesses registered in the UK making it one of the most coveted business awards in the country.

Gripple, which employs over 950 people globally, is a purpose-driven business, 100% owned by its employees. This unique approach to business means they are passionate about investing in people, innovation and sustainable growth.

World-leading manufacturers of wire joiners and tensioners, Gripple suspension and support solutions are used on various applications including ductwork, pipework, cable containment, lighting and acoustics, contributing to major construction projects around the world.


A fast-growing company that is transforming the world of additive manufacturing has secured its first ever King’s Award for Enterprise.

RYSE 3D, which was formed by Mitchell Barnes in 2017 after printing 3D models for fellow University students, has been recognised for its commitment to ‘Innovation’ after developing 3D printed mould tools that allow UK manufacturers to compete with low-cost overseas operations.

The solution involves developing new materials that work with the additive manufacturing process to create moulds that can be used to make components in production volumes.

This innovation, which was carried out in partnership with several automotive OEMs, has significantly reduced tooling costs for companies and provides faster turnaround times – in some cases as quick as a few days.

It has also ensured that the Shipston-on-Stour firm is able to produce components for 18 of the world’s Hypercar projects, helping it accelerate turnover towards £4m this year.

“This has been some journey. From replacing my mum’s washing machines in the garage with a few DIY 3D printers to create models at university, to setting up a world class 3D printing factory in Warwickshire and winning one of the hardest to achieve business awards in the world,” explained Mitchell Barnes, founder and one of the youngest Managing Directors to achieve the King’s Award.

“We pride ourselves on disrupting the marketplace and this has seen us win a string of new contracts across the world, printing production performance components for some of the world’s most renowned OEMs.”

He continued: “40% of our work is now going overseas and this figure is set to grow, with interest coming from five different continents.

“The King’s Award for Enterprise will help reinforce this international expansion and will certainly open new doors for us when pitching to large OEMs, car makers and potential customers in aviation, renewables and the MedTech sector.

“It’s also a massive external ‘well done’ to our 14-strong workforce. We’ve had to grow quickly and some of our staff have been taken from coffee shops and local bars and trained into skilled engineers on the job. This Award is for them more than anyone else.”

RYSE 3D offers customers next or same day production and prototype solutions, with structured advice and support.

Its additive manufacturing technologies, such as MJF, SLS, SLA and FDM, use amazing materials, such as plant-based engineering grade nylon that is made from 100% castor beans. This offers a long service life and fits perfectly with the company’s eco-conscious strategy.

Parts can be as small as 1mm x 1mm and go as large as the customer requires thanks to the firm’s 100% same material part fusing process.

With large investment in post-production facilities and the ability to produce textured finishes, RYSE 3D has also been able to create a finished product that is used in a wide variety of discerning vehicle interiors seen around the world.

Mitchell concluded: “We want to keep disrupting this space and will shortly be bringing our own 3D printers – design and built in Warwickshire – to market.”

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