Aerospace engineering company, JJ Churchill, has secured a 10-year contract in excess of £70m with Rolls‐Royce Civil Aerospace.
The deal will see the Leicestershire-based engineering firm, which employs 150 people, supply Rolls-Royce with high precision turbine blades for the next decade.
The contract will push JJ Churchill forward
Andrew Churchill, executive chairman of JJ Churchill, told The Manufacturer: “It really is a massive step forward in our strategy to move from a very high quality SME manufacturer, into a highly renowned gas turbine supplier that has the opportunity to tender for much larger contracts.”
The programme will see the continuation of the partnership between JJ Churchill and Rolls-Royce go from strength to strength.
Churchill commented on the growing relationship: “It is enormous strengthening, the previous longest long-term agreement we had was a five-year duration, and it was a fraction of the size, smaller than a tenth of this contract – so it’s very important.”
The company invests in new technologies
Churchill spoke about the latest strategies the company are implementing: “We have put in a number a very high calibre new positions in place to strengthen and bolster our journey to mid-cap. We have invested very substantially both in capacity and in technology.”
He spoke about a key technology, VIPER grinding, which the business is continuing to use and that the company will shortly be receiving its seventh grinding centre from Japan.
He said: “We are driving to lower global cost competitiveness on these very high tech parts, by moving toward full automation of these grinding centres.”
The team at JJ Churchill are introducing another technology to the business, Churchill said: “We are also employing new associated technologies that would normally be outsourced and subcontracted to third parties, we are bringing them in-house. For example, die sinking, which is used on turbine blades to create slots.”
Churchill said the aerospace market is, at present, “very buoyant” and although there are concerns for the sector post-Brexit, the growth globally is “phenomenal”.
The company, as Churchill explained, is coming from a very small market share, but is securing a growing share of a market which is itself growing.
However, he said having a long-term view for the future is crucial: “There is substantial opportunity, but you must have a long-term strategy that helps you identify specifically what pockets of growth you want to go after.
“Then you must invest in the right people, the right capacity and invest in innovation to be able to support that.”
If companies miss any of these key elements, Churchill said it is an opportunity that will “slip through your fingers.”
He concluded that the deal “really validates our long-term strategy to be a high volume blade manufacturer, and to make that transition to global cost competitiveness.”