A Dudley company that played a major role in sprucing up Waterloo train station in time for the Olympic Games has invested £300,000 to launch a new manufacturing service.
Mercia Architectural, which employs 22 people at its Shaw Road factory, is the first manufacturer in the region to install the Dynamic Mach3 high pressure water jet cutting system and is already setting its sights on winning new contracts in the automotive, aerospace and high value engineering fields.
The acquisition gives the firm the ability to accurately cut a comprehensive range of materials at high speed, including composites, fiberglass, wood, plastic and even titanium.
A number of early orders have already been secured after the company impressed clients with its speed of turnaround and quality of finish – there’s no thermal distortion or heat affected areas with this form of cutting.
“We’ve established a strong reputation for our architectural metalwork and this had led to prestigious projects across the UK, including the Waterloo transport interchange contract and, currently, City Point in Lichfield,” explained Warren Holland, Managing Director.
“A lot of our competitors have laser cutting facilities, but very few have the capacity to provide state-of-the-art water jet cutting up to 200mm.”
He continued: “Furthermore, our experienced design team and auto cad studio can work with clients at the earliest stages of product development to ensure the right method of cutting is identified and used.
“The £300,000 investment has been made possible by support from the Manufacturing Advisory Service, who secured £80,000 from the Regional Growth Fund to make it happen. We’ve already taken on four new staff as a result.”
A new business – Mercia Water Jet Cutting Solutions Ltd has been set up and a new website (www.waterjetcuttingsolutions.co.uk) recently launched to make the most of the recent investment.
Initial interest has come from the automotive sector, but the flexibility of the machine means the company is targeting design-led customers in aerospace, construction, marine and the offshore wind markets.
Warren continued: “We’re currently turning over £1.3m in annual sales and there’s no reason why we can’t take this past £2m within the next twelve months.
“This will definitely involve taking more people on and perhaps even increasing our number of current apprentices from two to four.”