Shropshire Star

Telford firm enjoys £550,000 sales boost as etching proves ACE option for industry

Educating companies on the manufacturing benefits of etching is paying off for a Telford-based precision component specialist.

ACE Telford

Advanced Chemical Etching (ACE) has enjoyed a £550,000 sales boost in the first six months of 2023 after securing a string of new contracts with clients in the aerospace, automotive, electronics and, more recently, the space sector.

This marks a 13% increase on the same period last year and, in order to cope with the renewed demand from customers in the UK and overseas, a further 15 people have been recruited to work at its base in Hortonwood 33.

Chris Ball, Executive Director of ACE, commented: “A lot of the new work we have won has come from firms who are reshoring orders back to the UK, many of whom are looking for security of supply and quicker lead times.

“Etching is a very undervalued manufacturing discipline. It can be used to produce high tolerance parts in their thousands and, thanks to the processes we’ve developed, we can etch lightweight materials including aluminium and titanium.”

He continued: “When we’ve been exhibiting this year, a significant number of delegates thought our parts had been produced using laser cutting or by stamping - two procedures that traditionally are more expensive that what we do.”

ACE, which specialises in the development of precision components to customers in more than 35 countries, has recently strengthened its sales team with the appointment of industry expert Martin Cox.

Martin Cox

The former toolmaking apprentice has been involved in the etching sector for more than 15 years and brings with him a wealth of technical and commercial experience spanning automotive, aerospace, electronics and medical.

He is tasked with generating new opportunities in the South and East of the UK and made his official debut at the Space-Comm Expo in June.

Martin has been joined in the sales team by Chris Flynn, who has taken on several large projects over the last few months.

Ian Whateley, Managing Director, went on to add: “2023 has been an extremely exciting year, with a 30% increase in the workforce, two strategic sales appointments and the installation of new etching machines to boost our capacity.

“The latter should be operational by December and will provide the platform required for us to hit £10m sales by the middle of 2024.”

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