Complex metal components manufactured in Telford are being used in space exploration and the next generation of airplanes and cars thanks to the technical expertise of a fast-growing local manufacturer.

Advanced Chemical Etching Ltd (ACE) has seen sales grow by 15% in the last year, with export orders increasing after the firm boosted capacity with the installation of two ‘Chemcut’ etching machines at its Hortonwood 33 facility.

With a strong order pipeline and new opportunities in hydrogen fuel cell markets accelerating, the company has just agreed a deal on two further machines that will help it offer increased capacity and reduced lead times on parts.

They should be installed and operational by the end of the year and will provide the platform required for ACE to secure £10m of sales by the middle of 2024.

Chris Ball, Executive Director at ACE, commented: “Whilst we’ve seen a strong surge in domestic contracts, the faster growth has come from the work we do overseas where we are competing against a host of international rivals.

“Export now accounts for over 35% of our annual turnover and we’re seeing really strong demand from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and our traditionally strong markets of Belgium and Luxembourg.”

He continued: “Our ability to etch precision components quickly and in a range of materials is a big selling point, as is the way we control all the forming processes in-house too. This makes us extremely competitive against the rest of the world and proves UK manufacturing can do battle on the global stage.”

ACE specialises in the development of precision components to customers in more than 35 countries, spanning aerospace, space, general engineering, automotive, electronics, medical, telecoms and renewables.

The scope of its activities is far and wide and can include anything from safety critical components for aircraft and F1 cars, to meshes and electronic connectors, battery interconnectors, fuel cell bi-polar plates, cooling plates and heat exchangers.

All parts are developed and manufactured at its main site in Telford and, importantly, at the company’s dedicated sister business, ACE Forming Limited, in Kingswinford.

This means the business is in a rare position of being able to etch or form parts to meet the customer’s cost point and, importantly, the desired performance for the end application.

Ian Whateley, Managing Director at ACE, went on to add:

“Investment in the latest technology is key to our business, but it must be made in line with investment in our greatest asset…our people.

“Over the last year we have increased our total workforce by another 15% to 75 people and have made two key appointments to strengthen our sales team.

“Matt Chiswell and Chris Flynn have really hit the ground running, generating and converting new opportunities in export markets and in the South East. We now have the depth of talent and the industry-leading equipment we need to hit the £10m turnover mark ahead of schedule.”

Advanced Chemical Etching Ltd