#SMEsuccess: South West Metal Finishing – Sharing in Growth and ATI

Exeter-based South West Metal Finishing (SWMF) provides surface coverings such as electro and electroless plating, anodising, paint and powder coating and non -destructive testing. Part of industry leaders’ supply chains, the company’s customer base includes Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Honeywell Leonardo and Eaton Aerospace.

SWMF is currently working with the Sharing in Growth (SiG) programme and the Aerospace Technology Institute – both AGP initiatives.

SWMF recently announced that its sales had increased by 15% in 2016, acknowledging the Sharing in Growth programme for its support.

Jackie Jacobs, Finance Director at South West Metal Finishing said:

“The start to 2017 has been fantastic for the company, with growth across all areas and, thanks partly to Sharing in Growth, a rapidly developing workforce whose skills are increasing every day.

“We are looking forward to continuing this progression and achieve our target of £11million sales by 2020. These are very exciting times for our industry.”

To achieve its growth ambitions, South West Metal Finishing recognised that it needed support to improve its productivity, skills, business structure and strategy. The company investigated several options, including third party consultants and local trainers, but decided that SiG would help deliver the required growth as the programme is appropriately comprehensive and in-depth, joining the programme in September 2015.

Financed by the government’s Regional Growth Fund as well as private enterprise, each intensive SiG programme starts with an extensive diagnostic assessment to confirm readiness for the programme which is then tailored to a company’s growth enablers.

Jackie Jacobs said:

“The Sharing in Growth Programme presents us with exciting training and development opportunities in support of our growth plans. We aim to be the UK leaders in our field of surface engineering and the work done so far with SiG’s diagnostic has shown the expertise, knowledge and support that the programme offers will help us achieve our aim.”

SWMF is working on an ATI project as part of a consortium which includes Victrex as the lead partner, University of Exeter ALM Centre, Hieta, E3D, AVPE and Airbus as the end user, bringing together the entire materials & processing supply chain. The project, ‘High Temperature, affordable composites for AM aerospace applications’, seeks to commercialise Additive Manufacturing and enable it to be affordable and viable in the future.

High performance mouldable plastics such as PEEK/PEK and their engineered composites are of particular interested to airframe makers as a metal replacement, being 40 -70% lighter than steel, titanium or aluminum. Additive Manufacture (AM) of PEEK/PEK polymers and composites is not yet fully established.

One of the primary objectives of the project is for the various partners to commercially exploit the Additive Layer Manufacturing technology which in turn will benefit the wider UK economy. SWFM are working on developing a suitable surface treatment for the parts manufactured in the process.

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