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Fast-growing SME UK manufacturer secures £3 million investment to fuel expansion

News International-French

17 Mar 2015

Surface Generation, an SME composite processing equipment manufacturer based in the Midlands UK employing 30 people, has secured £3.1 million of new investment to help maintain its rapid growth.

The company has invented a new unique and innovative solution focused around ‘intelligent’ moulding which helps manufacturers to make higher tech goods more efficiently. It says the technology can reduce cycle times by up to 95% and produce energy savings of over 90%.

Last year, it secured its biggest ever contract win with IHI Corporation, the Japanese engineering giant, which will use Surface Generation’s new patented process to create lightweight jet engine parts for a major next generation single aisle commercial aircraft programme. In addition to its existing clients, Surface Generation is currently in talks with 12 manufacturers around the world (7 Fortune 500) and is predicting annual revenue of £2 million for the financial year 2014/ 2015 (1st March to 31ST April), which would be a rise of around 233% on the previous year.

Ben Halford, Chief Executive, Surface Generation said: “We are thrilled to have secured this additional funding from our investors who are committed to the long term growth of the business. The new investment will enable us to continue to grow in our existing markets, which range from aerospace to consumer electronics, but also enter new ones such as energy. With our new investment, we will also be looking to employ 10 new staff immediately, taking our headcount to over 40 people.”

“Having recently opened a facility in Taiwan we are now planning to open demonstration centres on the West and East coast of America requiring an additional 10 staff. These are important developments as more than 90% of our revenue comes from overseas.”

What Surface Generation does
Surface Generation specialises in composite manufacturing. Composites are materials where you mix two or more constituents such as carbon fibre and resin, giving them mechanical and thermal properties which are significantly better than those of homogeneous metals, polymers and ceramics. The company targets manufacturing sectors that are focused on reducing weight of mass produced products. There are not many of these OEMs in the UK, so it primarily focuses on overseas markets.

By integrating its patented suite of technologies, Surface Generation has transformed mass market composites manufacturing beyond its existing disparate collection of elements into a unified, information driven process, centred around an 'intelligent moulding environment'. This in turn has created a paradigm shift in cost, quality and delivery.

Growth in the composites markets
The global composite materials industry was worth around £14 billion in 2012, and it is expected to rise to £19.7 billion by 2017.

There are a number of factors fuelling growth in the composites market including:

  • Major industries that use them are growing e.g. aviation, automotive and consumer electronics
  • New infrastructure projects
  • Population growth
  • Increase in middle class populations
  • On-going environmental influences
  • Growing desire for manufacturers to conserve energy, reduce pollution and reduce costs – composites can help in all of these areas.  Carbon fibre for example, is increasingly being used in the automotive and aviation sectors because it reduces weight so can lead to impressive fuel savings.