A COUNTY DURHAM precision engineering specialist is proving it has the talent to turn tools into takings, and grow the business.
Ashgarth Engineering, a subcontract precision engineering specialist based in Consett, has reported a 40% increase in turnover over the past year after seeing demand for its services skyrocket.
Ashgarth Engineering has continued to grow, invest in new capital equipment and created skilled jobs despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
The company, which supplies high volume precision machined components to customers across the UK, has benefited from a surge in orders from the automotive and medical industries following fresh investment into the business over the past 12 months.
The investment, which included funding from the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project at University of Sunderland, saw the company relocate to a new, larger workshop in February and invest in the machinery required to ramp up output and cater for the increase in demand for its services.
Co-founder and director, Niall Ash, said: “We’ve grown year-on-year since our launch in 2017 and we’re delighted that – despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic – we’ve been able to continue on this upwards trajectory over the past 12 months.
“Central to this has been the move to our new premises in February, which gave us the capacity required to really ramp up production supported by the investment we secured from the SAM Project.
“After engaging with the programme, we were able to secure a five-figure matched funding grant towards a 3 axis vertical machining centre with a 4th Axis attachment. This allowed us to offer an additional process to our current clients and also branch out into new markets, which previously we’d never have been able to cater for.”
Over the past year, this continued investment has directly led to the creation of three jobs – taking the company’s headcount to nine – and will see the company continue to invest in its team over the coming months.
“We’ve taken on two new skilled machinists on the shop floor as well as a sales specialist to help with business development and if all goes well, we’ll be recruiting for another two roles over the coming months,” Niall added.
“While the past 12 months has undoubtedly thrown up challenges, we’re delighted to be re-emerging from the crisis on such a strong footing and we can’t thank the team at SAM – as well as Business Durham which introduced us to the initiative – enough for their support.
“Although our business growth has been organic over the past four years, we would never have been able to scale at this rate of pace had it not been for funding schemes such as this and I’d urge any business going for growth to see how they could benefit.”
The Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing (SAM) Project is a £10.9 million business support programme led by the University of Sunderland and backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supporting the implementation of product and process development and the introduction of technology within the SME manufacturing base in the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NE LEP) area.
Ken Teears, project manager at the SAM Project, said: “It’s fantastic to see innovative, forward-thinking businesses such as Ashgarth Engineering continuing to invest in new technologies and creating highly skilled jobs in the region.
“SAM Project’s objective is to support the region’s SME manufacturers to increase productivity, automation, diversification and resilience through our fully funded technical support and large grant fund. Ashgarth Engineering are a great example of a ‘SAM SME’ that is scaling up their operations following our support. We urge other manufacturers to do the same. We’re delighted to have supported Ashgarth on its journey and would like to wish them the best of luck for the future.”