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AWI celebrates 75 years in business with £1m investment
A specialist producer of high performance nickel alloys is planning a £1m investment drive and targeting international expansion as it marks a special milestone year.
Alloy Wire International (AWI) is celebrating 75 years of manufacturing in 2021 and has plans in place to take sales past pre Covid-19 levels to £12m by the end of the year.
The company, which employs 30 people at manufacturing sites in the West Midlands and Yorkshire, is also looking to launch ‘Wired for Good’, a campaign that will boost its work supporting local charities and, importantly, committing to becoming carbon neutral.
This means all manufacturing, deliveries and even employee commuting emissions will need to be offset. The firm has partnered with a number of specialist organisations to achieve this, with the focus on woodland creation, solar, wind and sustainability projects.
Mark Venables, managing director of AWI, said: “75 years in business is a major achievement and the last twelve months have certainly been some of the most challenging yet, with our staff going above and beyond to support the global fightback against the pandemic. Despite the challenges, sales have held up well and demand across 15 key market sectors have surged since January 2021 and this bodes well for our big anniversary year.
“We’ve got some really big plans for our birthday celebrations, including a £1 million investment in new wet drawing machines and increasing our stockholding to 220 tonnes, the latter meaning we are able to offer our unrivalled two-week industry lead times.
“We also wanted to do something different that makes a positive social difference. With sustainability on many people’s agenda, we felt the time was right to become carbon neutral, a significant commitment when you consider we produce wire and export to over 65 countries. ‘Wired for Good’ will govern all of our 75th activities and we’re looking forward to announcing more positive projects in the coming weeks.”
AWI, which manufactures round, flat and profile wire for more than 5,000 customers, was founded in 1946 by John Stockdale in an old ambulance station in Old Hill in the Black Country. Its global client base spans automotive, aerospace, medical, nuclear and oil and gas.
Today, the firm is employee-owned, with most of the staff owning shares in the business, a decision made by existing chairman Bill Graham and the current senior management team. AWI believe this inclusive culture has been crucial in helping it to more than double turnover from £5m to £11m in the last 13 years.
Tom Mander, who was recently named as MD designate, said: “2021 is going to be an important time for the business, with R&D activities helping to find new applications for our material.
“One example is the rise in demand for our wire being used in wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), which is also referred to as 3D metal printing. WAAM works by melting the wire using an electric arc as the heat source and, unlike the 3D printing powder process, can be used to produce larger components in large quantities.
“We have discovered so many new applications for our material over the last seven decades and, by ensuring we have the largest production capacity in our 75-year history, we are in a perfect position to find even more going forward.”