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7 minute read

Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise manufacturing and engineering achievements

Now in its 54th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise celebrate the success of innovative businesses which are leading the way with pioneering products or services. The list of award recipients for 2020 once again includes a variety of exciting manufacturing and engineering businesses. We take a look at some of the winners from the sector this year.


Vehicle transmission specialist Xtrac, whose energy-efficient gearbox designs are helping to influence radically different technology for future road cars, has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. The company won the award for its development of an Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle (ILEV) gearbox range.

Xtrac previously received a Queen’s Award for Export and Excellence in 1992, less than a decade after it was founded to serve the motorsport industry. Nowadays, as well as continuing to serve the industry globally, it has successfully reached out to the automotive mainstream.

Xtrac’s chief executive, Adrian Moore, said: “Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected us like all other businesses in our industry, in the UK and around the world. With international motor racing now at a standstill, it has been necessary to furlough some of our employees, and every single one of us has volunteered to take a pay cut to get us through these uncertain times.

“So, to receive such prestigious recognition for the highly skilled accomplishments of our people is a very welcome boost to morale for all of us. And, it’s particularly good news, of course, for our fast-growing High-Performance Automotive business unit, headed by James Setter, which led the implementation of the winning Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle transmission project.”

Xtrac won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for its development of an Integrated Lightweight Electric Vehicle gearbox range / Picture: Xtrac


Arrowsmith Engineering

The Coventry-based aerospace supplier that has pivoted to supply critical parts for ventilators received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.

Arrowsmith Engineering, which employs 76 people, secured the accolade after it recorded a 996% increase in export activity over the last three years, supplying precision components to global manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, GKN, ITP and Siemens.

The company’s parts are used in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames, with recent wins seeing sales rise to £7.6m and investment in the latest CNC robotics paving the way for 10% growth in 2020.

Bosses at the firm believe the Queen’s Award will play an important role in further expansion in Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.

Jason Aldridge, managing director at Arrowsmith Engineering, said: “This is the highest honour a company can achieve and is a fitting tribute to the strides we have made to become a global aerospace supplier. To be able to display the Queen’s Award logo on our letterhead, in marketing material and across all of our communication channels will be a massive boost to our business and will definitely generate new opportunities in overseas markets.

“Importantly, the award is a massive thank you to our staff, who continue to go above and beyond in meeting the exacting standards of the aerospace sector, and in recent weeks, the NHS ventilator push.”

Arrowsmith received the Queen’s Award for International Trade following a 996% increase in export activity over the last three years / Picture: Arrowsmith



The PCE GROUP has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020 for International Trade. As one of the largest manufacturers of automation solutions in the UK, The PCE GROUP of Companies operate across a vast spectrum of sectors from FMCG and industrial manufacturing, to the ocular and medical sectors. Its team in Suffolk and the Midlands, combine seamlessly in creating automation excellence, for its diverse range of customers.

The success in achieving this award underlines how the firm continues to disrupt new markets and territories and how it adapts to meet and overcome unique challenges for its customer community throughout the world. The strong innovative mindset is underpinned by a rich Research and Development background; delivering solutions that offer ultimate levels of speed, accuracy, and quality.

James Cook, managing director, said: “We are very proud of our team at the PCE GROUP and to have such strength in depth when it comes to a complete in-house offering, from mechanical, electrical & software design, to CNC manufacturing, we can offer all services project managed from within the group, contributing to greater results within shorter lead times for our customers. We also have a very strong sales and applications team for the formative stages of a project, who offer superb levels of customer service and an unwavering commitment to fulfilling and exceeding customer requirements; combining and researching the technologies to unlock ultimate levels of performance, efficiency and product quality”.

Steve Mortlock, quality manager, added: “Winning this award represents a tremendous personal achievement, but stands as an overall testament to our sustained investment in our people, our equipment and our infrastructure. These investments have helped us scale up at the right speed, at the right time, giving new and existing customers the confidence in our ability to meet their production demands. In turn this has opened new opportunities in new territories. We are a strong highly skilled team from project design to delivery who continue to push the boundaries of possibility and continue to strengthen our achievement of world-class, long-lasting solutions”.

PCE Group has also been awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade / Picture: PCE Group



British electric motor specialist Aeristech has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Innovation in recognition of its work to develop a series of increasingly advanced, high-speed electric motors to power e-superchargers and hydrogen fuel cell air-side compressors.

Based in Leamington Spa, where it recently relocated to new headquarters, the company has a growing portfolio of contracts with vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers bringing the benefits of its technology to market.

Aeristech’s unique technology allows higher performance from the company’s smaller, cooler-running motors, thus helping its customers to achieve higher performance from their own products and playing a significant role in the advancement of technologies to reduce vehicle emissions.

Richard Wall, Aeristech chief executive, said: “Over the past few years, Aeristech has developed and commercialised what we believe to be the most advanced, oil-free, high-speed electric motor systems available, and it is very gratifying to have this recognised by receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. I am very proud of our talented team and am delighted to have won this award. Our clients in the automotive industry, as with other sectors we operate in such as aviation, stationary power and industrial, are adopting our technology as part of their strategy to reduce emissions.”

Aeristech also won the in the Innovation category, in recognition of its work to develop a series of increasingly advanced, high-speed electric motors / Picture: Aeristech



A company that champions the use of its Biomaster antimicrobial technology to protect products from bacteria and viruses has completed a hat-trick of Queen’s Award for Enterprise wins.

Addmaster UK, a leading developer of performance-enhancing additives for the plastic, paper, textile, paints and coatings industry, has secured its first win in the Innovation category after using its technology to improve hygiene and preserve the environment by encouraging safer use of reusable products.

It is a perfect 20th birthday present for the Stafford-based business, which has again posted record sales from supplying hundreds of clients, including Dulux, Dyson and Marks and Spencer.

The award also recognises the firm’s contribution to eliminating plastic waste and improving public hygiene by creating a range of reusable plastics, including an antimicrobial coffee cup and its work with global retailers on creating the first antimicrobial ‘bag for life’ attracting specific attention.

Around 30 million bags have now been treated with Addmaster’s Biomaster technology, proven to inhibit the growth of bacteria and reducing the likelihood of contamination from repeated use.

Paul Morris, Addmaster founder & chief executive, said: “We are extremely honoured to have had our Biomaster antimicrobial technology recognised with another Queen’s Award for Enterprise. This prestigious accolade recognises our commitment to developing innovative solutions that are ahead of the curve and meet real life needs in healthcare, retail and industry.”

Addmaster secured its third Queen’s Award for Enterprise / Picture: Addmaster


Stainless Metalcraft, part of Avingtrans PLC’s Process Solutions and Rotating Equipment division, has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity.

The business, which was founded over 150 years ago, supplies components for performance-critical industries around the world, including medical technologies, oil & gas, nuclear, renewable energy, marine and big science. The award recognises Metalcraft’s commitment to increasing social mobility by providing pathways into long-term engineering careers for local people.

Its apprenticeship scheme has operated for over 100 years and was reinvigorated in 2010, since when it has launched the engineering careers of more than 30 young people and helped tackle an impending skills shortage by reducing the average age of the workforce from 54 to 44.

Austen Adams, managing director of Metalcraft, said: “I’m delighted for everyone that their hard work and commitment to creating opportunities for young people has been acknowledged through this award. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are known globally as a marker of quality and outstanding performance so recognition through the scheme provides a real fillip for everyone associated with the business.

“As a former apprentice myself, I’m passionate about creating accessible routes into this rewarding and varied industry and the success of the approach is being felt across the business, as a number of former apprentices move into leadership and management roles.”

While a lot of attention is rightly placed on Metalcraft’s apprenticeship programme, the award also recognises its commitment to raising aspirations, helping engineers to develop their careers, and work to increase diversity in the sector, as well as its commitment to giving back to the local community.

Metalcraft has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity by providing pathways into long-term engineering careers / Picture: Metalcraft


Nim’s Fruit Crisps

Transforming the snack market with a healthy ‘crisp’ alternative has seen Nim’s Fruit Crisps presented with its first ever Queen’s Award for Innovation.

The Kent-based firm, which employs 18 people at its bespoke A-Grade BRC accredited facility in Sittingbourne, joins an elite firm of businesses to receive this accolade after enjoying significant retail success with the UK’s only air-dried fruit and vegetable crisps and range of edible teas.

The company continues to tap into the demand for more health-conscious ‘food on the go’, investing another £100,000 into R&D in 2020 that will see it launch its first infusion slices for drinks within the next few weeks.

Nimisha Raja, founder of Nim’s Fruit Crisps, said: “We are absolutely gobsmacked that a small firm has been recognised with the biggest business award in the UK, maybe even the world.

“This Royal seal of approval is a massive boost to our growing brand and will give industry buyers and independent retailers even more confidence to select our products. We innovate, we create and importantly we have a track record of delivering.”

Nim’s Fruit Crisps has won its first ever Queen’s Award for Innovation / Picture: Nim’s Fruit Crisps


Drive System Design

British engineering specialist Drive System Design (DSD) has been presented with the Queen’s Award for International Trade. The success recognises the sustained growth achieved from its Leamington Spa headquarters – where it serves a growing portfolio of global vehicle manufacturer and Tier 1 supplier customers – and continued expansion overseas.

Mark Findlay, DSD managing director, said: “Drive System Design has worked strategically to expand its global reach, focusing on the future needs of the automotive industry and their customers, and evolving its capabilities to address the challenges arising in the rapidly changing industry.

“The Queen’s Award for International Trade is a wonderful reward for our team, who work tirelessly on innovative projects that help the advancement of automotive drivetrain development. I am delighted by this acknowledgement and extremely proud of everybody at DSD.”

Drive System Design was also recognised with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade / Picture: Drive System Design



Loadhog, the designer and manufacturer of innovative returnable packaging solutions and a pioneer in reducing the use of single-use plastic, has been presented with a Queen’s Award for International Trade.

In the last five years, the Sheffield–based manufacturer has invested significantly in new manufacturing capacity and tooling, gearing up for the global opportunities. Recently additions have been made to its suite of eleven injection moulding machines.

Turnover has increased 79% in the last three years, with exports up 181%. The company hit record export sales of £7.3m in 2018, assisted by the launch of new product ranges and targeting and entering developing markets.

Shaun Khan, Loadhog managing director, said: “This is an exceptional and notable award which is testament to the hard work by everyone who played a significant part in achieving this highly prestigious recognition – a huge ‘well done’ to all the team.

“We are now recognised as a business able to demonstrate outstanding leadership and, vision, successful performance against business planning, and an inspiration to other companies. I am confident that this great company will continue to flourish and challenge the industry to do more to reduce single-use resources.”

Loadhog has been presented with a Queen’s Award for International Trade / Picture: Loadhog


Leyland Trucks

Leyland Trucks, the Lancashire-based manufacturer of DAF trucks for the UK and overseas markets, has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020. The business-oriented accolade recognises Leyland Trucks’ outstanding success in the Awards’ International Trade category.

The state-of-the-art production facility has been producing the full range (LF, CF, and XF) of market-leading DAF commercial vehicles for 20 years. The lightweight LF range was entirely designed, developed and engineered at Leyland Trucks, while the factory is also home to a unique in-house body-building programme.

2019 saw DAF Trucks post its best-ever yearly performance figures in the UK, capturing just over 30% of the market above 6.0-tonnes GVW and bringing about 25 uninterrupted years as UK market leader. Leyland Trucks produced over 19,000 DAF vehicles last year for domestic and overseas markets, with vehicles exported to over 50 countries worldwide.

DAF Trucks UK Managing Director, Laurence Drake, said: “This is fantastic news for Leyland Trucks and its employees. World-class commercial vehicle design and manufacture is alive and well in Lancashire, as attested to by our customers who continue to place their trust in the DAF brand – thanks in no small part to the outstanding quality built into every single truck. This is an outstanding award to receive and is thoroughly deserved for the continual focus on quality and customer needs.”

Lancashire-based Leyland Trucks also won the Queen’s Award for International Trade / Picture: DAF Trucks


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