Oct 25, 2016 | By Alec

It looks like post-Brexit uncertainty doesn’t affect Runcorn-based 3D printable metal powder developer LPW Technology at all. The company, which recently received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, is ready to expand their business with a £20 million investment (approximately $24 million USD). As part of that plan, they will also be setting up a center of excellence in the Liverpool region, creating 120 new jobs by 2018.

It’s an investment plan that underlines the success of LPW Technology and its CEO dr. Phil Carroll, who have been strongly benefitting from the rapidly growing international 3D printing industry. And yet this £20 million plan is the largest single investment made in metal 3D printing within the UK to date, so it also sends a strong signal about the future expectations of LPW Technology.

But at the same time, the company has the figures to easily justify this expansion – especially from their overseas sales. In fact, LPW Technology has seen exports leap by over 300 percent over the last three years, now forming 70 percent of their total sales of £11.5m. The company has clearly come a long way since launching on the kitchen table of Dr Carroll, a metallurgist and engineer, in 2007. Over the past few years, the company has also moved locations twice to cope with their high-paced growth, and now employs over 70 skilled staff members.

LPW Technology now considers itself one of the world’s market leaders as well, and has a distribution network that reaches every continent. Their powders are being used for everything from 3D printed aerospace turbine components and Formula 1 engine parts, to hip implants. They reached number 51 in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100, while their Queen’s Award also speaks volumes about the state of the company. “Such a prestigious award reflects the skill and dedication of all our staff in growing a sustainable technical company working alongside aerospace and medical device industries where quality and traceability are paramount,” Dr Carroll said. “We have been first to market in this developing industry. With our ambitious growth plans and the support of our amazing staff we now aim to be a truly great engineering company.”

To now take the company to the next level, the CEO revealed that they need to create a viable innovation climate in the Liverpool region – where they are located. “We will need the support of all the people in the Merseyside area to make this a success – without a skilled workforce we would be nothing,” he said.

Carroll receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

The forthcoming center of excellence will be an integral part of that process, while the company will also strengthen their connections with local universities through various apprenticeships. “Our new facility will ensure the North West is at the forefront of materials for this new and exciting industry by exporting our products worldwide,” the CEO said.

Local government leaders and education experts welcome these plans for a £20 million investment. “This is fantastic news for Halton,” said Halton Borough Council leader Rob Polhill. “Manufacturing growth is key to the region’s economic success and LPW is investing expertise in developing technologies to bring more business to the North West and create tremendous job opportunities in the growing and exciting field of 3D printing technology. We are proud that a globally respected company is based here in the borough, employing local residents and proving what an excellent advanced manufacturing sector we have here.”

These sentiments were echoed by Jayne Smith of the Riverside College, one of the educational institutes that already has six active apprenticeships at LPW. “Jayne Smith, Riverside College head of skills and enterprise, said: “We are proud to have supported LPW with the development of their apprenticeship programs and collaborate with LPW to innovate our curriculum content in order to reflect the high level skills needs in additive manufacturing,” she said. “All of our students who secured places on LPW’s apprenticeship program have gained confidence and experience, as they learn new and valuable workplace skills with an outstanding global market leader based here in Halton.”

Paul Stowers, regional deputy director of the Department For International Trade, also sees lots of innovation opportunities in this part of the UK. “Over the coming years prosperity in the North West will not stem from domestic markets alone, and companies such as LPW contribute significantly to increasing GDP and benefitting the region and the UK as a whole,” he said. “We want to make sure that firms are not just trading abroad but thriving there, and the inspirational progress that LPW Technology has made in recent years makes it a worthy winner.” It looks like the Liverpool region could become a key player in the metal 3D printing industry in the near future.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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mick wrote at 10/25/2016 5:27:08 PM:

yeah but how many jobs "machinist" with it end?

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