Engineering firm in Aston partnership wins prestigious manufacturing award


29 November 2012

A Staffordshire engineering firm working in partnership with Aston University has received a prestigious national award for its manufacturing excellence.

Accutronics Ltd, which develops and manufactures “smart” rechargeable batteries and chargers for medical, military and industrial sectors, has won the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Lombard Award for Innovations in Products and Processes.

The Stoke on Trent based company was described by judges as ‘an exemplar of how an agile small company (can) thrive against global competitors’, and deemed worthy of the Award.

Accutronics, established in September 2009, entered in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with Aston University, part-funded by the West Midlands European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), to help develop and implement an innovative continuous improvement programme. At its core are process improvements which are closely linked to customer requirements, from quality and flexibility to price control. Working alongside Aston engineering and business experts, the 60 strong company, which employs nine engineers, has been able to embed and develop its current and long-term operation strategies and processes to help diversify into different sectors. This has included reviewing and progressing its operational strategy, responsive and reconfigurable manufacturing, enterprise simulation and logistics and supply chain management. 

“From our UK base we export to customers in more than 30 countries, with 93 per cent of our revenue derived from these sales;” said Rob Philips, Managing Director of Accutronics.

“Understanding and responding to our customer needs has been a key element to our success. Working with Aston University we have implemented strong customer-focus alongside innovation at the very heart of our business. Our long-term strategy is to keep improving our customer services, lead times, our flexibility, our costs, our price control and quality of service.”

John Richards, Head of Business Development at Aston University said; “This is an excellent example of how university expertise can be harnessed to help companies to prosper in highly competitive national and international markets. We are extremely proud of the partnership we have developed with Accutronics Ltd and look forward to working with them further in the future.”

 Accutronics is now recognised as one of the world’s leading specialist suppliers of custom designed batteries and chargers and is able to compete successfully against much larger international companies for business in its smaller-volumes niche. Its products include medical battery products which power patient ventilators and diagnostic equipment, a credit card battery, and back up batteries to keep crucial IT systems working during unexpected power cuts.

In the past year alone the company has created 15 new jobs, and is looking to expand its workforce in the future.

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For  further information on this project and to discover more about working in partnership with Aston University contact the Business Partnership Unit on 0121 204 4242 or bpu@aston.ac.uk.