Automotive display makers on fast track after securing contracts with McLaren, Porsche and Bentley
- Credit: New Anglia LEP
A plastics manufacturer is moving into the fast lane after securing contracts with luxury car makers worth €5m.
Panel Graphic has been approached by the likes of Bentley Motors, Porsche and McLaren Automotive to supply their operations in the UK and Europe and will be forming an automotive display division this year to handle the contracts.
The Loddon firm was recently awarded a £45,000 grant which went towards building five new industrial units – doubling the size of its factory – and the purchase of two new computer numeric control (CNC) cutting machines.
The money, awarded by the New Anglia LEP's Growing Business Fund, helped Panel Graphic fulfil a contracts brief clause from the luxury carmakers to invest in new production methods and have a dedicated space for the manufacture of their components.
Managing director Steve Earl said the company has taken on five new staff in the last two months and will be employing another five during the spring.
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He said: 'This is a big achievement for a family firm.
'We noticed a couple of years ago that the automotive display industry was picking up and we needed more industrial space.
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'The contracts have kept coming in over the past 18 months, to the extent that we are running double shifts.
'It is quite an exciting time for the company. We are now restructuring the business around an automotive display vision.'
Mr Earl said with the new CNC machines – state-of-the-art technology costing £125,000 each – the company is able to manufacture automotive displays to the precise standards of luxury carmakers.
It is now supplying the display screens for all McLaren road cars and is working on an interactive screen for Porsche.
He added: 'The growth of this new business enables us to be fully acknowledged in this high-technology marketplace.'
New Anglia Growth Hub adviser Glen Moore, who supported the grant application, said: 'It is fantastic to see a cutting-edge local manufacturer winning contracts on a global scale, creating wealth and local employment opportunities.
'It was clear early on that the company would be a great candidate to receive grant support and enable this project to commence.'