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Photo etching specialist achieves impressive milestones

Published: 16 February 2017 - Sarah Mead

Over the last 50 years, the precision engineering landscape has been characterised by innovation, a focus on increased efficiency, and the ability to manufacture smaller, more complex components accurately, repeatably and cost effectively.

In order to achieve these attributes, design engineers have had to think outside the box, employing ‘new’ technologies such as photo etching, a metal machining process which produces the feature-rich, small, and extremely precise metal components that traditional machining technologies cannot.

Today, you will come into contact with photo etching in the cars you drive, the aeroplanes you fly in, at your doctor’s surgery, in hospitals, and in applications as diverse as heat exchangers, fuel cells, and even in satellites where the technology successfully produces safety critical components for use in perhaps the most exacting of environments, space!

Birmingham-based Precision Micro is one of the world’s leading photo etching companies and has been at the cutting edge of the technology for more than a century. This year it celebrates 10 years at its purpose built production facility based in Erdington, located next door to the hugely impressive home of Jaguar Land Rover, just one of the numerous world famous OEMs that use Precision Micro’s skills.

Commercial Director Mick Taylor picks up the story of Precision Micro’s success. “Our purpose-built facility was designed to deliver monthly sales of £1 million, something that we have been working towards since 2007. It is fitting that our ten year anniversary coincides exactly with the achievement of this goal, 2016 seeing Precision Micro exceed the £12 million threshold.”

Since opening its purpose built facility, the company has seen the establishment of sales offices in the Netherlands and Germany, significant growth markets, but perhaps of most importance was when the company was acquired by global engineering group Meggitt in 2012.

At the time of acquisition, Meggitt was a customer of Precision Micro and used photo etching to manufacture extreme environment components for its aerospace, military, and energy products.

While Precision Micro is owned by Meggitt, it remains an autonomous business in its own right but has benefitted hugely from the financial muscle the backing of a global PLC can bring. Investment in capital equipment, research and development, and the nurturing of skills in the Erdington production facility has seen the company go from strength to strength in recent years.

Mick Taylor continues “Just ten years after our custom-built facility was opened, Precision Micro has to plan for expansion to accommodate the demand from its customers. Turnover has increased from £5 million per annum in 2007 to £12 million today, and projections suggest that the company will hit £20 million in 2020. There is an aggressive and sustained plan for investment in the technologies that will ensure that Precision Micro remains the number one photo etching specialist in Europe.”

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