Award-winning business ALM Engineering Solutions is reaping the benefits of investing £160,000 in a new machine already, with new work in oil and gas sectors pouring through its doors.
The company, based on Aycliffe Business Park, County Durham, has just completed two big contracts for two Aberdeen-based firms in the oil industry.
ALM has been producing steel billets and valve bodies for clients in two deals worth a combined £60,000, and boss Tony Thompson is hoping it’ll lead to more work.
And in a separate contract the Aycliffe engineers, which has 35 staff and an annual turnover of £3m, has been producing intricate flow bodies – 17-4 grade stainless steel components which enables oil to flow through tooling systems.
“We’ve invested heavily in state-of-the-art machinery in the last year which is enabling us to explore these markets and take on the work,” said managing director Tony Thompson.
“The oil and gas sector is obviously a growth market and we’re tapping into that as well as working on what I’d call our run-of-the-mill stuff.
“But it’s an exciting time for the company. We’re picking up new orders almost every week, with the prospect of more in the pipeline, and that means we’re looking to take on more skilled staff.
“We’re looking for two new CNC turners to help us cope with the workload.”
ALM used to specialise in manufacturing and supplying hardware and systems for cubicles and lockers, but in 2008 the company set up ALM Engineering Solutions, tapping into several sectors including the oil and gas, aerospace, nuclear and automotive industries.
Named Durham and Wearside Manufacturing Company of the Year in 2013, ALM Solutions produce components from a wide range of materials including stainless steel, exotic alloys, titanium, inconel, copper and engineering plastics.
Since August last year £200,000 has been spent on machinery, including a £160,000 lathe which is processing the firm’s new components.
Tony stared the business in 1994 and was originally based at South Church in Bishop Auckland, but relocated to Aycliffe Business Park in 1999.
He has already set out an ambitious growth plan which will see turnover jump to £5m by next year.
But despite taking on five new staff this year, including new quality engineer Trevor Wright (pictured above), the skills shortage remains a problem.
“Recruiting skilled people has been a problem for a while and we’re still faced with it, as is everyone else,” added Tony.
“These latest contracts demonstrate our ability to take this kind of work on, but we need more staff to accommodate that workload.
“It’s frustrating, but we’re always looking at innovative ways to attract skilled people to the area and hopefully the potential of working on challenging projects like this will be an attraction to ambitious engineers.”