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TMCNet:  Bosses bullish about 2013 as they bid to put tough times behind them ; Manufacturing and technology [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]

[January 02, 2013]

Bosses bullish about 2013 as they bid to put tough times behind them ; Manufacturing and technology [Derby Evening Telegraph (England)]

(Derby Evening Telegraph (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) 1 COLLIS ENGINEERING The Olympics and Jubilee celebrations meant that work upgrading railways was shunted to a siding in 2012.

That hit Alfreton firm Collis Engineering hard but it is bouncing back in 2013 with innovative new products.

Managing director Peter Roberts said: "We're quite optimistic because this ought to be a good year. Our lightweight signal post is half the price of a traditional one and could save Network Rail a lot of money." 2 ELEY METROLOGY Investment in young people is essential to the future of high-tech manufacturing, according to Jeff Eley, chairman of precision measuring equipment developer Eley Metrology.



He said: "The last 12 months have seen our government make efforts in 'planting seeds' that will lead to 'green shoots' in years to come.

"The colleges, through Government initiatives, are vigorously promoting manufacturing qualifications in a real attempt to pull back from the financial abyss that has been created. "What two decades have removed will not be replaced over night.

"However, the natural inventiveness of the British people will once again have a chance to come to the fore and the Government must be bold enough to back the nation in generating real honest wealth." 3 MRX TECHNOLOGIES The Pride Park rail firm, specialising in monitoring equipment for rolling stock, is preparing for an upturn in business.

Business development manager Barry Winchurch said: "The future looks good for us. We have expanded our offices and now employ 16 people, the bulk of whom are design and development engineers. "Things will be steady over the next 12 months but we think that, come early 2014, we will be very busy with Thameslink and Crossrail projects." 4 SILVERPRIDE 2013 will be the year that mobile applications for businesses hit the mainstream - so thinks Benjamin Benn, director at Raynesway software firm Silver Pride.

He said: "On reviewing how leading companies have invested in their online activities throughout the past year, you will see more and more businesses in Derbyshire will be promoting their services and products through some form of mobile technology.

"A custom-built mobile app allows your business to engage with a much wider audience and can also integrate suppliers and clients with your internal systems." 5 DENNIS MOWERS The mower firm's parent company, Howardson, which also operates grounds maintenance equipment manufacturer Sysis, has just enjoyed its best-ever year.

Managing director Ian Howard said: "We are 9% up on where we were last year and I'm very pleased with what we've achieved.

"We're very positive about the future and are planning to invest Pounds 500,000 on manufacturing machinery this year." 6 SANDVIK The Swadlincote manufacturer of rock-crushing and screening machinery is predicting a slow start to the year.

Managing director Duncan McGregor said: "A tough first quarter is expected but the picture will improve during the rest of year. The domestic market remains OK.

"Northern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, the Americas and Far East will provide growth while South Europe will not recover in 2013. Finance is quite a risk." 7 FLASH JORDAN Fresh back from a factfinding mission to China, the Derby jewellery firm is keen to expand.

Co-owner Neil Jordan said: "With the UK jewellery industry still struggling, Flash Jordan and Britton Bespoke will look to build on our visit to China, the internet and other overseas markets. "The year begins with the launch of a new range of cufflinks at the Jewellery Show at the NEC, a collaboration with Derby-based Subism and several renowned street artists. "From then on it will all be about marketing, brand building and looking east." 8 RAIL VEHICLE ENGINEERING LIMITED The London Road rail engineering firm that specialises in refurbishing rolling stock is bullish about 2013.

A spokesman said: "Our expansion plans include improvements to our premises that will create a significant number of jobs." The company, alongside its landlord, is applying for cash from the Derby Enterprise Growth Fund to help accelerate growth.

9 TEAM TELECOM GROUP The radio telecommunications firm, based in Uttoxeter Old Road, is expecting great things with the launch of the Simoco Xd product, designed and developed in Derby.

Mike Norfield, chief executive officer, said: "We anticipate that the technology will open up new markets for us in Australia, the Americas and Central and Eastern Europe.

"We're also going to continue to invest in core engineering skills in Derby and put more emphasis on integrated communications by bringing together radio, wireless and mobile technologies through the Affini Group.

"Our telecoms support company, Indigo, will also continue to be heavily involved in the 4G roll-out programme for mobile operators." 10 DAVIS DERBY Mine safety and monitoring equipment firm Davis Derby is predicting a difficult start to the year.

The business is dependent on expanding markets as well as the price of coal, oil and gas.

Managing director Gerry Beetles said: "We have a presence in Russia and Kazakhstan where we are not seeing much investment.

"Mining in the UK continues to diminish and those mines that remain open are closing.

"It's looking like a fairly bleak first quarter which is the only one we can see with any detail but we do have plenty of determination." 11 LUBRIZOL Owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate, the Hazelwood research and development centre of Lubrizol is developing its links with the Far East.

Director Phil Shore said: "There are plans to keep investing in the site here in Derbyshire and we will be working hard to support the development of the huge plant we are building in China." 12 LIGHTSPEED DERBY 2013 will not be a year for the superstitious, the illprepared, or the timid, believes Graham Bennett, chairman of Lightspeed Derby, an organisation working to improve the city's internet connectivity. Mr Bennett said: "It will be the year when Derby's innovators and entrepreneurs start to shine.

"It will be the year when long-made plans will start to reveal themselves and will also be the year when those who are frustrated with current connectivity solutions will start to exploit gaps in the market for their own commercial benefit and for the benefit of Derby's businesses and citizens." 13 GREENBANK A trio of gongs at the Derbyshire's Best Business Awards was the highlight for engineering firm Greenbank last year.

In 2013, it is hoped that development work on new products for the power generation industry will pay dividends. Managing director Charles Conroy said: "We have been quoting for a lot of work so sales should pick up in the first quarter and things in China are starting to bubble.

"There will be peaks and troughs so if business goes really well some fabrication work could be subcontracted." 14 EXALTO The Derby bearings and pump manufacturer found 2012 tougher than 2011 but is in a good position to grow this year.

General manager Dennis Rawle said: "The UK has been OK but the Eurozone has been difficult.

"We have had our bearings approved for the water industry which is good news and we will concentrate on our pump business because that is more profitable." 15 TECQUIPMENT The designer and manufacturer of equipment to train engineers will grow in 2013 and is involved in a recruitment drive.

Managing director Simon Woods said: "We are busy with quite a large order book.

"The issue for us is finding the capacity to carry out all of the work in-house. When we reach capacity here then the problem is finding good subcontractors." 16 PEKTRON Turnover at vehicle electronics firm Pektron hit a record high of Pounds 35m in 2012 and the company ploughed back Pounds 5m into machinery and an IT system.

Operations director John Potts said: "The company is still experiencing strong growth and we plan to recruit more people and invest in more machinery.

"This is one of the bestequipped electronics companies in Europe and we have to invest continually to stay at the cutting edge." 17 EVE OF ST AGNES The skin-care product manufacturer is hoping to make big strides in 2013.

Owner Emma Heywood said: "Last year was tough but hopefully the worst is over and people will have more confidence to spend so I'm positive.

"The key is to get finance in place so that I can fulfil the potential of my business and start to see some growth." 18 AIGIS Delayed decisions on spending have frustrated blast protection engineering firm Aigis in the last year but better results are expected in 2013.

Managing director David Christian said: "Once the holiday period is out of the way, then we might have a flurry of activity because people can't delay decisions for ever." The company specialises in equipment that protects people from explosions. This year, it has had success with a pear-shaped containment unit used by bomb-disposal personnel, allowing them to carry detonators with minimal risk of injury.

CONTINUED, PAGES 4&5 (c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.

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