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Grant funding helps Coventry business punch above its weight

An independent family business in Coventry will be punching above its weight after investing a six-figure sum in a state-of-the-art machine thanks to new funding.

MPL Fabrications in Dutton Road on the Aldermans Green Industrial Estate has been operating for over 40 years as specialists in precision sheet metal work and welding in a variety of industries including rail, electronics, defence, automotive and healthcare.

With its CNC Punching Machine over 30 years old and starting to experience numerous mechanical problems, managing director Kevin Duffy was advised by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to contact the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to find out about grant funding.

CWLEP Growth Hub account manager Justine Chadwick put Kevin in touch with Coventry City Council’s Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. MPL Fabrications successfully received a £40,000 grant towards a new CNC machine, which has now been installed and is up-and-running.

MPL Fabrications invested £108,000 towards buying the machine along with its software and tooling.

Kevin, who joined the business 18 months ago, said three new jobs will be created over the next 12 months to add to its 15-strong workforce.

He said: “The CNC Punching Machine had started to develop quite a lot of faults because of its age last year. It was starting to leak oil, the repair work which needed doing was quite expensive and spare parts were getting harder and harder to source, and the software was also quite old.

“We made the decision that we needed to invest in a new machine because 80 per cent of our work goes through it. The Chamber has always been helpful and they advised me of the grant process so I contacted the Growth Hub.

“The new machine will give us flexibility and speed up our work by being able to fold more quickly with the tooling we have so we can bid for new contracts that we couldn’t previously have been able to.

“Our customers are based all over the UK and in the past, we have had to outsource some of the work which the machine couldn’t do but now we have been able to bring that in-house and shorten our deadlines.

“It is important to compete technologically with your competitors otherwise customers may go elsewhere and we will also be adding a welder, fabricator and administration staff to support forecast sales growth during the next year.

“The support from the Growth Hub and Coventry City Council was very practical and they helped me through the application process which wasn’t too onerous.”

Justine Chadwick, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, said the purchase of the new CNC machine meant MPL Fabrications will keep up with changes to technology and will be an opportunity to expand the business.

She said: “MPL Fabrications has a history of excellent results by supplying a variety of industries with light steel and aluminium fabrication.

“This investment means the business can carry out more in-house work and improve lead times which will benefit their customers.

“All this means there is an opportunity to win new contracts to meet existing and new customers’ demands which will, in turn, secure the future of the business and create skills and employment for the region.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council, said: “It is great that we have been able to support a long-established local business with this grant. It will help them to secure and create jobs which is what it’s all about.

“This is a wonderful example of how our business support funding can not only provide help with business growth but also help with reducing out-sourcing to improve customer lead times.

“Coventry is full of innovative small to medium sized businesses that just need that extra bit of support to secure their future aspirations, creating local skills and employment for the region.”

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From left to right: Kevin Duffy, managing director of MPL, Justine Chadwick, account manager at the CWLEP Growth Hub, Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change at Coventry City Council and Denise Osborne, Business Development Advisor at Coventry City Council

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