Formed in 2008 with ten original companies specialising in the aerospace industry, the Coventry and Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF) has recently taken on three new members – Bodycote (Coventry) Ltd, JJ Churchill and Harris RMS.
The cluster now boasts a turnover in excess of £100m and saw turnover grow by 15% last year. 2013 is expected to see growth of over £20m, with the possibility of creating 50 new jobs.
Notable achievements within the cluster include JJ Churchill’s completion of its new 38,000 sq ft aerospace facility in Mexico, Powerkut’s relocation to a new larger facility in Bayton Road and ten of the thirteen firms now operating extra shifts to accommodate growth.
Jason Aldridge, Managing director of Arrowsmith Engineering and present Chairman of the CWAF, said: “The group, as a whole, has invested heavily over the last five years and every company is now a strategic supplier to global aerospace companies. One such example is Precision Laser Processing, who has invested £1 million this year in a 5-axis laser with twin pallets, rotary axis and Renishaw probe system.”
Located in Coventry and Warwickshire, the cluster is surrounded by a good local supply of engineers due to the area’s historical aerospace heritage.
This has been bolstered by the newly opened Manufacturing Technology Centre at Ansty, the relocation of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance to Coventry and the strengths of Coventry University, Warwick University and Warwick Manufacturing Group.
Major companies are local – with Rolls-Royce and Meggitt within the region – and Moog, AEC, UTAS and GE all within 25 miles, enforcing the area as a supply chain “hot spot”.
The CWAF is believed to be the most mature aerospace cluster in the Midlands. This is of particular benefit to original equipment manufacturers as the cluster provides accredited back up to each company within the group and in turn provides “continuity” to the supply chain.