Tax advice helps Black Country engineering firm expand

CNC investment puts Cube in good shape to deliver new contract haul.

A leading Black Country manufacturing specialist is investing in a state-of-the-art multi-axis CNC milling centre to help it deliver £2 million of new orders.

Cube Precision Engineering, which can handle single op prototype tooling to complex multi-stage tooling suites, has spent £300,000 on a new MTE BF3200 that will boost capacity at its Rowley Regis facility and support development of low to medium volume work for clients involved in the automotive and aerospace sectors.

The company has used expert advice from accountancy firm Haines Watts to unlock R&D tax credits funding that has made the purchase of the new machine possible and is now planning on maximising the new capability to secure a record £5 million year.

Neil Clifton, who started the business with engineer Phil Bannister in 2009, commented: “It has been a real roller coaster of a year, with a very slow January and February leading into one of the busiest periods in our history. In a good way, the quieter months at the start of the year helped us focus on new opportunities and that is now starting to pay off.

“In the last six months, we have picked up over £2 million of new work and this is split across automotive and commercial vehicle (£1.7m) and aerospace (£300,000).”

He continued: “We knew the sudden growth would cause a few production bottlenecks and that is why we have invested in the new CNC milling machine. When the machine is installed, it will give us an additional 15% capacity, provide larger milling capability and, importantly, is faster than previous models so will reduce cycle times.”

Employing 42 people, Cube Precision Engineering can handle tooling of all sizes, boasting a lifting capacity to 35 tonnes and pressing capacity of 1000 tonnes.

The company provides prototyping, design, simulation, manufacturing and full inspection, giving high profile customers across aerospace, automotive, defence and rail a single-source solution for its complex tooling requirements.

As an owner-managed business, it turned to Haines Watts in 2016 to support its planned expansion, tapping into accountancy services and business advice to help it realise ambitious plans.

The relationship has developed rapidly over the last three years, with Cube Precision using the chartered accountant’s experts to create strategies on customer engagement, supplier management and boosting operational efficiencies.

More recently, Sophie Powell, who is part of the specialist R&D tax team, has transformed the way the company recoups valuable funding for its Research and Development activities, simplifying the process so that it can maximise its returns.

Neil continued: “We thought we were getting everything out of the system, but it wasn’t until Haines Watts got involved that we realised this wasn’t the case. Since then, we have received funding based on more than £1.7 million of R&D spend and this financial assistance has played a big part in making the investment in the MTE a simple one.

“There has been lots of ‘off the clock’ support, time spent with us on developing systems that make life easier around key accountancy dates and, importantly, giving us access to its Owner Managed Business Network where we have met some great future contacts.”

Andrew Jones, Partner at Haines Watts, added his support: “Cube Precision Engineering is a great example of how we can release the potential of the management team to do what they do best.

“R&D Tax Credits can be a complicated process, so our job was simple…understand the business, simplify the process and make sure the management team was getting the most back for their efforts to improve the business.

“We reviewed previous claims and identified additional qualifying projects that they could claim for and these have resulted in the company having more money available to purchase the MTE BF3200.”

He concluded: “This expansion will mean investment in the local supply chain and the creation of more local jobs.”