A Sheffield product design company has raised £500,000 from NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), to help expand its 3D print production service and target new markets.
AME Group designs products for many leading consumer brands including Jaguar, Vax, Hornby Railways and Harris Brushes. Its 3D print service was initially introduced to produce prototypes. However, following an initial £750,000 investment from NPIF last year, the company invested in new equipment and is now offering a low-volume production service with rapid turnaround times.
It currently produces components for clients in the aerospace, defence, and the luxury yacht market. The latest funding will enable it to broaden its product range and target new sectors, as well as meet the growing demand for its design services. AME Group was founded in 1998 by Ian Jones, who is Finance Director. It currently employs 28 staff and expects to create around 10 new jobs in the next two years.
Rich Proctor, the company’s CEO, said: “3D printing is catching on quickly as it enables companies to shorten lead times by manufacturing small batches in the UK, test new product ideas and respond rapidly to market trends.
“Many businesses are also looking to redesign their existing products to reduce cost or make them more sustainable. And overall, there is a greater appreciation of products and their ability to differentiate a company in the market, rather than relying solely on digital assets.”
Maurice Disasi of Mercia added: “AME Group is recognised as one of the leading product design specialists in the UK and it is now establishing itself as a specialist in 3D print production. This latest funding will enable it to meet growing demand for its services.”
Sean Hutchinson at the British Business Bank said: “We are pleased that the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is continuing to support high-growth businesses in the North, providing vital funding to aid companies like AME Group to meet market demands, and innovate their services. The development of AME Group’s production and their plans for product expansion is testament to the role NPIF plays in creating a more prosperous regional economy, through the businesses its funds invest into.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.