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Newbury: Progressive Technology joins forces with i2M

By Dan Teuton
14 September 2016

The merger of Newbury-based Progressive Technology and Birmingham’s Innovate 2 Make (i2M) has created a new manufacturing powerhouse in precision machining and metal 3D printing. The new business, Progressive Technology – Advanced Manufacturing, is targeting more than £2 million of additional sales in its first 12 months, with the possibility of ten new jobs being created.The deal creates an end-to-end supply solution for customers looking for low to medium volume production of complex components typically used in high performance environments. It offers a rare resource which will give Formula 1, aerospace, and medical clients the opportunity to have greater control of quality and reduced lead times when developing products that require both disciplines.

Ross Pinchin, managing director of Progressive Technology, said: “The merger is a natural progression of a working relationship which has been in place for a couple of years now. We have a number of shared customers who use us to manufacture parts for F1, with i2M providing the metal 3D printing expertise. By bringing the two firms together we’ve created what we believe to be the largest single-source full-service machining and metal 3D printing solution in the UK.”

Mike Kelly, director at Innovate 2 Make, commented: “When we first started talking about 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it is sometimes known, it was about replacing traditional manufacturing processes. That’s no longer the case, as on its own it just doesn’t meet what customers are asking for. Secondary operations such as CNC machining are still needed to give you the tolerance or finish you are after.”

Established in 1977 by Pinchin’ father, Progressive Technology has grown from a small toolmaking business into a critical supplier of components to Formula 1 teams, supplying 80% of the grid. Sales have risen to £6.8m in 2015 and are expected to reach £9m by the end of this year.

Innovate 2 Make, led by Mike Kelly and Ian Campbell, has transformed an industrial unit in Kings Norton into a metal 3D printing centre, supplying prototype and low-volume production capacity for aerospace, automotive, defence, F1 and medical sectors. It is one of the few businesses in the country to have access to two EOS M280 400 watt laser melting platforms, along with a full materials laboratory and inspection unit.

The new company has already taken measures to make inroads into the cycling sector, with Campbell leading on the launch of Mirada Performance Products, a spin-out company delivering design innovation and production grade components.

Mike Kelly (left) and Steve Shadwell