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Portsmouth: Formaplex continues rapid growth

By Dan Teuton
3 March 2020

Lightweight engineering specialist Formaplex has strengthened its Design Engineering Services (DES) division with the creation of a ‘Tooling Centre of Excellence’ as the company continues its programme of investment and growth.

Portsmouth-based Formaplex has a solid reputation as a partner in the aerospace and high-end automotive industries, for tooling and engineered lightweight components for companies such as Rolls Royce and Gordon Murray.

Established for almost 20 years on the south coast, the creation of a ‘Tooling Centre of Excellence’ is the latest step in Formaplex’s rapid expansion. Formaplex operates across four locations in and around Portsmouth and its production facilities have increased from 20,000 square feet in 2007 to 350,000 square feet today. Turnover has grown tenfold in that time - from £6 million in 2007 to £62m in 2019 and employee numbers have risen from 42 to over 600 in the same period.

Formaplex developed its reputation for excellence in the high-end automotive (supercars) and motorsport industries. The company now works across multiple sectors including aerospace, defence, medical, renewables and oil & gas.

The company’s specialist tooling teams and associated equipment are now together under one roof at its Cosham facility, where custom tools are assembled for global name customers, as well as supporting the tooling needs of the business. The move establishes a second centre of excellence for Formaplex, complementing the specialist machining facility at its Havant site.

It will allow enhanced quality control, improved production processes and a lighter carbon footprint for the business, which supplies to leading manufacturers across multiple sectors including aerospace, automotive, medical, defence and oil and gas sectors.

Adrian Chapman, managing director of DES, said: “This modern UK facility will support the comprehensive, integrated tooling solutions we provide and is illustrative of the confidence within Formaplex as we look to the future.


“We have grown from a successful automotive tooling business with a handful of employees, to a manufacturer of lightweight components for multiple industries and we now employ over 600 people across four advanced manufacturing facilities.

“A centralised bench assembly centre, continual investment in new equipment and a growing demand for lightweighting across industries put us in a very good place to strengthen our expertise and capabilities in multiple sectors.”

Formaplex has an established reputation as a ‘one-stop-shop’ supplier of advanced engineering design and manufacture.

The company specialises in the integration of carbon fibre, composite and polymer components across a range of sectors for weight reduction and strength at all stages, which means products can be more compact and more economical to run.

These lightweighting principles have applications for projects as diverse as a lighter weight robotic arm for surgical procedures, a giant super-efficient jet engine and satellite technology.

Chapman added: “Lightweighting is being recognised as the answer to design challenges across manufacturing, where lighter weights and lower carbon emissions are firmly part of the future.”

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