Aquapak has moved its production base at Hollymoor Point, Rubery

March 5, 2017



Aquapak Polymers, a sustainable plastics manufacturer, is relocating from Kings Norton to new 50,000 sq ft production base at Hollymoor Point, Rubery. Mike Everard, managing director of Aquapak Polymers, said, “This is a world-class facility that will see the creation of new jobs for Birmingham, as well as supporting the regeneration of the area and the wider goals for the Midlands region. (Below, under construction)


By the end of March it will have the capacity to expand production to 30,000 tonnes of plastic pellets with flexibility to further increase production as demand grows. The recent ‘new plastics economy’ report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation revealed the alarming statistic that, by 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in the world’s oceans by weight. That report called for “moon shot” innovations to make plastic packaging more closed-loop compatible.

aquapak_2construction15_lrgThe new building, due to be fully operational this month

Social Stock Exchange, which is dedicated to businesses and investors with a positive social and environmental impact, explains that Aquapak has developed a multi-purpose polymer for packaging which is 100% recyclable and 100% biodegradable (water soluble). It promises to revolutionise the world of plastic packaging and help to stop polluting the world’s oceans. The aim is eventually to switch, where possible, to a non-fossil (and therefore more sustainable) bio-feedstock, which “will ensure we complete the sustainability criteria.”

Aquapak’s product is used as a coating for paper, to toughen car windscreens and in detergent pouches, where it is flushed into the waste streams. If it gets into the oceans, it will sink, gradually soften and fall apart, to be safely eaten by the bugs in the ocean and sea-life, tackling the ever-increasing problem of plastic waste and the resulting marine and environmental contamination. Its website sets out five aims:

  • bringing multi-functional plastics into a circular economy,
  • producing a recyclable and biodegradable material, with
  • a high performance barrier, high mechanical strength, compatible with all end of life options
  • optimising food waste collections with an anaerobic digestion compatible polymer
  • improving waste systems used in healthcare.

Mike Everard, Managing Director of Aquapak, explains in another article: “ The British Coatings Federation estimates that 78 million plastic containers and 50 million metal tins are used for decorative paint each year.  With only a third of Household Waste Recycling Centres accepting waste paint, and by default containers, this results in the majority ending up in landfill sites, being incinerated or simply gathering dust in garages and sheds up and down the country. Aquapak offers a fully recyclable, flexible plastic pouch as an effective, affordable and sustainable alternative to traditional metal tins or plastic containers.”




Zaun, another successful West Midlands manufacturer

February 25, 2017


zaun-logo Zaun, which makes high security and perimeter systems steel fencing, has an extensive range of perimeter fencinghigh security fencingsports equipmentautomatic electric gatessecurity bollards and hostile vehicle mitigation products. It designs and provides equipment for homes, housing estates, business premises, commercial properties, parks, public space and the perimeter of play and sport areas.

The company was originally based in Rupert Street in Birmingham, importing mesh from Germany, but relocated to a larger five-acre site on Steel Drive in Wolverhampton and has 44 employees according to its Owler profile, though its Linked-in site says, confusingly, that it has 51-200.

After this move, it invested in the Paul Holloway Manufacturing Facility (named after a former employee). This now houses the world’s largest mesh weaving machine which produces the firm’s ArmaWeave, its most intruder-resistant product for the high security market. In 2016, Zaun bought a new tube laser cutter, a further mesh welding line and automated other key processes to enhance its manufacturing capabilities and cut out waste. Additional bailers and squashers have boosted recycling while a new forklift truck has improved materials handling.

  • 2012: Zaun was the largest supplier of temporary high security fencing systems to the London Olympics
  • 2013: it protected the top secret Bilderberg Conference at The Grove Hotel near Watford;
  • 2013: its equipment was used at the G8 Summit at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland;
  • 2014: it provided fencing for the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague
  • and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games,
  • 2015: Zaun was awarded the coveted Security Industry Product of the Year
  • 2015 Award from Security Industry E-Mag


Zaun celebrated its 20th anniversary in November 2016.





Walsall-based Albert Jagger decides to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability  

January 27, 2017

jagger_logoWalsall-based Albert Jagger is a large manufacturer and suppliers to the commercial vehicle bodybuilder, boat builder, agricultural and engineering industries in the UK.

It has consolidated its supply chain by acquiring Prestwood Engineering. one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. Prestwood employees are being retained and will join the100-strong workforce at Albert Jagger.

Prestwood, also based in Walsall, is one of the leading manufacturers of pressed components, welded assemblies and fabrications in the West Midlands. It specialises in low and medium volumes for the spare parts and after-market industries, supplying countries worldwide.


Corporate finance partner Andy Kay said: “The strategic thinking behind the deal was to bring in some ‘on shore’ manufacturing capability and was the result of a strategic review of the business we conducted with the directors.” Mr Kay was supported on the deal by CCW partner Johnathan Dudley and corporate finance manager Chasz Coulsting, who said:

“Albert Jagger have taken a long hard look at the events of 2016 and made the decision to bring some of their manufacturing closer to home. Prestwood Engineering was an ideal fit and provides both increased and varied capacity as well as economies of scale and distance.”

Thermotec news

December 12, 2016


Thermotec Plastics, based  in Electra Park, Witton, is a Birmingham-based plastic and composites manufacturer, ‘bespoke supplier’ of engineered solutions in vacuum forming/thermoforming, polyurethane mouldings and super lightweight composites, working in several sectors including luxury automotive, off-highway vehicles, aerospace and defence.

PRW, the leading trade magazine serving the UK polymer industry, reported last year that Thermotec had received major funding to help support its plans to develop and expand the business. The group received funding approval from Birmingham City Council from the Greenbridge Supply Chain Programme for SMEs which can give grants for business support packages, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Thermotec’s managing director David Rose said the funding would allow the business to target more business and recruit up to 11 new staff, to join the current workforce of 50 employees, adding:

thermotec-machine“Receiving this funding from The Greenbridge Programme, combined with our own investment will allow us to put automated processes in place that not only increase productivity, but allow us to improve the environmental impact of our activities”. In April 2016 Thermotec announced the addition of a seventh Vacuum Forming Machine to  to support increased demand and new contracts.

crank-trayIn May Thermotec introduced a new crank tray for Jaguar Land Rover From paper concept to product was a 10 week process; and the timeframe for changes could be shortened to 5 Weeks. The whole project, from design to tooling and manufacturing has been done within a 50 mile radius in the Midlands.  

In addition to the new recruits it is aiming to hire, Thermotec has taken steps to upskill its existing workforce with the help of Made in the Midlands members InTraining – a process about which no information has yet been found.




Will the new business tax accounting system for SMEs be more onerous and expensive?

November 19, 2016


Earlier this month Marco Forgione and other people running small and medium-sized businesses wrote to the Financial Times about a ‘flawed’ government consultation on significant changes to business tax reporting:

In just over a year’s time all businesses will be required to file accounts digitally five times a year (every quarter plus an annual final trading statement).

The government’s website on its proposals, Making Tax Digital, is worded positively:


The writers’ comment:

“For the first time in the UK’s history the government will prescribe the way in which all businesses file their accounts, using government approved software. This will require many micro, small and medium-sized businesses to invest in new accounting systems”.




Meriden-based StadiArena’s project in Ahmedabad

October 22, 2016

stadiarena-logoStadiArena’s unique technology was developed by StadiArena founder, managing partner, accountant and former professional footballer Paul Fletcher (below right) in 2004, before he set up the business in 2007.  It enables an outdoor sports stadium to be converted into a 47,000sq ft, 4,000 capacity, pillar-less, multi-purpose indoor arena that can host sports, concerts, exhibitions, conferences, trade shows and other events. This happens at the touch of a button; in six minutes, a partition wall is activated and the first 16 rows of seats are retracted, creating a covered space which can be used for exhibitions, concerts, conferences, film screenings, indoor sports and receptions.

stadi-paul-fletcherStadiArena’s website adds that the system incorporates a hurricane-proof, hoist fabric door, now known as a StadiDoor – a form of which is currently used across the world. Once closed (within 6 minutes), this specialised, lightweight door transforms a stand into a fully enclosed permanent arena environment, creating a venue for numerous sporting and cultural events, increasing the usability and financial viability of the stadium. By simply retracting the door (within 6 minutes), the stadium returns to its core sporting use.

The StadiArena system means that irrespective of the stadium’s core sport, it can generate income that isn’t linked to a particular team’s performance and deliver valuable ‘legacy’ and community facilities. 

In 2014, Business Desk reported, “StadiArena is helping with the construction of the world’s first purpose-built, indoor/ outdoor 25,000 capacity stadium”. It had won a £4m contract to work on the project in the Gujarat province of India in 2009 after the Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister of India, championed the project. Work had begun in spring, with the installation of the structure’s steel frame.


And Business Desk, reporting on the opening of the stadium, notes that this concludes seven years of work, which began with signing a multiple licence agreement with TransStadia. It quotes the words of Ian Stokes, managing director of StadiArena, “It’s taken a long time but we are absolutely thrilled that the Ahmedabad stadium is now open and hosting its first major sporting event. At 47,000sq ft, it is the largest open space arena in India and will also become the best football stadium in India”.

StadiArena’s press release relates that on Friday 7th October 2016, the Ahmedabad stadium officially opened and hosted the Kabbadi World Cup (7th-22nd Oct), broadcast by Star Sports to 125 countries.




People from these countries visited the site this week

October 19, 2016