Acquisition creates the UK’s largest independent automation control supplier

Autotech Controls Ltd has purchased Igranic Control Systems Ltd and PSJ Fabrications Ltd to form Automated Technology Group (ATG) Ltd, though to be the largest independent automation control company in the country.

The acquisition brings together expertise and experience in diverse market sectors to form a group with a combined turnover of around £30 million. Commented Andy Robinson, Managing Director of Autotech and CEO of the new group, “This deal opens new markets for each of the three group companies, offering the potential for greater success through co-operation to increase market share and secure economies of scale.”

Serving major brands
The client base of the newly formed ATG is impressive. Designing and implementing controls for automated production and logistics systems, Autotech’s customers include major brands such as ABB, BAE Systems, BAA, Bentley, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark, Pirelli, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Walkers Snack Foods. The market profiles and product ranges of Igranic and PSJ form a neat fit with Autotech. Synonymous for many years with medium- and high-voltage control systems, Igranic also serves many blue-chip brands including British Sugar, Hanson Cement, Scottish Power, Tata Steel and Thames Water. PSJ, meanwhile, specialises in the manufacture of high-quality cabinets and other fabrications in sheet metal, listing the USAF, the Ministry of Defence and the Natural History Museum among its clients.

Growth target
Said Andy Robinson, “Although ATG’s solutions are largely invisible to the general public, they are key to the operational success of many of the world’s best-known brands. Using our combined strength, we are determined to grow our market share across the wide range of industries in which we are now active ­– including automotive, logistics, airports, food & beverage, metals, utilities, oil & gas, mining & aggregates and power generation.” Automated Technology Group employs over 200 people across its four sites in Silsoe, Bedford and Birmingham is looking to recruit more engineers in order to achieve its growth targets. “We need many more personnel,” admitted Andy Robinson, “so we are keen to hear from highly skilled and motivated people and we’ve also launched our own apprenticeship scheme – the Autotech Academy – with the aim of taking on some 20 apprentices before the end of the year.”

Virtual manufacturing
A key area of growth for ATG will be virtual manufacturing services, whereby clients planning new or modified automated production systems can have their proposals comprehensively proven before the new systems are built and installed. Having invested over £1 million in dedicated software, hardware and simulation expertise, ATG is the UK’s leading supplier of virtual manufacturing services. “The ability to prove, say, a robotic work-cell before it is delivered to the factory floor of a leading car maker,” explained Andy Robinson, “is absolutely invaluable because it reduces risk, improves production quality, eradicates costly design errors and accelerates time-to-market for new models. Using our experience in the automotive industry, we will be looking to apply our virtual manufacturing expertise across our diverse client base.”

ATG launches Autotech Academy to bridge skills gap with engineering apprenticeship

Automated Technology Group (ATG) Ltd – thought to be the UK’s largest independent automation control company, with a turnover of around £30m – has launched its own apprenticeship scheme to meet its burgeoning need for qualified employees.

The Autotech Academy will provide skilled and qualified engineers for ATG – comprising Autotech Controls Ltd, Igranic Control Systems Ltd and PSJ Fabrications Ltd – in order to meet demand for the group’s expertise from blue-chip clients in the automotive, logistics, airports, food & beverage, metals, utilities, oil & gas, mining & aggregates and power generation industries.

Explained Andy Robinson, CEO of ATG, “With the current manufacturing boom in the UK, we simply cannot recruit sufficient staff of the right calibre through the traditional channels, so we have expanded our previous informal training programmes into a structured academy in order to fast-track both school leavers and graduates. We’re aiming to take on some 20 apprentices before the end of this year. We will gain engineers to allow our business to continue its expansion and future success,” he continued, “and the young people will gain nationally recognised qualifications and transferable skills, while earning a proper salary. It’s a win-win solution.”

Semta-approved training
The Advanced Apprenticeships, Higher Apprenticeships and Graduate Programme offered by the Autotech Academy are being delivered in association with Semta, the government-licensed Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies. Through a combination of on-the-job training and technical learning, apprentices will acquire the skills, knowledge and confidence required for a successful career in engineering. They will gain experience in technical activities – from electrical wiring and welding through to robotic and computer programming – as well as various administration functions in order to get an all-round understanding of a modern industrial business.

Excellent prospects
The career prospects for successful apprentices are very positive. Explained Nick Rance, Human Resources Development Manager for ATG, “With the government’s agenda firmly focused on building engineering skills, this is a great time for young people to join this thriving sector. What’s more, with some of the learning content specific to the business needs of ATG and there being significant input from mentors within the company who have specialist industrial experience – for example, in robotics – apprentices will be in an excellent position to continue their career within the group on completion of their chosen pathway.”

Grass-roots experience
Based in Silsoe, Bedford and Birmingham, ATG currently employs over 200 staff with a diverse skill base including welding and fabrication; CNC operation; electrical assembly and installation; electrical and mechanical design and engineering; software and robot programming; and administration. Concluded Andy Robinson, ATG’s CEO, “I began my own career as an apprentice, so I know the true value of grass-roots, on-the-job training. In my view, it’s the best possible platform for a career in engineering or management.”

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