A business providing spares, repairs and servicing for woodworking machines is set for major expansion after winning global contracts.
Advanced Machinery Services (AMS) specialises in revamping industrial machines, including those made by historic Leicester manufacturer Wadkin.
The business also sells new and refurbished machines and has clients ranging from national wood merchants to boat builders, prisons and production companies.
Some of the machinery can process one metre of timber a second and cost £140,000.
Directors Steve McGloin and Steve Foster are also branching out into industrial training to NVQ level 5 – providing clients with a “value added service” in areas such as forklift truck driving, health and safety, lorry loading and working at height.
The training will be offered at their premises in Skeffington, on the A47 east of Leicester, in partnership with wood machine training company Didac, of Bristol.
Mr McGloin and Mr Foster expect the firm’s turnover to grow from £1.8 million this financial year to £2 million next year, after seeing year-on-year growth through the recession of around 20 per cent.
The company now has 19 staff and hopes to take on another four or five in the coming year, including apprentices.
To cope with growing demand, the business is expanding into a new 10,000 sq ft unit next to its current 25,000 sq ft premises.
Mr McGloin and Mr Foster were directors at Wadkin, in Green Lane Road, Leicester, before deciding to go it alone in 2007 – two years before Wadkin went under.
They went on to buy the intellectual property rights to Wadkin’s woodworking machines built in Leicester, which date back decades, and now have spare parts made in Italy.
At its peak, Wadkin, founded in 1897, employed hundreds of engineers, with distributors around the world including North America, South East Asia and Australasia. In its 1960s heyday, the firm employed 1,400 staff in Leicester.
Wadkin has about 60,000 woodworking machines operating in the UK alone, and AMS gets daily e-mail requests for help from around the world.
Mr McGloin said: “Wadkin was jumping from one financial crisis to another and we thought we could do better.
“They finally closed in 2009 and we ended up buying the intellectual property rights and stock from the receiver and that was a massive foundation for the business.
“We started picking up some nice jobs and good contracts, including a key national merchants with 74 branches.
“We’ve got contracts with 16 prisons – including on the Isle of Wight, Broadmoor Hospital and Gartree – as well as Harrods, the V&A, Royal School of Ballet, the RSC, even McLaren cars and EastEnders.”
On its sales side, AMS imports computer-controlled woodworking machines from manufacturers in the Czech Republic, Taiwan and China and, more recently, Turkey.
Mr Foster said: “Although we set up the business to provide spares and servicing, UK manufacturing is so busy that we started bringing in machines from overseas.
“We redesigned our website last year and the new factory and showroom will open next.
“We’re also going to add value to the training we already provide to clients.
“Customers were asking us for help with things such as forklift driving and asbestos awareness and we realised we were missing a trick so we decided to go for accreditation.”