LEW Techniques, the Taunton-based expert in bespoke, high-precision miniature component manufacturing for specialist high-technology applications, has won a second Queen’s Award for Enterprise ‑ the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
Following the company’s 2016 award, which recognised growth and commercial success in international business, LEW Techniques’ exports have continued to accelerate thanks to strong demand in telecommunications and other major industrial markets. Exports now represent close to 90% of the Somerset company’s turnover, and the 2018 Queen’s Award recognises this further outstanding growth in international trade.
“Since we were honoured in 2016 we have continued to grow significantly, doubling our turnover mainly by increasing our overseas sales, which have risen more than 250%,” said Andrew Walker, Technical Director at LEW Techniques.
The latest period of growth has also seen LEW Techniques create more jobs, with the company’s workforce expanding by more than 30% in two years.
Founded in 1966, LEW Techniques specialises in the manufacture of bespoke miniature mechanical ceramic and metal components. Developed through close collaboration with customers, they are mainly used to mount semiconductor diode devices that are typically smaller than a grain of rice ‑ predominantly lasers, photodetectors and microwave radar sources.
While recent growth has been driven by the telecommunications sector primarily, LEW Techniques has enjoyed a strong upturn across all key customer sectors, including commercial optronics, defence, automotive as well as some novel applications.
“Opportunities often arise from surprising new angles,” said Walker. “Over the last few years we have collaborated in projects with customers developing loudspeakers, critical oxygen sensors, and safe explosive detonators ‑ all areas new to us, and each requiring significant new process development. Often these types of projects take years to deliver a functional, marketable product, and some may fall by the wayside, but we always learn along the way, take the knowledge learned, and add it to our portfolio of techniques.”
During its most recent financial year, LEW Techniques shipped more than 2.4 million specialised high-technology build-to-print components, across more than 270 different designs. And while in 2016 the UK’s trade deficit with China widened to £25.4 billion*, LEW Techniques bucks that trend: 60% of the company’s exports in the year ending May 2017 were destined for China, with Germany, France, Malaysia, and South Africa representing other key geographies.
“As we are one of only a small number of manufacturers doing what we do around the world, we believe we can claim that we are the leading exporter from the UK in our field,” said Walker. “Our clients are predominantly high-technology companies and world-renowned research and educational establishments, all of whom operate to very high business standards.”
He added: “This award is recognition of the expertise and commitment shown by our staff and the strong and close working relationships we forge with our customers and suppliers. It is a shining result of both industry and worldwide collaboration.”