Hutchinson AeroTech lands opening with Bombardier
A company that diversified into aerospace less than a year ago has won a place in the supply chain of Canadian planemaker Bombardier.
Hutchinson AeroTech launched in December 2013, spawned from family firm Hutchinson Engineering, which spent decades specialising in agricultural equipment.
The company invested around £1.5m in the machining and supply of stainless steel, aluminum and titanium parts for planes.
As part of the investment, the firm purchased a factory unit in Antrim and bought one of only three customised Trumpf Trumatic 6000 laser-cutting machines in the world, and the only of its kind in the UK.
Through the SC21 programme, which aims to improve competitiveness in the aerospace supply chain, Hutchinson has been officially recognised as a provider of projects to Bombardier, which has several bases in Northern Ireland and makes aircraft including the LearJet and new CSeries.
Mark Hutchinson, managing director of Hutchinson Aerotech, said that the firm's rapid growth had come about as a result of its strategic partnerships.
"Aerospace is a good industry to be in right now, and I am delighted that we have made so much progress just nine months after officially launching," he added.
"We went in with a positive attitude and we wanted to make the right connections and to focus on the quality of the products. We have invested in our technology and our people, and we are delighted to have received endorsement from such a large company as Bombardier."
Stephen Cowan, vice president of supply chain and fabrications at Bombardier Aerospace, said that he had seen the positive benefits of the SC21 programme since its launch in 2006.
"The successful suppliers from the programme to date have differentiated themselves in terms of their capability to consistently deliver high-quality products and evolve that capability to meet the continued needs of our business," he added.
"The recent announcement allows us to reach out to a further six key local suppliers and begin the journey to further strengthen the competitive capability within Northern Ireland."
Dr Leslie Orr, manager of aerospace, defence, space and security trade body ADS NI, added: "This is great news for Hutchinson AeroTech and the other recent entrants to this programme.
"It will only strengthen their relationships and further add to the strength of the aerospace sector in the region."
Established in 1971, Hutchinson Engineering started life as an agricultural fabrication firm.
Earlier this year, the company won a number of manufacturing and sub-contracting awards. It is also investigating work in the oil and gas markets.