Issue 136 January 2017
Having developed a solid reputation in the motorsport sector, EPM Technology is seeking to diversify operations by gaining a strong foothold in markets such as automotive, aerospace and defence
Founded by Graham Mulholland in 1996, EPM Technology was set up following developments in new thermocomposite materials, no resin, just plastics. Upon seeing a chance to establish a new composites company unlike any other, Mulholland led the company into becoming a highly successful manufacturer of high performance carbon fibre component parts and assemblies for the demanding and challenging Formula 1 sector.
Discussing the company’s developments is Andrew Walker, Commercial Director of EPM Technology: “It is our 20th anniversary this year, which we celebrated with a number of longstanding customers and suppliers at the Advanced Engineering Show 2016. When we began operating we were primarily involved in working with composite materials for the motorsport and Formula 1 markets. Upon seeing opportunities in new markets, we have been diversifying our operations and expanding into new sectors such as aerospace, defence and bespoke work, with varying levels of success. We are also increasingly working in the automotive sector, an arena where carbon fibre was typically only found in the niche high end road car, but is now becoming increasingly popular and readily available across a growing number of OEMs.”
Diversification is proving a natural step for EPM Technology, which benefits from strengths such as the ability to offer a turnkey service, as Andrew continues: “We pride ourselves on our ability to do everything from design, creating patterns, creating tools as well as manufacturing parts, whilst also understanding and delivering what the customer wants, when they want it. We use many years of experience as we collaborate with customers to optimise the design for manufacture, so they leave our facility confident that they will get manufactured parts to their required standard. We have really tested ourselves in the area of visual carbon fibre, where it is critical that parts look perfect given the amount of money customers spend on carbon fibre options.
“Ultimately we focus on meeting challenging quality requirements and pushing boundaries, particularly in the aerospace sector, one we are perfectly located to support as well as one with a lot of opportunities to demonstrate composite materials.” In fact, the company has seen approximately 60 per cent growth in this sector thanks to a new customers over the last nine months due to its ability to deliver trusted, innovative, engineering momentum and is now exploring the growing use of composite materials in all aspects of aerospace. Meanwhile, within the defence sector, the company is now working with a customer on mission critical components to be used across a wide range of applications and isconfident that this represents a significant growth opportunity.
Originally located in Draycott in a rented facility, the company has recently moved to a purpose built 60,000 square foot composite facility in close proximity to Derby. This new facility more than doubles the company’s previous site and has ensured EPM Technology has the equipment, space and technology to progress into new markets through the delivery of high performance, innovative solutions.
“As far as we know this facility is one of its kind in the UK, it is very much set up with a focus on efficiency, cleanliness and lighting to meet the stringent requirements of our demanding customer base,” highlights Andrew. “When customers come in they are wowed by our facility and it further instils confidence in our capabilities; in fact, our customers have even brought in their customers to see where we operate and what we can do.”
To further strengthen capabilities, the company recently gained AS9100 approval, an industry standard quality management system (QMS) within the aerospace sector. Commenting on this development in September 2016, Graham Mulholland, CEO of EPM Technology noted: “We’re bang on plan and growing the business consistently. This approval shows that we’re on top of our systems making truly world class and often complex parts, assemblies and system compliant products.”
Closely linked to Derby college and Derby university, EPM Technology is not only cementing its future success through diversification, but is also ensuring skills and expertise within the company are passed onto future generations through its apprenticeship academy. “We take on around six apprentices a year, both on the shop floor and in the engineering department; we spend a lot of time supporting them through studies and train them at EPM Technology. There is certainly a skills gap in the market when it comes to quality engineering, which is why we are being active in encouraging the engineers of tomorrow,” says Andrew.
“We have been in our new facility for two years and will continue to embed ourselves in the building through increased growth and diversification. In the longer term, we will look into potential licensing arrangements and other ways we may be able to grow the business without increasing our manufacturing footprint. We have a lot of expertise, knowledge and capability here, and it is a matter of maximising the potential of this over the coming years,” he concludes.
Products: Manufacture/CAD and production of composite parts and materials