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Warwickshire membrane manufacturer expands with major backing

PUBLISHED: 15:52 03 August 2017 | UPDATED: 15:52 03 August 2017

Pictured (left to right): Dirk Schafer, Noshad Khowaja, Peter Anastasi, with research assistant Carmen Sánchez de Rojas Candela (c) Jamie Gray

Pictured (left to right): Dirk Schafer, Noshad Khowaja, Peter Anastasi, with research assistant Carmen Sánchez de Rojas Candela (c) Jamie Gray

Archant

A high-tech manufacturing firm, which makes ultra-thin membranes for use at the cutting edge of science around the world, is expanding after receiving major backing from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and the University of Warwick Science Park

Silson, which is now based at Insight Park in Southam, has invested around £1 million in its future growth over the past two years by moving to the new base and by purchasing new, advanced machinery.

A £373,000 funding package from Lloyds Bank allowed director Peter Anastasi to buy and set up the state-of-the-art premises at Insight Park and purchase a specialist electron-beam deposition tool.

The new equipment, which was also helped by a £35,000 grant from Warwickshire County Council after support from the University of Warwick Science Park’s Business Ready programme, is set to increase the business’s annual turnover by introducing x-ray filters to its range of products.

The company manufactures and sells its ultra-thin membranes to around 600 customers in 35 countries around the globe, which include research institutes working with x-ray and electron beam technology.

Silson is now looking to expand with the aim of turning over several million pounds and recruiting new staff. It is also looking to start working on new applications for graphene, one of the most exciting material discoveries for many years.

Peter Anastasi, director at Silson, said: “Our products are very thin membranes – unbelievably thin – around 100 nanometres thick. They are made like small windows that allow light to pass through and that makes them ideal for the use in x-ray and e-beam research.

“It’s a very niche market – we are one of the only companies in the world making them and we sell them to research institutes across the globe, including synchrotrons.

“After a referral from the CWLEP Growth Hub, The University of Warwick Science Park, through Business Ready, has been extremely supportive. The grant funding is extremely important to us and they are also helping us with our future strategy for expansion and diversification.

“That means not only attracting new customers but also using the new equipment to provide value-added services to our existing clients to help us grow. The support has been invaluable.

“Lloyds Bank has also given us substantial backing and has shown a real appetite to support a high-tech business with the potential to grow.”

Noshad Khowaja, Silson’s relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “The manufacturing sector is continuing to grow in the Midlands, and the new specialist equipment will enable Silson to expand both its product range and the business.

“We have provided tailored funding for the business, including asset finance and loans, which will help Peter invest in growth plans for the future. We are committed to supporting manufacturers like Silson, which is why we have pledged to provide £1bn of new funding to the manufacturing sector in 2017 to help Britain prosper.”

Dirk Schafer, a Business Ready adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “We continue to support Silson with their plans for growth. This is very exciting technology, which is really at the cutting-edge of science and that must be married with a robust plan for growing.”

For further information about Business Ready, which is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, visit the website here.

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