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Export success brings Royal visit to Helipebs Controls

PUBLISHED: 12:40 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:41 29 November 2016

Credit: Rob Lacey

Date: 26-10-2016

Credit: Rob Lacey Date: 26-10-2016

Rob Lacey

Internationally renowned, Gloucester-based manufacturer Helipebs Controls Ltd has been recognised for its excellence in export in the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success with a visit from HRH The Duke of Kent and honoured guests

The company, which can trace its roots in the city back well over 100 years, received The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2016 this April having grown its overseas sales by 142% between 2013 and 2015.

Helipebs are specialists in the design and manufacture of hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders and hydraulic systems, which are used in industrial applications all over the world. Whilst its products may be best recognised within engineering departments, what they enable is much more widely known as they can be found in the tooling used on production of parts for the likes of Jaguar Land Rover and Dyson, clamping together equipment on oil well heads up to 3km under the sea, on testing rigs for aircraft wings and landing gear for Airbus, and for special projects in Formula 1.

The company has achieved such significant growth by extending its product range, continually improving the way that it works and by providing the best bespoke cylinders to its customers, often serving the most rigorous and safety critical industries.

During the visit, The Duke was taken on a tour of the facilities to see the full spectrum of Helipebs capabilities from design through manufacture, test and support and met with Helipebs staff, customers and suppliers along the way.

HRH The Duke of Kent was also able to meet the apprentices that are key to the continued growth of the business.

“We are so proud to have been bestowed this very great honour,” says Geoff Davis, Chairman “and to have had such support from the Royal family, the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire and so many other local dignitaries.“

“Back in the late 1990s we found ourselves battling cheap foreign imports, and so we decided to innovate high value bespoke products for industries where quality, expertise and communication were valued highly.”

“In the past decade, as our reputation for excellent customer service and precision, quality engineering design and manufacturing has grown, we’ve extended our reach into international markets – whether that’s for ‘off the shelf’ products, or highly bespoke applications.”

The 60-strong team designs and manufactures products for clients in many industries, including offshore oil and gas, aerospace, Formula 1, pharmaceutical, and wave and tidal energy, serving 55 countries around the world including China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Norway and the Emirates, as well as the UK.

254 Queen’s Awards (QA) have been announced this year for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. Winners of the Queen’s Awards can expect an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace. The awards are made annually by HM The Queen and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category

In the financial year ending March 2015, Helipebs Controls achieved a total turnover of £7m, with 39% of sales (£2.8m) to overseas markets. In 2014, overseas sales grew by 25% on the previous year’s performance to reach £1,455k (£1.4m). A further 94% growth the following year, saw overseas sales reach £2,822k (£2.8m) in 2015. Overall, this was a growth of 142% in overseas sales between 2013 (£1,166k) and 2015 (£2,822k). 60 staff are currently employed at the firm’s base in Sisson Road, Gloucester

Helipebs Ltd was founded in 1922, and produced grinding media for the cement industry. In 1955 Helipebs Ltd re-established Kell & Company Ltd, which was originally founded in 1838 to manufacture agricultural implements. Helipebs Controls Ltd was formed in 1969 as a sister company to Kell & Company Ltd. In 1994, Kell & Co Ltd became dormant, and all trade transferred to Helipebs Controls.

Today, Helipebs Controls Ltd continues to preserve the manufacturing heritage of its predecessors in Gloucester, while achieving success in the UK and internationally, as recognised by the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise. Current management team: Geoff Davis, Chair; Andrew Hopcraft, Managing Director; Ron Tyler, Director of Manufacturing and Finance; Christoph Nikolin, Director of Sales; Ivan Knapp, Engineering Manager


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