Birmingham precision engineering company wins large R&D tax reclaim…
Quantum Precision Engineering Ltd, based in Tower St near the city centre, design and develop high precision components and CNC turned parts to UK manufacturers involved in all kinds of specialist engineering and product manufacture.
The company was started by owner and managing director Jim Simpson in 1979. Jim started as an apprentice auto setter and worked across several Birmingham companies before starting his own business in Caroline St with a single machine and one apprentice. The firm relocated to their current premises in Tower Street in and now employs 10 people, including the apprentice who is now Jim’s son-in-law and works director, Laurence O’Brien. Laurence’s son John, Jim’s grandson, is now an apprentice with the firm.
“We develop and produce parts for gas controls, safety equipment, sports air rifles, tableware, anything that is turned on a CNC lathe machine, we’ll do it,” says Jim. “I bought my first CNC lathe twelve years ago when I could see that was where precision parts manufacture was heading.”
The company made several components for the Birmingham makers of the Olympic torch, a local company based in Tyseley. “We supplied them with twelve precision components for the burner, and as there were 12,000 torches made, we had a nice order for 144,000 parts”, says Jim. “It was a top secret job – when we first saw the drawings, we thought we were quoting for a car exhaust.
“The recent R&D we carried out involved a safety device for a self righting pulley system for people working in safety harnesses, for a large PLC. If the wearer slips when, say, climbing a tree or building, he or she can end up upside down. This device enables them to activate a button that will right them and lower them to safety. The other R&D project was for a water control device. Trial, error and modifications can take many man hours, including liaising with the client, going back to the drawing board, onto the machines – eventually we get it right and bring the concept to fruition.
“We didn’t know about the R&D scheme but a local business colleague recommended we contact R&D Tax Claims” says Jim. “I didn’t think we would qualify as we saw ourselves as subcontractors, but as we carry out so much R&D for our clients and this was clearly reflected in our bookkeeping, the team at R&D Tax Claims spent time with Lisa Westwood, our operational secretary and chief buyer, and Bryan Bourke, our works manager, and submitted our claim. The whole process was hassle free and I’m very happy with the result.”
Jim sees the R&D process as a vital and necessary part of any process. “R&D enables us to get involved with our clients and become a partnership – it’s good for both companies. As a subcontractor, you are reliant on your clients giving you work, and if you can help them achieve what they want, they’ll stay with you. Our machines are capable of manufacturing extremely complicated parts so we offer our clients the highest quality at all times. Recently we’ve brought work back into the UK from Italy. Unlike many companies in our sector we didn’t experience a downturn throughout the recession and 2012 was our best year yet.”
Mark Evans, managing director of R&D Tax Claims said, “Quantum Precision Engineering are a fine example of a UK subcontract manufacturer that can’t shout about their product from the rooftops, as the precision parts they develop are an indispensable part of a bigger picture. They’re the unsung heroes of hi-tech manufacturing and crucial to the stability and growth of the UK economy.
“Quantum did not suffer in the downturn because they are committed to R&D, and this commitment and dedication enables their clients to improve, experiment and innovate with new processes and products to keep ahead of the game. A helping hand from HMRC in the shape of an R&D tax credit is an acknowledgement of the importance of the work that these Midlands engineers and manufacturers produce.”
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