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WEP invests in greener future; MANUFACTURING.

A Black Country metal finisher is embracing the drive for environmental best practice by investing pounds 320,000 into helping its customers meet the End of Life Vehicle Directive. Wolverhampton Electroplating (WEP), which is part of the Anochrome Group of companies, has recently installed the first mechanical plating line in the UK that is totally hexavalent chromium free.

The process is designed to simplify the recycling of scrap vehicles by removing the need for hexavalent chromium, which was traditionally used to improve anti-corrosion qualities.

The new line can process up to 20 tonnes of components every day. Backed by pounds 40,000 of business development and capital equipment grants from supply chain initiative Accelerate, the company will safeguard existing business and potentially secure in excess of pounds 500,000 of new contracts.

WEP, which employs 75 people and records pounds 5.3 million of annual sales, is a specialist metal finisher, providing a wide range of automotive component coatings to manufacturers including Ford, Toyota, Honda, Aston Martin, Nissan and BMW. Chief executive Robert Gray said: "When MG Rover went under in 2005, we lost about 10 per cent of our turnover and, whilst we have been able to recover from this, it is a lesson that we have heeded in our business philosophy going forward."

The company is now moving into the aerospace industry as part of its diversification strategy. "With this latest investment, we have spent pounds 850,000 on new machinery, a new effluent waste management system, the latest hexavalent chromium free passivation line and extensive training for senior management and shop floor operatives."

Accelerate has been working with WEP for nearly 10 years on a host of issues, including a recent supply chain improvement project led by Droitwich-based Barton Cold-Form.

The latest support has helped speed this up by more than six weeks.

Norman Taylor, adviser at Accelerate, said: "By accessing the financial support we can offer, the company is enjoying the best period in its recent history."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 7, 2007
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