OTLEY-based campervan conversion specialist Kiravans has been able to get its designs made in the UK rather than abroad after collaborating with another Yorkshire company with help from a Government-backed matching service.
Kiravans had developed and certified a design for its bench seat swivel base that allows seats to rotate from front to back, but its overseas prototype manufacturer was unable to support production volume or manage sub-assembly processes.
The firm used a Manufacturing Advisory Service initiative, in a bid to find a domestic supplier. ReshoreUK, which provides a matching and location service, access to advice and a named specialist to work with each company, introduced Kiravans to Sheffield-based engineering firm PCT Metalmex.
Robert McCandless, partner at Kiravans, said: “There is a real symmetry between both companies, with PCT’s automotive expertise helping them to understand requests quicker and add value to the designs. We are now manufacturing thousands of swivel bases every year and expect similar figures for the new products we are working on.”
James Terry, PCT managing director, said: “The relationship has grown significantly since that first meeting and we are now into our second year of production for the swivel base that is proving very popular with the campervan conversion market.
“Volumes have increased substantially and it’s worth about £300,000 per year to us. We have taken on new people to cope with demand, including three new engineering apprentices.
“Our ability to manufacture to exacting quality standards and understand complex design specifications was a major attraction and the fact we were logistically close to Kiravans meant we could be in constant contact during the early stages of the process.
“The overseas rival couldn’t match our hands-on approach and certainly couldn’t offer the ability to respond quickly to changes or volume increases.
“We’ve been manufacturing precision components since 1926 so it’s great news that after 88 years we are still leading the world in service and reliability.”
PCT Metalmex, which makes pressed components, is helping Kiravans design new products to fill a gap in the campervan conversion market, with the potential to be exported.