Posted on Friday 16 November 2012 by Ulster Business

 Denroy

Denroy's Eugene Taylor, Jim Knowles and Chairman John Rainey on the factory floor in Bangor.

Denroy Plastics will take another step on its journey to becoming a key player in the global aerospace and defence sectors at an event in Belfast this month.

The Bangor-based plastic moulding manufacturer will be awarded bronze accreditation under SC21 – an initiative designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains – at the conference organised by ADS, the trade organisation for the UK Aerospace, Defence, Security and Space industries.

While Denroy has been in business for 40 years this year and employs around 170 people on site, the accreditation is indicative of the company's forward looking ethos of constantly evolving and investing in its development.

"A lot of the leading OEMs are saying you must have this to have a chance of quoting for any new work. The bronze is the entry level and we plan to go for silver next year," Sales Manager Jim Knowles told Ulster Business.

The aerospace and defence sectors are a growing part of the business with the company servicing international manufacturers such as Airbus, GKN, Spirit, BAE Systems, Bombardier, Thales and Chemring Energetics.

Illustrating its place at the heart of the local industry, Denroy has recently delivered the first sets of components for the "C Series" aircraft from their five year contract with Bombardier Aerospace.

"The aerospace industry has held up very well. The contracts we have with the likes of Airbus and BAE Systems are going very well at the moment. We're supplying 40 kit sets a month into Airbus for wing components and we've got orders through to the end of next year. Then with Bombardier's new C-Series, if the orders take off as predicted it would be great for us and mean a lot of business for the company," elaborated Knowles.

Another key driver for the future could be a research and development project for which the company secured substantial European funding over the summer.

The two-year project will see Denroy take up a lead position in a consortium comprising industry market leaders Airbus and 5M, and scientific and technological research organisations MatRI in the UK and ITA in Spain.

The EC-funded project aims to develop a process to injection mould thermoplastic composite components for aerospace structural applications – with advantages potentially including the widening of the scope for component design, faster production rates and lower energy consumption. The target areas will be the replacement of small-to-medium sized machined aluminium, titanium and hand lay-up thermoset composite components.

A successful implementation of the process being developed under the research programme, which kicked off in September, will put Denroy at the forefront of ground-breaking technology opportunities for the aerospace industry.

"The process could reduce component costs and manufacturing times, and that's what the manufacturing and aerospace companies are interested in," explained Knowles.

"It could be massive. We're trying to tie up the intellectual property rights because we simply couldn't cope with the demand on it alone. We hope to be able to manufacture the components here but also sell the rights for manufacturing to other injection companies. That could be a big shot in the arm for industry here in general."

Operating in niche markets, Denroy Plastics perhaps hasn't got the recognition it deserves in years past, but the company looks set to remain at the forefront of an industrial sector that will be crucial to the UK in future.

"The company is 40 years old this year but more plaudits have perhaps gone to Denman International, our sister company which make hairbrushes," joked Knowles.

"But in the last three or four years we have really come into our own and with the C-Series contracts and the EU funding for the research project, things are really picking up pace."

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