Hirwaun-based Philtronics is upskilling and expanding into innovative and high-tech markets as the company pursues its ambitious growth plans.
Earlier this year the family-run electronics business moved to new premises on the Hirwaun Industrial Estate, tripling its size in a new high-tech home following an £800,000 investment.

From left: Simon Pritchard Philtronics, Jonathan Davies and Lewis Van Emden O'brien & Partners

From left: Simon Pritchard Philtronics, Jonathan Davies and Lewis Van Emden O’brien & Partners

Rugby legend Jonathan Davies was on hand to officially open the new factory, and to mark the company’s tenth anniversary.

And as its growth continues, a new subsidiary – Philtronics PAT – has been launched. As well as this, several highly qualified technical staff have been added to the team as high tech work with leading international clients increases.
Managing Director Simon Pritchard explained: “PAT, or Portable Appliance Testing, is a natural move for us as we already have the equipment and skills in place. Any hotel, club, or any place of business for that matter, needs an annual check on any electronics with a domestic plug, and this is a growth area.”

The appointment of new Operations Manager Christine Britton is an important step in drawing in international clients. “Christine has a 20 year career in global management with leading international companies, and her arrival is part of our drive to open up worldwide markets,” added Mr Pritchard.

Another increasingly important client is Chromagenex in Llanelli, for whom Philtronics is providing turnkey solutions for their markets in Brazil.

The firm’s business plan, drawn up by Treforest accountants and business advisers O’brien & Partners, predicts turnover increasing to £8 million in the next two years. In that time, the workforce is expected to rise from the present 50 to 75. In 2012 five staff have been taken on.

O’brien & Partners Managing Director Lewis Van Emden, said: “Philtronics is an ambitious, growth-minded firm which benefits from being a family concern with a high level of skills, and a committed workforce. We have helped them devise a bold business plan, assisted with raising finance and are advising on business strategy.
“It is a pleasure to see them moving forward and we wish them continued success.”

A year on and the plan is on track. “We are a year into our three year plan and we are growing in line with our expectations,” commented Mr Pritchard. “We are moving into new areas, and the new staff we are recruiting are of an increasingly commercial and technical background. We believe this investment will pay dividends as we grow the high-end technical side of the business.”

Working in many fields including amusements, avionics, defence, medical, semi-conductor and domestic, the firm delivers ‘plug and play’, tested assemblies; whilst targeting growth in aerospace and other sectors.

Furthermore Philtronics is already supporting leading edge innovation with ‘blue-sky-thinking’ individual entrepreneurs, to whom they offer rapid prototyping and solutions to ‘design for manufacture’ projects enabling speed to market and a competitive edge to those looking to bring niche and new technology to the global marketplace.

The move to the new factory has been significant. “As well as giving more space to grow, the move enabled us to put new structures in place and has increased efficiency,” he added.

However, Mr Pritchard is keenly aware of the need to keep costs low in a fiercely competitive world. “Today the market is global and barriers to competition are all but gone. Companies move their production around the world with ease. This means that we have to keep overheads low and constantly improve service and the skills we can offer.”

Equally Philtronics has recently seen the importance of providing a service to UK companies who feel the need to re-shore their manufacturing in order to keep a close relationship with their strategic supply chain partners for increased flexibility in an economically stretched market, whilst maintaining high quality standards.
“Our staff, all of whom are local, have been fantastic and there is no doubt that the international electronics firms that have set up in Wales over the last 30 years have benefitted the area. While many of these firms have left, there is a legacy of skills from which we are now reaping the rewards.”