Wrexham based Air Covers wins new orders and recognition for innovation
3 Oct 2016 01:21 PM
Air Covers – the leading supplier of environmental protection for helicopters worldwide – has been named as a preferred supplier to Airbus Helicopters’ new H145 programme covering both civil and military versions of the rotorcraft.
The Wrexham based company will also equip the H145M LUH SOF (Light Utility Helicopter, Special Operations Forces) of the German Armed Forces with protection covers.
The news was announced by Air Covers MD John Pattinson during a visit to their facility by Economy Secretary Ken Skates and Lesley Griffiths AM.
Air Covers’ expertise and innovation was also acknowledged this month by Airbus Helicopters which has named the company as one of 46 companies in their worldwide supply chain recognised for Open Innovation.
Congratulating the company Ken Skates described it as great news and said:
“This is quite an achievement and a significant acknowledgement of the considerable expertise and highly specialised technical work undertaken by Air Covers.
“Air Covers is a small company operating in a niche market and has, through investment in skills, training, equipment and R&D, become a world leading textile engineering company. Its success clearly illustrates the importance of innovation and investment in research and development to a company’s growth.”
The company, founded in 2006 by John Pattinson, relocated to Bryn Business Centre on the Wrexham Industrial Estate in 2014 and subsequently doubled its turnover and seen exports increase from 10% to 60% of sales.
Mr Pattinson described the move as the best business decision the company had ever made.
“Wrexham is a great place to grow your business – it’s well connected to major airports, has an abundance of skilled people, well priced industrial premises and a great quality of life.
“We have had great support from the Welsh Government and Wrexham Council which has helped us grow the business. Assistance from the Welsh Government has been spot on with support for our export drive and terrific back-up from the advanced materials and manufacturing team whenever we need it.
“The advanced manufacturing, export and skills support Wales gives to its companies should attract every forward thinking business to locate here.”
Air Covers design and manufacture protective helicopter covers using 21st century technical fabrics for the most extreme environments across the world, where spectral camouflage, thermal protection and heat repellent properties are essential.
Each aircraft is laser scanned and a bespoke tailored pattern is produced and the covers then carefully handmade by machinists with exceptionally high skills.
Air Covers has been laser scanning aircraft since 2008 and owns the world’s largest 3D and configurations database that includes the specifications of virtually every helicopter in operation worldwide.
The company, which has a small skilled team of nine - with plans to take on another two employees this month, has won every UK military tender for helicopter covers since 2008.
After a tour of the facility when he was shown an example of Air Covers design work for Airbus Helicopters, the Economy Secretary pressed the CNC ‘go’ button to start production on a new contract for one of the world’s major airlines.