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Rail electrics business bucks the trend

A Tyseley-based manufacturer has bucked the Covid-19 doom and gloom after winning a number of huge overseas orders during the lockdown. The firm is HVR Pentagon, which makes wire

wound power resistors, condensation heaters and thermostats. During the lockdown, the company’s 15

employees continued to work full time, in order to fulfil large orders for India and the Middle East. The Indian order was from Medha of

Hyderabad, which makes hi-tech electronic parts for railway engines, carriages and railway stations. Medha placed a large order with HVR Pentagon

for 600-800 watt resistors, for use in power units, and quickly followed this up with another. HVR Pentagon managing director Ian

Reddington said: “We are working round the clock to supply this company. We have had some orders from India before, but nothing this big.” In addition, the company is working hard to

fulfil an order from a Saudi-based electricity company, to supply products to be used in new sub-stations in the that country. HVR Pentagon is also supplying parts for use

in sub-stations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, after becoming a named supplier for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. As a result, the company’s overseas exports orders book is booming, despite Covid-19.

Samsung Mexicana orders Flexi forklifts

Narrow Aisle Ltd has secured a contract to supply a fleet of its electric-powered Flexi Lithion articulated forklift trucks to Samsung Mexicana, for use in the company’s Tijuana plant. The plant produces semi-conductor devices

and electronic components for the automotive and consumer sectors. In all, eight Flexi models – built at Narrow

Aisle’s manufacturing facility at Great Bridge, Tipton – are being installed together with rapid lithium battery charging facilities. The Flexi is powered by state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technology that requires zero maintenance and no need for battery changing. The trucks specified by Samsung also feature

technology that helps delivers greater reliability and productivity, as well as significantly reduced operating and maintenance costs. John Maguire, managing director of Narrow

Aisle Ltd, said: ”Flexi warehouse trucks have established themselves as the world’s best-selling articulated forklifts over the last 30 years. International sales now account for some 40 per cent of our business and Flexis sold in 60 countries worldwide are supported by Narrow Aisle’s global network of authorised distributors as well as our company’s hubs in the USA, UK and Taiwan.”

32 CHAMBERLINK October 2020 Bucking the trend: Ian Reddington HVR has been manufacturing resistors and

other products in Birmingham since 1973, when it was known as Pentagon Electrical Products. When its original owners retired in 2008, Pentagon was bought out by a similar business in Jarrow, HVR. HVR also bought a company in Nuremberg,

which works closely with the Birmingham factory on orders, including one of the

Pentagon’s biggest sellers, condensation heaters used in railway trackside cabinets to prevent moisture forming on critical parts during the winter months. While most of HVR Pentagon’s products are

destined for industrial use, they have also popped up in a few rather more unusual places. This condensation heaters have recently been

used by a beekeeper to keep the honey in his hives from solidifying, and also by bell ringers at a church. The bell ropes were getting wet in winter, and

to get round this the church designed a tube for the ropes that has a condensation heater at the bottom, and this has solved the problem. But it is the export orders from India and the

Middle East that have helped HVR Pentagon ride out the lockdown without having to furlough any of its workforce or even apply to the government for grant aid. In fact, during the past six months, the

company has boosted its turnover by 50 per cent because of its export success, which is partly due to help from Chamber based international trade advisor Pete West. Mr Reddington said he turned to Pete for

advice on breaking into new markets, principally the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He said: “That was six months ago – Pete put

me in touch with various people, and our name got bandied about and it has just escalated.”

Gove urges firms to seek advice

A leading Government minister has pleaded with companies to seek advice from their local Chamber of Commerce about the new post-Brexit trading regime, which comes into force on 1 January. Michael Gove (pictured), who is Chancellor of the Duchy of

Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, said Brexit was going to happen on that date whether an agreement with the European Union was in place or not. He added that Chambers of Commerce had been identified by

the Government as a vital source of information for businesses preparing for the introduction of new trading rules with the EU. In a letter to businesses, Mr Gove emphasised the importance

of businesses using the next five months to prepare for leaving the EU Customs Union, and gaining understanding of the UK Global Tariff, which sets out the new UK tariff rates for imported goods. The letter urged businesses to take a number of steps, including checking the terms of existing contracts with customers and suppliers, identifying staff that can be trained on customs and plan how to deal with customs declarations. Mandy Haque, director of the Chamber’s international team, said: “The International departments within Chambers of Commerce can support global trading needs. “Whether it be importing or exporting, here at the GBCC we have a dedicated team providing

expertise in all areas of support ranging from documentation, customs declarations and training to international business advice and relevant focused events. Along with the themed divisions of the Transatlantic and Commonwealth Chambers based within the GBCC, there is a plethora of assistance available to business to ensure all are ready for leaving the EU Customs Union.” During the coming months, the Chamber will be running a series of events aimed at helping members in adapting to the new trading arrangements. These events will cover key topics, including import and exporting goods, data protection and trade in services.

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