Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher visits global exporter Ascott Analytical Equipment Ltd on eve of crucial Brexit vote


World-leading climate testing equipment manufacturer Ascott Analytical Equipment Ltd welcomed Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher to its newly-expanded headquarters.

Mr Pincher was greeted by Business Development Manager Tim Hearn and Chairman Chris Gates, who founded the company 30 years ago and has this year engineered the doubling of its factory floor and office space.

A boardroom discussion on Brexit, the skills shortage in the engineering sector, importance of innovation and R&D and Ascott’s global export success took place before Mr Pincher toured the factory and met key staff.

He was shown Ascott’s latest walk-in corrosion test rooms – used by the automotive and aerospace industry to test the durability of car and aircraft components to stringent European and global standards.

He was impressed with the company’s recently-patented Mag-Drive technology, which turns an oscillating spray bar inside each of the chambers through use of rare earth magnets, without the need to breach the chamber wall for a drive shaft, containing the corrosive salt spray.

And he trialled the multi-lingual communication capabilities of the chambers, developed for Ascott’s key markets in India, China, Japan, Europe and the US.

The trio discussed this week’s leadership vote at Westminster and the Brexit deal being tabled.

Mr Pincher revealed his constituency office had been overwhelmed by emails and phone calls from constituents, urging him to back Theresa May and support her deal.

He said it would be “corrosive” to stage a second referendum and heralded Tamworth as a “commmunity-focused” area with excellent transport links, making it an attractive base for manufacturers like Ascott.

As he toured the factory, he met long-standing staff and discussed the benefits of apprenticeships, praising the firm for its track record in innovation and impressive staff retention rates.

And he asked what Ascott was doing, in a shrinking manufacturing climate, to attract new blood.

Chris Gates, a “passionate advocate” of apprenticeships and contributor to the 2018 Manufacturing Parliamentary Review, said: “There’s a responsibility on firms to address the problem.

“The manufacturing base has shrunk, but it’s from the big smokestack industries to companies like us, smaller, high-tech manufacturing firms employing 30 or 40 people.

“We’ve got really talented designers here and excellent staff on the floor and we, and others like us, need to shout about it.”

Mr Pincher added: “Ascott really is a hugely impressive company.

“It’s fascinating to see the work you’re doing in so many diverse markets right across the world. I wish you every success.”