Fylde coast plastics firm in line for engineering award

Victrex' �90m new plant at Thornton
Victrex' �90m new plant at Thornton
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A Fylde coast plastics specialist has been shortlisted for the most prestigious engineering prize in the UK.

Thornton-based Victrex is one of three finalists for the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award.

Billed as being synonymous with spotting the ‘next big thing’ in the technology sector, the MacRobert Award is the UK’s longest running national prize for engineering innovation.

Many previous winning technologies are now ubiquitous in modern medicine, transport and technology. The first award in 1969 went to the Rolls-Royce Pegasus engine, used in the iconic Harrier jets.

Now Victrex, which specialises in polymers which are used in a range of fields from aerospace to medicine to mobile phones, has been nominated for its PEEK plastic. In films up to 20 times thinner than a human hair, it is already found in over a billion consumer electronic devices as a vital component of speakers and earphones.

Dame Sue Ion, chairman of the MacRobert Award judging panel, said: “Each of this year’s finalists has demonstrated remarkable drive and determination to achieve technical advances that can make a considerable difference to many aspects of our lives.

“The variety and standard of engineering skills behind each innovation is testament to the UK’s strength in the sector.

“These three companies are great examples of engineering for growth in action.” John Grasmeder, technical director for Victrex plc, said: “Victrex is a world leader in high performance polymers and to be in the running for the MacRobert award is a real testament to the capability, innovation, focus and performance of our people.

“Technical and manufacturing excellence are key pillars of our strategy.

“Being able to understand market needs and work closely with our customers in developing solutions to their challenges requires real technical and manufacturing know-how.

“The APTIV film has been a success story for Victrex and we continue to explore opportunities in electronics and across our other markets.”

The firm is up against Artemis Intelligent Power and Endomag. The winner will be revealed on July 16 at the Academy’s annual awards dinner in London.