PTG: Back from the brink

David Rowe, MD of Applied Automation (UK) and Mike Stevens MD of PTG
David Rowe, MD of Applied Automation (UK) and Mike Stevens MD of PTG

A Plympton-based precision engineering company pulled back from the brink of collapse just five years ago has recorded another strong year of growth.

PTG Precision Engineers was weeks away from going under and laying off all its employees when local Plymouth businessman, David Rowe, bought the business and transformed its future.

Mr Rowe, owner of one of the largest engineering companies in the area, Applied Automation (UK), felt strongly that losing PTG with its level of engineering knowledge and skills and with almost 40 years of trading was unthinkable.

“As a machine builder I also knew they would be a great asset to my core engineering business and following the acquisition, which gave them financial stability, I appointed Mike Stevens, one of my senior managers at Applied Automation as their managing director.

“Since the acquisition in 2017, the company’s performance, despite the many challenges including COVID and the increasing skills shortage within the industry, has been remarkable.  PTG has truly risen like a phoenix from the ashes,” he says.

Under Mike Stevens’ guidance the company has retained IS09001 accreditation and is currently working towards ISO45001 (Health and Safety). It has significant knowledge, experience and the skills required to work in the nuclear sector along with the necessary inspection facility.

Over the past two years, PTG has invested in new machinery and is also able to offer specialist services which are in short supply in the South West of England, such as cylindrical grinding.

Mr Stevens is justly proud of the company’s customer retention rate: “It is exceptionally high and probably down to the fact that we really like to work closely with our customers. This ethos and working practice has helped us generate new business from some very prestigious customers, such as Leonardo Helicopters (previously Westland),” he states. 

Mr Stevens goes on to explain that in his view probably the biggest current challenge the industry and the company face is attracting young people to become precision engineers.

“We work with local colleges and training companies and want to take on a couple of apprentices now. But, while many students consider a career in engineering, for some reason hands-on precision engineering seems to miss out,” he adds. “For that reason we’re now taking on people that are currently working in the engineering sector, such as setter operators for example, and we provide the upskilling and training to give them the skills and experience PTG will need in the future.

“With 2023 plans to expand our existing services in the workholding, nuclear and aerospace sectors where our expertise and experience helps us stand out from the competition, the future is looking very positive for PTG.”

Applied Automation (UK) has been trading for over 37 years and is recognised as a quality supplier of automation and control equipment.

With its headquarters and 140,000ft² factory in Plymouth, it designs, manufactures and delivers complete solutions for automation and control in industrial engineering, the marine sector and smart homes, using both standard and bespoke options.

The company is organised into various divisions enabling teams to provide specialised services and deliver excellence across a number of sectors. It currently employs more than 200 designers, engineers, project managers, sales engineers and industry specialists.

The recent merger of its X-STK (industrial component sales), Robotics and Industrial Systems Divisions has created a highly skilled and knowledgeable Technical Distribution Division with a warehouse and offices in Cardiff and Portsmouth.

Applied Automation

PTG Precision Engineers

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