Ad-Vance Engineering, the award winning Lisburn manufacturer of precision moulds for industry, is embarking on another successful year serving customers all over the island of Ireland, the British Isles and beyond.
The company, based close to the Maze re-development site, is already Northern Ireland’s only bespoke maker of injection moulds for use in the plastics manufacturing sector. Ad-Vance Engineering’s competitors in the high-tech engineering field are based
elsewhere in the UK and Ireland. Not only is Ad-Vance Engineering a growing indigenous manufacturer with a crucial role in the industrial supply chain, but it’s also a company built on innovation, customer focus and one with growing export success.
The company was founded 14 years ago by Roger Vance. A toolmaker by trade, Roger worked at the old Ford Motor Company plant at Finaghy in Belfast before joining the team at Wilsanco Plastics (now Greiner Packaging) in his native Dungannon. He established
Ad-Vance Engineering at Lisburn’s Altona Industrial Estate in 2004 but the company moved to the larger Maze site in more recent years. Like most engineering companies, and other companies for that matter, Ad-Vance Engineering is a team effort.
Roger Vance has been joined in the business by his son, Samuel Vance, who is the company’s TechnicalDirector. Samuel has Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cardiff University in Wales, and has a background in aerospace engineering, having worked at global jet engine manufacturers GE Aviation before joining the Ad-Vance Engineering board. He’s in charge of the complex design and pre-manufacture process at Ad-Vance Engineering. “Our customers want moulds designed and manufactured
to help them produce a wide range of end products. “My job is to take the product, design a mould around it and ensure that it will work in the customer’s manufacturing process. And there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration….from
the complexity of the end product to whether the customer intends using the mould to make 2,000 products or 2 million products. “We use the latest CNC (computer numerical control) technology, including high speed machining and 3d printing, to both design and manufacture our finished moulds, which could be destined for use in a number of different industries,” he says.
“Whilst our business was built on the back of tool manufacture for the building products marketplace, as we’ve expanded, we have developed expertise in new sectors such as medical devices and pharmaceuticals.” The Ad-Vance Engineering team reflects a mixture of experienced technicians and emerging talent combining tool making expertise with the latest high technology methods. Like Roger Vance, Lisburn man Roy Thompson is steeped in the engineering industry and is a toolmaker by trade.
He is now the production floor supervisor at Ad-Vance Engineering in Maze, looking after a team of toolmakers and apprentices. With a senior production background in leading local engineering employers such as Fisher Body/European Components
Corporation automotive components plant in Dundonald and the former BMAC in Lisburn, Roy works closely with Samuel Vance on upcoming jobs, ensures the smooth day to day running of the factory floor and makes sure that customer jobs are completed
and out for delivery on time.
Dessie O’Haire, with a background of senior roles in the financial services sector, leads the accounts department with responsibility for looking after the all-important sales and purchase ledgers. Barbara Coleman, Ad-Vance Engineering’s Administration &
Customer Service Manager, runs back office operations at the company, from managing the payroll through to liaising with customers and suppliers and organising business travel. Coming from a corporate background, Barbara brings a wealth of knowledge from previous employers such as BT. She brings a sharp focus on customer service and marketing into an industry traditionally characterised by a lack of understanding and appreciation of the importance of putting the customer at the centre of things.
“What sets Ad-Vance Engineering apart from our competitors is that we genuinely seek to work in partnership with our customers. We take the time to understand their business needs and always make the extra effort to be available at every stage of the manufacturing process. “Our team think nothing of jumping on a plane for a planning meeting with our GB-based customers who need our input into complex and innovative tool designs. “In recent years, we’ve also brought a sharper marketing-led focus to our business development activities, with a new website, corporate branding and a suite of marketing literature that supports our brand proposition based on customer service excellence allied to innovative design-led solutions. This sets us apart from the less
pro-active tool makers out there and our customers tell us that they really value this approach.”
Roger Vance reflects on the continued success at Ad-Vance Engineering with quiet satisfaction. “A few years ago, we could have chosen to tread water in this industry. Instead, we took the time to rethink our business model and what has emerged is a company
now reaping the benefits of export success with leading injection moulding customers that value our focus on innovative solutions based on putting our customers first.”