2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, both on the personal and commercial level.
Like our customers, we have needed to be vigilant and dynamic. As a business, we have had to adapt our operations and our plans swiftly. We’ve also needed to transform the way in which we liaise with our staff, commercial partners and stakeholders both in the UK and globally.
Despite all this, we have continued to grow as a business and are more determined than ever to maintain high levels of service for our customers.
Looking back on the year, there have been many achievements worthy of note, so we thought we’d share 20 ACI facts for 2020 with you; some to make you smile, others to surprise you, and a few that we’re just plain proud of.
Companies we've dealt with
New LinkedIn Followers
Tests we performed
#1 – Intersec Show
Remember shows and exhibitions where you met people and had a chance to touch, feel and experience products in person? Well, in January, our team took part in Intersec – the Health and Safety Show, which was held in Dubai. This was our first opportunity to introduce our JetBlack Safety Personnel Cleaning Booths to the Middle Eastern market. We’re pleased to say that it was a great success.
Preparing for the Wire Show in March, our technical team developed our latest range of air wipe and profile drying solutions for the cable, wire and extrusion market. Despite the Wire Show being cancelled due to the pandemic, we managed to secure some great coverage in Cable Technology News, British Plastics, Plastics World, Wire Cable India, Moulding, and Wire and Cable Technology International. Combined with the work of our sales team and our international network of distributors, our latest range of drying solutions has been well received.
#3 – ACI Inc increase manufacturing capabilities
To meet growing demand in the Americas, our subsidiary in the US market, ACI Inc, have improved its in-house operation capabilities by approximately 40%. The facility now includes stainless steel fabrication, welding for air knives, manifolds and conveyors production.
#4 – ACI Inc invest in design & 3D modelling
In addition to the increased in manufacturing offering, our US Team also invested in engineering design software capable of providing outline or assembly drawings, layout as well as 3D modelling, rendering and animation of any of their products and systems.
Following months of development, we successfully launched our Spiral Dryer this year. The system is designed to dry small components such as nuts, bolts and screws, machine parts, mouldings, food products as well as medication tablets amongst others. The new solution has proved particularly popular with UK, German and US manufacturers.
#6 – Seven new employees
We hired four new members of staff in the UK to fulfil positions in the Engineering, Quality and Production.
– Ivor Pursey – Quality Engineer
– Tom Chapple – Design Engineer
– Simon Elliott – Stores Person
– Richard Harris – Electrical Test / Assembler
While our US counterpart appointed 3 new employees for engineering and sales roles.
– Mark Paine – JetBlack Safety Sales Representative
– John Grabill – Design Engineer
– Devin Beals – Technical Sales Representative
#7 – New distributor for Ireland
As part of our growth strategy, we appointed PCP Group to distribute our JetBlack Safety range of personnel cleaning equipment in the Irish republic. PCP specialises in innovative technological solutions to protect people and equipment.
In the summer, we work with the press to produce an article explaining the different stages of custom-fan specification – starting from customer enquiry and design concepts right the way through to product testing and delivery. The blog was published in Platform Oil and Gas Specialist and Engineering & Technology. Other pieces are due in CanTech International, International Oil and Gas Engineer and World Cement, and Food Packer and Processor International in the New Year, so keep your eyes peeled for us in the press.
# 9 – Easter Fancy Dress
It’s not all about work, work, work at ACI. We like to have fun along the way too, which is why we organised an Easter Fancy Dress competition and more than half of our staff took the challenge and sent us their photo with their best attire on, for all to see. In all, we received 25 mugshots displaying some fantastic outfits and makeup.
Following a stringent 150-point checklist, ACI achieved the internationally recognised Made in Britain accreditation for its full range of products. Made in Britain brings together the British manufacturing community, united by the use of the registered mark of quality. The mark is seen as an international seal of excellence at home, in Europe and across the world. So, it was no great surprise when The Manufacturer, British Plastics, CanTech International, International Bottler and Packer, Industrial News, Manufacturing Matters, Wire & Cable Technology and Packaging Gateway all ran news pieces on the story.
#11 – 47 services carried out
Despite the three-month lockdown from April to June, our JetBlack Safety maintenance team visited 36 different locations and performed 47 individual services of our personnel cleaning booth, ensuring our customers’ booths were kept in tip-top conditions.
In addition to increasing our distribution network in Ireland, we’ve been growing in Spain and Portugal too. Earlier in the year, we appointed Vianas S.A. as our exclusive distributor for the JetBlack Safety product line in Spain and Portugal. Vianas S.A. who supply, distribute and maintain health and safety equipment, is helping us expand our JetBlack distributor network.
#13 – One year, 783 different companies
Throughout the year, our sales team dealt with enquiries from no less than 783 individual companies, covering 23 different industries. These businesses were located across 63 countries and spanning six continents. This is what we called a global customer base.
#14 – National Safety Council of Northern New England Conference
Although Covid has curtailed face-to-face meetings and events, that’s not stopped us taking part in conferences – of the virtual and remote kind. Our colleagues in the US attended the NSCNNE remote conference in October, where they showcased our JetBlack Safety equipment to a range of health and safety executives. The two-day event proved a real hit. Well done, guys!
Following the successful implementation of four JetBlack Safety booths to Tarmac’s Mountsorrel Quarry, in Loughborough, the company agreed to take part in a case study. In the paper, Tarmac explains the reason for reaching out to ACI, the different stages of development and finally, the design of a custom-made solution to help them comply with their corporate health and safety procedures.
We’ve been as busy as ever testing our products to ensure they perform at their peak. We carried out 36 drying tests on customer product samples and 68 fan performance tests for customer certifications and our requirements. As always, all tests were performed in our comprehensive in-house testing facilities. Beside product testing, our engineering team also created just short of 800 technical drawings this year. You got to love those stats!
#17 – 400 new followers on LinkedIn
They say that LinkedIn is the beating heart of the world of professionals. So, it’s great to be linked in with so many influential individuals the world over. We hope you like what we have to say. Through our various marketing and sales activities, we have managed to gain 251 new followers on the social media platform, for ACI page and 143 for the JetBlack Safety Page. Thank you to everyone for following us.
#18 – 24 new website pages
We like to keep our customers as informed as we can, which is why we’ve been busy beavering away, creating new content. Across the ACI and JetBlack Safety websites, our marketing team have produced 16 new blog posts and 8 new industry and product pages. In these, we’ve covered everything from Health and Safety issues for JetBlack Safety to matters of moisture in the cable industry, and ATEX & IECEX certifications for our ACI customers.
#19 – Team Murder Mystery
During the second lockdown, 4 teams of four people took part in a virtual detective game. Each team worked together to solve a missing person case as quickly as possible. The fastest team took 45 minutes while the slowest team took 1h15 minutes! Next time, we’re looking at a remote pub quiz.
#20 – Online Working
While our team of engineers and production line staff have been busy working diligently at our manufacturing hub throughout the year, many of our team have had to perfect the art of remote working. It’s not always been easy, but just like our amazing team working on the shop floor, our remote staff have risen to the challenge. Working together, we’ve achieved all the above and much more besides. Well done, everyone.