Insider's Made in Wales Awards last night (18 October 2012) recognised the very best in manufacturing, design and product development from across Wales. Staged at the Mercure Holland House Hotel, the awards were hosted by broadcaster Huw Edwards. Praising the 220 people present from Welsh industry, he said: "You’d have to have a long memory to recall the days when Cardiff, Swansea and Flintshire were hazy with smoke, and pit hooters echoed through the Valleys. Manufacturing isn't so 'in your face' these days. We still create products in Wales. It's just that the factories and studios tend to be cleaner, quicker, cleverer and quieter than ever before. That’s surely good news. But the fact that industry is harder to see, also allows people to claim that manufacturing is dead or in terminal decline. Not true. We make some amazing products in Wales, from aircraft wings to solar panels and whisky. Tonight is a celebration of the companies that make, design and develop those products. These products are used and enjoyed around the world. They also contribute a lot to UK exports, employ hundreds of thousands of people, and keep suppliers and local economies busy."
Manufacturer of the Year
Winner: Mabey Bridge
Mabey Bridge makes steel bridging. It shipped its first wind turbine towers in September 2011 and it has won contracts with the top four European wind energy equipment makers. "Great story, great products, of which Wales should be proud," said one judge.
Sponsored by: Barclays
Shortlisted: SPTS Technologies, The Royal Mint, Sony UK Technology Centre
Green Manufacturer Award
Winner: G24 Innovations
G24 installed a wind turbine at its plant in Cardiff, enabling the company to make a green product, solar cell film, using renewable electricity. It also cut energy use and stepped up recycling of on-site waste. "It’s the ideal," said one judge.
Sponsored by: WRAP Cymru
Shortlisted: Celsa Manufacturing, Ty Mawr Lime, Peters Foods
Manufacturing Innovation Award
Nuaire came up with a new range of mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems for homes. "Innovation was driven by strategic thinking," said one judge. "Good forward planning," said another.
Sponsored by: Abel & Imray
Shortlisted: Axiom, Sony UK Technology Centre, Tritech
Winner: Invertek Drives
Invertek makes electronic variable speed drives for controlling electric motors and has invested £4m in its Optidrive P2 range. It impressed judges with its novel technology, impact and commercial advantage.
Sponsored by: BAE Systems
Shortlisted: Mesuro, We Predict, Trackyou
Food and Drink Award
Winner: Hurns Brewing Company
Hurns makes the Tomos Watkin range of beers. Despite the downturn it has increased production, invested in new bottling lines and raised its international profile.
Sponsored by: Forward Waste Management
Shortlisted: Brecon Carreg, Welsh Whisky Company, Otley Brewing Company
Creative Design Award
Nuaire redesigned its Twin Fan product to make it smaller, quieter and easier to maintain. The company "recognised it had to do something different," said the judges.
Sponsored by: R&B Group
Shortlisted: The Royal Mint, Peter’s Foods, International Greetings
Medical and Life Sciences Award
Winner: GE Healthcare
GE's FTA coated paper prevents samples from degrading at room temperature. It has taken on new staff to make the product, reduced the time it takes to make, boosted sales and helped scientists to make medical advances.
Sponsored by: M&M Communications
Advanced Manufacturer Award
Tritech makes and designs castings for aerospace, defence and related industries. One judge praised its EPIC process as "a unique process developed in-house in response to demand".
Sponsored by: PwC
Shortlisted: Nuaire, GE Aviation Wales
Exporter of the Year Award
Winner: K Form
K Form has won export orders from the Americas, Middle East and Australia. It has built up sales by marketing over the internet, and enjoyed a 144 per cent surge in exports in a year.
Sponsored by: The Welsh Government
Shortlisted: Chromogenex, Spectrum Technologies, Invertek Drives