Engineering company turns up the heat on future growth plans

A Sheffield-based engineering firm which is developing technology to help businesses recoup thousands of pounds in energy costs has secured a six-figure investment.

Saphex has been backed by Finance For Enterprise and the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

Headquartered at Century Park Industrial Estate, Saphex manufactures, designs and repairs industrial heat exchange units, which are used to help businesses regulate temperature during the manufacturing process.

Recognising that the main purpose of a heat exchange mechanism is to remove excess temperatures generated during manufacturing, managing director Wayne Nelson explored ways in which this energy could be repurposed, helping companies save money on their heating bills and cutting emissions.

He and his team pioneered a solution called Clix, which allows surplus energy to be recycled and used elsewhere.

During trials of the system, it helped one business make savings of more than £280,000 in 12 months.

Working with business lending manager Gurinder Mandir, Saphex secured £150,000 to fully harness the potential offered by the new system.

This money has come from Finance For Enterprise and NPIF – BEF & FFE Microfinance, which is managed by Finance For Enterprise and BEF and part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund. The loans also use the Government backed Recovery Loan Scheme.

Saphex is now targeting six-figure growth within the next 12 months and has embarked on a growth strategy, which aims to see the business double in size over the next three years.

Part of the funding will go towards new software, which will be used to cut the amount of time taken to undertake the complex thermal calculations needed when designing heat recycling systems.

Nelson said: “There remains a great deal of uncertainty surrounding energy prices, and this is having a devastating impact on businesses of all sizes.

“Energy intensive industries have been particularly hard hit, and we felt the time was right to bring a product we’ve been working on for over 15 years to market.

“Having perfected our new system we felt confident Clix could play an important role, not only in helping businesses to save money on their energy costs, but also by playing a part in reducing the carbon footprint of British industry.

“With funds in place, we’ve been able to invest in the vital software needed to bring the product to market.”

Mandir, senior business lending manager, Finance For Enterprise, said: “Although the work Saphex have been producing has been quite a long time in the making, the launch of their Clix modular system is one that could prove to be a genuine gamechanger for energy-intensive businesses, which have seen their heating bills skyrocket.

“Like many businesses, the Saphex team needed to balance investing in new technology while continuing to meet the demand for their Sheffield-manufactured heat exchange mechanisms. The funds will help the business fully exploit the innovative technology they’ve developed.”

Sean Hutchinson, senior investment manager at British Business Bank, added: “Saphex has demonstrated exceptional innovation in pioneering the Clix modular system.

“It has the potential to revolutionise the energy-intensive manufacturing industry, providing a much-needed respite from soaring heating expenses while aiding wider national goals of achieving net zero.”

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