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Automation manufacturer wins King’s Award for Enterprise 2023


An automation company from Suffolk has won the inaugural King’s Award for Enterprise 2023 for manufacturing innovation.

PCE Automation specialises in bespoke automation, repeat automation, and value-added services, including pre-automation and aftercare services to address the varying needs of customers across a range of industry sectors including ocular, medical and pharmaceutical.

Its product handling, assembling, and testing systems have a global reputation for innovation and quality. Founded in 1961 by Ernest James Cook, the company was previously awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2020 for international trade putting it in a select group of companies who have won both the Queen’s and King’s Awards for Enterprise. PCE is a trusted partner to many blue-chip, industry-leading life science organisations around the world.

The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Rishi Sunak MP, recommended that the company should receive one of the inaugural King’s Awards for Enterprise, in recognition of a key innovative project in the ocular sector – which it delivered for a major global manufacturer of contact lenses.

The project enabled the manufacturer of ‘made to order’ on demand (MTO) silicone hydro lenses to reduce its lead times to the end-user and greatly enhance the efficiency, flexibility and scalability of the manufacturing process. In doing so, the company has uncovered major commercial opportunities and an increase in market share. Not only was the manufacturing time cut, but the productivity output was increased by circa 360 per cent.

“The King’s Award for Enterprise is the most prestigious British business award because of its provenance as the Queen’s Award,” said James Cook, CEO PCE Automation. “To be recognised for our contribution to innovation reflects the huge team effort made by each member of our staff to develop a range of world-leading solutions with innovation incorporated across the board – in design, project management, engineering and software programming.”

Employing 99 staff at its Beccles headquarters and 22 at its Lutterworth site, PCE is focused on staff empowerment, achievements and well-being and has exciting expansion plans to develop its site, recruit more staff and expand its presence within Europe. In 2022 PCE announced an ongoing acquisition of an Irish organisation, which will see it become a multinational corporation, helping to expand its geographical presence and diversification into numerous automation growth sectors.

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, supported the application for the King’s Award for Enterprise and has taken an active interest in the company. He commented, “Congratulations to the team at PCE Automation on this prestigious accolade. With a focus on empowering employees, PCE is a business of which East Anglia and Suffolk can be proud”.

In its inaugural year, the King’s Award for Enterprise follows 57 years of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, where previous winners included J.P Morgan, iCandy, Veolia and Willmott Dixon.

The next celebratory steps for PCE include a listing in a special edition of the London Gazette, published in April, which will carry the names of all of the winners. The London Gazette is the oldest English newspaper and is an official journal of record of the British Government. A Grant of Appointment ceremony will take place at PCE’s office (date tba) with the county’s Lord Lieutenant and local VIPs. The Lord Lieutenant is His Majesty The King’s local representative and will personally present a crystal trophy to the PCE team. In addition, CEO, James Cook will visit Buckingham Palace in the summer for a celebratory reception, which is hosted by His Majesty King Charles III.

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