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07 Sep 07 . MacNeillies, the specialist defence, security and emergency services sector bodybuilder and vehicle integrator, has acquired EPM Technology’s Coalville, Leicestershire advanced composite materials production facility – including its current business and workforce. The Coalville operation will be known as MacNeillie Composites.

Announcing the deal, MacNeillie’s Commercial Director, Nigel Rowley says, “We have been at the forefront of composite materials use in specialist vehicle build for some time. As we grow our activities and market share in the important sectors we serve, acquiring our own in-house capability is a very logical step. We recognise that the operational requirements of the emergency, security and defence sectors now demand the ability to carry ever increasing amounts of equipment and payload, whilst remaining within tightly defined gross vehicle weight limits. The use of advanced composite materials provides a viable solution with significant additional advantages – such as high impact resistance, energy absorbing characteristics, exceptional strength and durability in service”.

MacNeillies was one of the pioneers in the use of advanced composites in ambulances – where substantially increased on-board equipment inventory was required without compromising gross weight, speed or performance. Some of the engineering practice which has been integrated into MacNeillie’s frontline ambulance design will be in incorporated into the new Metropolitan Police Tactical Support Group (TSG) units, currently entering production. Much of the material development and technology used is derived directly from the top levels of motor and rally sport, including Formula 1.

One area where the company will look at the use of composites for special applications is lightweight, air-portable military vehicles and equipment. For normal duties, composite materials offer strength and durability equal – if not better – than traditional alternatives. There are also some significant benefits, such as low signature. However, given a need for a level of increased protection, the base composite structure is more than capable of supporting an appliqué armour kit or other operational equipment whilst in action or in theatre.

MacNeillies will retain the plant’s capability to produce componentry and product for external third parties. EPM Technology will retain and continue its niche market motorsport and automotive activities, which will be concentrated at its development centre at Draycott in Derbyshire.

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