A little-known specialist steel fabrication company based in Armagh City is embarking on a fresh global export drive after cracking the US market with a string of orders for its fast-growing range of Land Rover replacement parts.
Set up by local entrepreneur and product developer Paul Coyle, Impact Fabrications is the world’s only manufacturer of galvanised chassis and bulkhead parts for the former top-selling Defender and Series models of Land Rover which it sells under its ‘Shielder Chassis’ brand.
Carefully designed and developed by Paul and his 17-strong expert team over three years to help extend the lifetime of these classic Land Rover models, their bulkhead and chassis products – the two main structural steel components of the vehicle – are proving to be a big international hit with the company now exporting to 24 countries worldwide.
Established in 1992, Impact Fabrications originally specialised in the manufacture of wind turbine towers before diversifying into this new niche market.
With the lucrative US market in sight, Paul said the company jumped at the opportunity to attend a dedicated US trade mission organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council which has paved the way for a significant swathe of new orders.
Said Paul: “With our own investment, commitment and the support of a great team, we’ve carved out an exciting niche in a key global export market.
“Being associated with a well-established US distributor offers huge growth potential, giving us ready access to a massive new customer base and boosting our products’ credibility.
“Previously, while we had managed individual sales to the US market, larger bulk orders were out of reach for us until now. With the Council’s help and support, we were able to identify and meet face to face with a major US distributor in Vermont.
“Rover North Inc was so impressed with our products that they placed an order during our initial meeting, and swiftly followed this with a second order – resulting in sales worth over £60,000. Further repeat orders are guaranteed.
“Gaining a significant US foothold is real game changer for us. It’s given us the confidence to seek more distributors on the west coast, to extend our reach further and to double our sales by the end of next year.”
Impact Fabrications was one of 10 companies in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough to join its three-day trade mission to the US to seek out export contacts, build relationships and secure new deals.
Other companies which took part include Burren Balsamics, Envision Intelligent Solutions and Lough Neagh Distillers – all of which secured unrivalled on-the-ground access to new networks and opportunities.
Local companies were also invited to showcase their products and services to prospective business partners in Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Mealla Campbell, praised the companies which took part and congratulated Impact Fabrications on its commitment and ambition to succeed.
“Supporting ambitious local businesses which have the tenacity, drive and passion to innovate and export for success is vital as part of our own commitment to support our local economy, create investment and jobs.
“Our trade-focused mission to the US was tailor-made to provide the direct support our local companies need to achieve their export goals and I’m thrilled that Paul and the team have seized the opportunities it brought and I wish him continued success.”
Council representatives leading the trade mission also engaged in a series of high-level meetings with senior international trade officials from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and City of Philadelphia, and met with influential business leaders from Almac, Tourism Ireland and the Thomas Jefferson Institute of Bioprocessing.