Ellough Road,
NR34 7TE

Contact Details

Tel: +44(0)1502 713287
Social Media: @pce-group

Winners Of

  • 2020 International Trade

Where it all began?
Founded in 1961 by Ernest James Cook, Poolcraft took the first steps of what has become a family odyssey, in building the PCE GROUP of Companies. Poolcraft started life as builders of leisure boats, enjoyed by thousands of British tourists and holiday makers who visited the world-famous waterways of the Broads National Park in Norfolk and Suffolk.
As lifestyles changed and international travel – in the form of foreign package holidays – became more accessible, the business needed to find a new direction. The subsequent sharp decline within UK tourism promised a difficult time for the business and the Cook family.
In 1981, Poolcraft diversified into engineering, producing automated packaging machinery for local companies, gradually expanding expertise and clientele toward more advanced modes of automation. This transformation required a new image and in the first half of 1992 (under the 2nd generation of the Cook family), Poolcraft Engineering moved from Beccles Riverside and invested in a purpose-built facility in the industrial area of Ellough (the company’s current home) Following a boardroom reshuffle in 1994, current MD James Cook joined the Board and the business achieved its first financial milestone of £1M turnover with a small team of 15 engineers.
Poolcraft Engineering also became PCE Automation Ltd, kick-starting the addition of a second factory to accommodate unprecedented demand. PCE had emerged as a market leading automation manufacturer.

Fresh Impetus
Along with the addition of two new directors, a board level reshuffle in 2016 saw current MD James Cook take the helm. This move kick-started the most ined and unapologetic period of exponential growth in PCE’s history.
In 2018, PCE Automation Ltd formed The PCE GROUP of Companies by acquiring well respected UK engineering companies Premier Bowl Feeders Ltd and db automation Ltd. The synergies and shared family values of these acquisitions helped to complete the puzzle in terms of what PCE is able to offer.
From project design (including full project management) to delivery; PCE boasts total in-house capabilities, meaning shorter lead times and a swifter return on investments for clients.
The PCE GROUP operates within a number of sectors, producing cutting edge, world-class automated solutions for:

• Ocular, Medical and Pharmaceutical Industries,
• Laboratory and Clean Room Environments,
• Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG),
• Industrial Automation Sector.
Accredited in Quality Management and as a Safe Contractor, the PCE GROUP demonstrates an unwavering commitment to the highest standards and to the environment. The company commits to the use of recyclable and sustainable materials throughout all locations and promotes these principles within its automation designs and throughout its supply chain.

International Emergence
With customers spanning the UK, mainland Europe, North America and Central and Southern America; PCE’s overseas growth has seen exports increase from 3.5% to an impressive 36% in a short time frame. The recent addition of Hungary as a new territory shows the firm’s sights are firmly trained on continuing a sustained period of growth.
Enjoying a number of collaborative alliance partnerships with international leading brands, such as Mitsubishi, Festo and Rockwell; PCE continuously strives to be ahead of the technological curve.
It has built a strong reputation for Research & Development, underpinned by its vastly experienced technical team, which includes a newly appointed Applications Engineering Department.
MD James Cook is an alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program and credits this period of learning for his ‘Think Bigger’ mindset, which has arguably unlocked the most substantial and sustained period of growth in PCE’s history.
“We have built a reputation based on strong family values and the best of UK Manufacturing,” he says. “In increasing our export activities to the USA and South America, we have sought to showcase the best the UK has to offer in innovation, reliability, fine craftsmanship and unrivalled customer support.”
Exports in 2019 accounted for 73% of total sales and included a number of high-value sales to new territories like Hungary, Costa Rica and Poland. PCE is further encouraged by the new markets it has been able to disrupt and is positively braced for the increased exposure that the Queens Award for Enterprise promises to bring.

Team PCE
The overall success of The PCE GROUP is, in no small part, due to the richly experienced technically skilled personnel, across Design, Project Management, Engineering and Software Programming, all perfectly complemented by the firm’s diverse support functions such as Accounts, HR, Quality, Sales and Marketing.
The PCE GROUP also invests in the engineers of tomorrow, having supported the employment of apprentices for over 30 years. Currently employing eight apprentices across the business, many individuals in the existing workforce have progressed through the company’s training programmes and have continued their career as part of the family. PCE is also committed to the New Anglia Youth Pledge & 5% Club. These initiatives provide opportunities and improve the life chances of young people in the UK.
Technical Director David Nolloth has progressed from an apprentice to board member – this is a fine example of how firmly PCE believes in the development of those who wish to progress.

What next for the PCE GROUP?
MD James Cook comments: “We are keen to capitalise on new opportunities for global expansion; continuing to prove that UK Engineering is the very best in the world and can compete against all comers.” He added: “The Queen’s Award for Enterprise has acknowledged our achievements in International Export and underlines our ambitions to unlock further growth potential and disrupt new territories and emerging markets.”
MD of db automation Ltd and Premier Bowl Feeders Ltd, Nick Parker acknowledges: “Our strong sales performance has increased due to a committed investment in people and recruitment of highly skilled team members. We are using the latest cutting-edge technologies in all our products to offer the highest levels of automation excellence, much to the benefit of UK and global economies.”

What was it like to receive the Queen’s Award?
Award author and Quality Manager Steve Mortlock commented: “The entire team were absolutely thrilled. Customers have been fulsome with their best wishes, acknowledging our hard work and strong team ethic. Receiving the Queen’s Award underlines the progress we have made and will continue to make, working together to engineer a bright and secure future through automation.”
Proudly “Your partner in automation….”