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Business Strategy

Oven and incubator manufacturer boosts sales with bespoke functionality enhancing design

The Business

Genlab Ltd designs and manufactures a range of industrial and laboratory ovens, incubators, drying cabinets, water baths and other associated thermal products, supplying the aerospace, automotive and life sciences sectors. The business has operated for over 55 years, from their factory in Widnes, Halton.

The Challenge

Genlab Ltd needed expertise from a design engineer to develop an embedded energy module and data logger into their oven controllers which would enhance their functionality and give clients the ability to manage their oven energy more efficiently.

Phil Crompton, Managing Director at Genlab, approached the Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund for support. He said:

“Previously we have had to purchase external controllers and software which has added cost to the ovens. The external controllers also never fitted in the standard spaces for our controller, so unique panels had to be designed to fit them which also required additional tuning from more experienced staff members.”

Specialist Manufacturing Advisor, Phil Anders, met with the businesses to develop a project brief, consider providers and apply for the 36% grant towards the project value. Phil said:

“Genlab operated in an extremely competitive market and investing in the ability to manufacture the specified controller internally would reduce dependency upon oversees suppliers and potential price fluctuations. Additionally, it would help create uniformity of production – meaning less bespoke panels would be required and quicker production and calibration timescales could be achieved”.

The Solution

The business was awarded a grant of £2,727 in November 2019 to contribute to the costs of bringing in the necessary design expertise and the project finished in March 2020.

“The launch of the new module for the oven controllers has increased our profitability as our own product is significantly cheaper to manufacture than to purchase from overseas and we can now also upsell it as a value-added upgrade option, further increasing revenue”.

Phil Crompton

In addition to the expected increase of £50,000 in sales during 2020, the project has also resulted in the creation of a new role in production.

The new in-house production capabilities have since also allowed Genlab to supply a large capacity multipurpose incubator, which was required as part of the government’s Elisa testing procedures for COVID -19. With work taking place in the factory in Widnes, without relying on any third-party units which are currently impossible to source, the team was able to quickly respond and build this from scratch, and have it dispatched in less than four days.

“Genlab are grateful for the Manufacturing Growth Fund and the assistance Phil has provided which has enabled us to manufacture products that are supporting large scale government testing of COVID-19 and the search for a vaccine”

Phil Crompton

The Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund is delivered in partnership with:



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This case study was originally published on the Local Growth Hub website 

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