Advanced Engineering
Techniques LTD

T. +44 (0) 114 247 5725



The Beginning

Advanced Engineering Techniques Limited (AET) was founded on 28th September 1989 by brothers Jack and Reg Copeland together with David Birch. For many years, Jack worked in the health service as a chief technician in nuclear medicine, with Reg also working as a chief technician, within the University of Sheffield’s Physics department. David’s background was in engineering where he had enjoyed over 20 years in and around laser cutting technologies. During AET’s first year of trading the turnover was in excess of £240,000, employed 5 people and operated out of a 2,000 sq ft facility on Holbrook Avenue, Sheffield, now commonly referred to as Number 9.

Installation of First Laser

Laser cutting has always been at the heart of AET’s manufacturing services. Our first machine was a Laser Lab, coupled with a Rofin Sinar laser source, quickly followed by a second more powerful Laser Lab the following year. In 1996, AET began its long association with the Swiss laser cutting machine manufacturer Bystronic, taking delivery of a ByStar 3015 2.4KW.

AET Take Delivery of First Press Brake

In order to fully support the laser cutting service, we recognised the importance and need to expand into press-braking. Our first acquisition was a DNC90 100T machine from renowned machine tool manufacturer Edwards Pearson, who would later become part of the Bystronic group. This investment was significant for the business as it allowed us to develop our market offering from flat laser cut parts to laser cut and pressed components.

AET Purchase Number 15 Holbrook Avenue

After two expansions of Number 9 in quick succession, it was clearly evident that AET would soon outgrow its premises. The perfect solution arose when Number 15, the neighbouring 17,500 sq ft factory operated by Nucyl Engineering, became available. This was quickly acquired and increased our total manufacturing space to over 30,000 sq ft.

Introduction of Fabrication and Welding Services

In response to the successful introduction of pressed components and in conjunction with a shift in customer requirements, we extended our range of services to include fabrication and welding. This was a hugely significant milestone and the catalyst in our journey which today sees us hold the position as one of the largest subcontract engineering companies in the North of England.

Launch of CNC Machining Services

AET’s expansion into CNC machining began with the purchase of a Kitamura milling machine. Following this initial investment, in 2003 the company partnered with American CNC machine manufacturer, Haas Automation. During its long and productive trading relationship, Haas has supplied us with a full suite of CNC lathes, milling machines, and machining centres.

Holbrook Business Park Expansion

In addition to our planned growth strategy, AET played a lead role in delivering the ambitious Holbrook Business Park in conjunction with Beighton Villages Development Trust, which turned a brownfield site into over 150,000 sq ft of modern commercial and industrial real estate. The entire project was delivered by the York based Shepherd Group and it allowed us to carry out a significant expansion of Number 15 and take our total manufacturing area over 70,000 sq ft.

Installation of Wet Paint & Shotblasting Facility

As AET’s customer base increased, so did the requirement to supply additional finishing services to components. In 2013 we partnered with UK based Airblast Eurospray and installed an 18m x 4.5m Wet Paint & Shotblast Facility into a newly built dedicated facility. The ‘Paintshop’ was developed to give us both the control and flexibility to shotblast and paint a range of items from small bracketry through to an entire 13 metre fabricated vehicle chassis.

Recognition For AET in Yorkshire Fastest 50

AET was listed in the Yorkshire Post Fastest 50. The annual award, delivered in association with Ward Hadaway, one of the UK’s leading law firms, recognised AET amongst the region’s fastest growing firms in the Yorkshire business community. The Fastest 50 award championed our position as one of the area’s high achieving, privately owned businesses, based on robust annual growth and profitability versus sector and non-sector organisations.

AET Purchases First Robotic Welding Cell

Panasonic UK, in association with ICS Robotics and Automation, installed AET’s first robotic welding cell in 2014. The strategic purchase of the TAWERS MIG MAG Welding Robot system was the first stage of an ambitious project to automate essential manufacturing processes. The introduction of robotic welding has led to increases in welding efficiency, reduced rejects and re-work costs, and increased product quality.

Celebrating 25 Years

AET reached a significant milestone as it marked 25 years in business. Our birthday celebrations lasted throughout the year with a vast range of stakeholder events. Celebrations were carried out during the year and included a golf day at Oulton Hall, Spa and Golf Resort in Leeds, a clay pigeon shoot at the Yeaveley Estate in the Peak District, weekly employee prize draws, the commissioning of a special edition batch of Henderson’s Relish and mobile catering vans serving a mix of street foods.

AET Awarded Prestigious 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain Title

AET were named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain. The Inspire award showcased us as one of the UK’s fastest growing and most dynamic small and medium enterprises. The prestigious award recognised our strong annual growth and strategic approach to innovation over a three year period when compared to sector peers.

AET Celebrates 30 Years in Business

Three decades in business was a milestone worthy of celebration, with stakeholders treated to a host of events throughout the year. The celebrations were varied and involved employees both past and present in recognition of the role they have played in the company’s success over many years. Drawing on the successful events from five years earlier, a golf day at Oulton Hall and a clay pigeon shoot at the Yeaveley Estate took centre stage. Other notable events carried out during the year included a night of festivities including fireworks at the Dore and Totley Golf Club in Sheffield, weekly employee prize draws, and a day of celebration on site at Holbrook which saw employees treated to food and drinks from across the globe.

To be continued….