FARNBOROUGH: Olympic torch manufacturer hopes to light up its aerospace prospects

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What has 8,000 holes and spent the last few weeks travelling the length and breadth of the UK? The answer is here at Farnborough - on the stand of Coventry-based Premier Sheet Metal (H1/B14). Premier won the contract to design and build 11,700 examples of the Olympic Torch 18 months ago. The family-owned company, part of the Midland Aerospace Alliance exhibit, was up against several other companies, but took a different approach to its rivals, as key account manager John Campton explains: "We had to attend a meeting at [London's] Canary Wharf. All we had to work from was a drawing. Everyone else went in talking about what they were going to do. We made a prototype and put it on the table." The 8,000 holes represent the number of runners selected to carry the torch, all of whom get to keep a copy. "If you multiply that by 11,700, it means we had to put 100 million holes in a piece of aluminium," says Campton. Premier, formed 20 years ago, specialises in prototyping metal panels and its customers include luxury car brands Bentley, Jaguar, Lotus and Morgan. Although aerospace only represents 3% of its turnover, Campton is keen to increase this at the show.