Solihull firm MQP, which makes specialist products to improve quality in aluminium alloy production, has won a global business award for its customer-centric shipping model spanning the continents for the second year running.

The Warwickshire firm was presented with the Best Import/Export award by broadcaster and presenter Stephen Mulhern at this year’s BizX 2024 awards in front of thousands of guests from the business community.

MQP’s success is in its high efficiency grain refiners, which are added to aluminium to prevent cracking, large grain size and reduced melt quality when making everything from high tensile structures such as EV car chassis to foil stock.

The range includes its latest development, Optifine 5:1 125, which has 125% relative efficiency compared with its 3:1 grain refiner, which in itself offers three times more efficiency than standard grain refiners on the market. This, ultimately, adds up to much lower addition rates and cost savings for casthouses.

Chairman John Courtenay said: “In 2016, our limited shipping model was holding us, and our customers, back, and we badly needed to increase the amount of stock we held.

“We threw ourselves into it with a new production plant and processes and today, we hold stock of our Optifine grain refiners in warehouses across the world, including Rotterdam to service Europe, and Kentucky, where there is a high concentration of aluminium processing plants, to service North America. This supply chain has also enabled us to hold stock in Shanghai, China.

“Having stock nearby saves time, money and gives our customers much more flexibility, while installing a new production line at our company plant in Baoding, China, has increased output of Optifine by 8,000 tonnes per year, giving casthouses shorter delivery times. We have worked hard to establish this model, but to win this award for the second year running and against so many incredible companies is very humbling. ”

It’s been another year of growth for the family-run firm, which has increased its tonnage by more than 30 percent in the last two years. Crucially, since last year, its whole range of Optifine grain refiners are now made with low carbon aluminium, meaning it’s manufactured using hydro-electric power or wind power which results in far lower polluting CO2 emissions.

MQP, which was also a finalist in the Most Innovative Company category of the BizX awards, which the company won in 2021 for its mission to improve aluminium alloy production, also takes customers’ production scrap aluminium and melts it down to create its grain refiners, as well as master alloys, which they ultimately buy back.

Optifine is today used in 45 major casthouses worldwide in the production of over six million tonnes of aluminium alloys a year.

The company is a key sponsor of Brunel’s University London’s £4.5m Centre for Circular Metals, which aims to help the UK become the first country to fully recycle and reuse its metals and shift towards a carbon-neutral, circular economy.