A firm specialising in building automation is celebrating after scooping a top business award for its export efforts.

Fourth generation family business PCE Automation, based at Beccles, was presented with The Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

The International Trade accolade was awarded in 2020 for outstanding growth in overseas sales over the last three years but the presentation ceremony by Suffolk’s Lord Lieutenant Clare, Countess of Euston, was delayed to Monday, August 2, 2021, because of the pandemic.

Lady Euston presented the award to PCE Group managing director James Cook as the £10m turnover company celebrates its 60th year.

The firm — which employs 93 staff — gathered the team at its Beccles headquarters and virtually at its East Midlands office to mark the event.

The company began as a luxury boat builder but moved into automation which became its specialism. It designs and makes automation for sectors including Fast Moving Consumer Goods (or packaged consumables), industrial, print and medical and pharmaceuticals.

Lady Euston — who presented the award on behalf of the Queen — congratulated the business for employing apprentices and nurturing talent, as well as for its longevity and willingness to adapt.

“The East of England is full of innovation, entrepreneurship and ideas, and it is companies like the PCE Group that lead by example and are at the forefront of our ambitions for global growth. This award recognises your leadership and worldwide reputation for innovation and quality in the manufacture of world-class automation,” she said.

“It also celebrates how you have built and maintained some of the UK’s strongest and most successful supplier alliances — many with high profile international brands. And it recognises how PCE has championed new and innovative partnerships — most recently with the University of East Anglia to revolutionise drug treatments and with ENGEL the market-leading manufacturers of high spec injection moulding machinery for the high-performance plastics industry.”

Mr Cooke thanked Lady Euston and Deputy Lieutenant Mark Pendlington for their efforts in championing Suffolk, and praised the entrepreneurship and inventiveness of his team, which he said ran through the veins of the business.

“I have the utmost pride and respect for the PCE team that have made receiving this award possible. It really exemplifies our world-leading engineering and innovative work that has places us at the forefront of UK automation,” he said.

“To think it has been 60 years since Ernest James Cook founded Poolcraft as a boat hire enterprise and, now we are here today as a global exporter of bespoke automation solutions receiving the Queen’s Award for Enterprise from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant is a special feeling.”

The business’s “ground-breaking” and “innovative” engineering was world-leading and typified the excellence in Suffolk, he added.

The company was presented with the crystal bowl and a scroll signed by the Queen and the prime minister and Lady Euston was given a tour of the factory and met staff.

If you would like to nominate a business for the 2022 Queen’s Awards, visit here and get in your form by mid September.