Maidstone based company GP Acoustics UK Limited, manufacturers of KEF Audio products, has been named the best manufacturing business in the country in a prestigious award ceremony in London.

The company not only won the Innovative Operating Practices Award at the national final of the EEF Future Manufacturing Awards 2011, but it was also named the ‘winner of winners’ – an accolade that puts it right at the top of manufacturing performance.
The annual awards are hosted by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and recognise excellence in enterprise, innovation, environmental performance and skills development among UK manufacturers.

KEF (whose initials stand Kent Engineering & Foundry) won the Innovative Operating Practices Award primarily for developing and implementing new technology and manufacturing processes to break into a high-end market sector with its acclaimed Blade loudspeaker. The judges were impressed with this story of how an innovative process led to an out-of-the-box idea of producing a new loudspeaker made of composite material, which greatly improved acoustic performance. They also agreed that GP Acoustics/KEF was an inspiring example of a company empowering the next generation of UK engineers.
Barry Dock, Head of Project/Mechanical Engineering at GP Acoustics said: “We are delighted to win both awards and particularly to receive the accolade of best performing manufacturer in the UK. Following our success, KEF is committed to the further application of advanced materials and techniques – a key differentiator in the high-end loudspeaker market.”

Jim Davison, South East Region Director for EEF, added: “Congratulations to GP Acoustics on winning both awards. It’s a real feather in the cap of the South East manufacturing sector and it clearly illustrates the value of supporting a sector made up of 45,000 businesses contributing £45 billion to the UK economy.”

The KEF Blade is an engineering tour de force, and the result of five year’s exhaustive testing, expert analysis and intricate experimentation by the UK based research and development team. At the heart of the Blade is its Single Apparent Source technology. For highest quality sound reproduction the individual driver sections (for bass, midrange and treble) of a multi-way loudspeaker must work together and need to produce sound-fields that appear to come from the same point in space. This is particularly important at the crossover frequencies where the sound output switches from one driver to another. The Single Apparent Source technology is a perfect extension of the new, fully pistonic KEF Uni-Q® MF/HF array, which brings the bass drivers into the picture for the first time. Together they combine to form a seamless point source driver array handling the entire frequency range.