The Wigan-based company secured the award – the UK’s most prestigious accolade for business success – in the Innovation category for its Bisphenol A (BPA) free resin, Curaphen.
Launched in 2013, Curaphen is used for the internal coatings of food and drink packaging.
Following a worldwide health scare regarding the potential harm caused by BPA to humans – with media emphasis directed to expectant mothers and babies, Bitrez developed Curaphen - an alternative polymer to BPA-based grades, for use with non-epoxy-based systems.
Not only does Curaphen satisfy new regulations but it also meets desirable processing and performance requirements.
Bitrez’s exports have increased by 45% in the past five years, with almost a third of this coming from Curaphen. The company has also doubled its capacity and now runs a 24-7 operation to ensure it can continue to meet increasing volume requirements. To date, Bitrez has sold over 800 tonnes of Curaphen equating to millions of food and packaging containers safely coated with Curaphen every week.
Paul Jones, Bitrez Ltd Managing Director and formulator of the product said: “I’m delighted that Bitrez has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise especially in the innovation category. Resolution of regulatory and technical problems is at the heart of our business strategy and commitment to product development. This is what drives us to continue to design products like this Curaphen grade and being able to manufacture an alternative to conventional BPA derivatives with equivalent performance is a great example of the positive impact creative chemistry and ingenuity can have on our lives. This award celebrates everyone at Bitrez who worked so hard to bring the product to market, as well as the loyalty of our much valued supplier and customers who trust in our expertise and commitment to develop innovative products to comply with regulatory reform.”
This year, 201 winners were announced: 129 for International Trade; 61 for Innovation; 5 for Sustainable Development and 6 for Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility). The awards are made annually by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and are awarded for outstanding achievement in each category.
Bitrez manufactures a wide range of high-performance synthetic resins and matrix systems used by world-class companies across the globe. Market sectors include specialist protective coatings, aerospace, defence, automotive and construction.
The company, which was established in 1982, also offers toll conversion services as well as technical support. Its team of highly qualified and experienced chemists can produce materials from laboratory scale through a transient pilot stage to enable scale up and allow for small scale qualification work before moving to commercial manufacture.
Bitrez’s manufacturing plant, which is COMAH [Seveso] and ISO 9001/14001/18001 compliant, comprises numerous reaction units from 3000 – 30,000 litre capacity, along with exceptional cooling facilities to accommodate high reactivity resins.
Bitrez also won Manufacturer of the Year 2019 at Chemicals Northwest Awards which took place last month.
Representatives of Bitrez will be attending a special Queen’s Award reception at Buckingham Palace in June.