Chemical company in Stradishall celebrates half a century in business
A leading UK producer of fine chemicals based in Stradishall has celebrated its 50th year in business.
These days, as general manager David Bush said, Wychem has a 'unique' presence in the chemical industry in the UK, but its beginnings were very modest.
The firm was started by Geoff Fuller in 1968 in a shed in the back garden of a house in Wickhambrook (now home to Suffolk Trading Centre).
Geoff worked alone for the first year, had one employee in year two and in the third year he bought what was once the gym and chapel for RAF Stradishall for just £1,200 and moved the business to where it still remains today - although in 1970 it had no water or electricity.
Back then Geoff was doing some work for the MoD, making carbon fibre precursors used to coat the nose cones of rockets, which led to the MoD successfully supporting his application to open the chemical factory on its current site.
It has gone from starting in Stradishall with four staff to having 25 and sells to pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer and even exports one product to China -a rarity in the industry.
Wychem also makes materials that are used in hard drives which are exported to Japan and used in OLED TVs, the kind of TVs that cost £4,000.
They also produce a coating used in the motor industry for high-end alloy wheels that stops them from corroding.
Wychem now makes basic building blocks for more complex chemical compounds used in electronic and pharmarceutical chemicals.
Mr Bush said: "There's nobody like us in the UK. There's nobody like us in Europe, maybe we've got two companies similar in Europe but not the same as us.
"The way we do things has meant we've kept going for 50 years when others have not. It's based on good, strong chemistry."