A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Alucast's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Alucast is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Chairman TonySartorius
Gravity casting;
Paul Withey
Alucast is an award-winning foundry based in the Black
Country in the West Midlands, supplying machined
aluminium castings to a range of industries, including
those related to the automotive sector. The business was formed
over 50 years ago and has all the main casting processes, sand,
gravity, high pressure and low pressure available on a single site.
The company was acquired by the existing shareholders 15years
ago as a small subcontract foundry. Upon this happening,
the company found a new energy that grew it enormously –
something that Tony Sartorius, their Chairman, elaborates upon.
Setting Alucast’s sights higher
Upon beginning our transformation, we quickly set about changing the business to
embrace a number of new technologies and invested heavily in organisation systems
that would allow us to break into the first tier supply market for the automotive
industry. This strategy, together with extensive training programmes, has meant
that the company has grown almost twofold since acquisition. More recently, the
company has expanded its existing machining facility to embrace five-axis technology
and has a new non-destructive testing department alongside its advanced casting
facilities that allows it to manufacture very complex, high-integrity structural parts
for the premier-brand sports car market.
Recent developments have seen the company continuing to invest heavily in
research and development as car companies and other transport manufacturers
seek lightweight components to achieve a lower vehicle weight and lower
emissions required by governments around the world.
»Chairman: TonySartorius
»Managing Director: John Swift
»Established in 1967
»Based in Black Country, West
»Services: Casting and
»No. of employees: 120
»Alucast is an award-winning
Highlighting best practice
What Alucast offers its clients
Typically, the range of products
produced at Alucast includes structural,
under-body auto parts, hydraulic valves
and vacuum parts, as well as traditional
gearbox housings that require special
strength characteristics.
The company benefitted from a
great deal of publicity following its
involvement in the manufacture of the
Bugatti Veyron brake calipers, which
were used in the fastest production car
in the world at the time. In addition
to this, it became known for its
supply of parts for the Olympic Torch
for the London 2012 Olympics. This
iconic torch was seen by billions of
people around the world and was
manufactured by a Midlands-based
consortium. The project was headed
by Premier Sheet Metal in Coventry,
with castings supplied from the Alucast
foundry in Wednesbury.
Research, development and
promoting education
The company expansion has been
assisted by investment in personnel
training and development of systems
more recently undertaken with the
assistance of the Society of Motor
Manufacturers and Traders. The
company has worked for many years
with local universities, including
the University of Birmingham and
Warwick Manufacturing Group, where
considerable time has been spent on
research and development in a bid
to develop high-strength aluminium
alloys. This is generally perceived by
users to be a cost-effective weight-
saving solution that will benefit the
transport and agricultural markets in
their goal of reducing vehicle emissions.
This is the reason commentators
forecast that aluminium is entering an
unprecedented growth phase.
Alucast has long been an advocate
of promoting engineering as a career
choice. Our practical work in this
regard has involved local schools as
well as a more formalised approach
with institutions, which will see more
engineering apprentices being taken
on to study in this field in the future.
As a business, we believe that this
hands-on approach must be adopted
more widely by SMEs to ensure
continuous growth in manufacturing
in the UK and create an improvement
in manufacturing GDP within the
economy. On top of all this, the
Institute of Cast Metals Engineers has
opened a new college near Dudley in
the West Midlands to further bolster
efforts to promote engineering.
Quaser 5 Axis CNC;
Anna Izdebska
Faro laser scanner;
Sukhwinder Singh
have seen the
continuing to
invest heavily
in research and
Expansion and development,
now and in the future
The company is now in an expansion
phase which has already seen substantial
business growth. Our recognition as a
secure, value-for-money supplier to our
customers has ensured that we have
secured long-term contracts stretching
out to the mid-2020s. This factor will
see the business grow to £10 million
in turnover and expand its current
workforce of 120 substantially. The
business has built a secure financial
base for expansion and has been
supported in its growth aspirations
by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough
Council and the Black Country LEP. Our
recently being awarded the prestigious
IATF 16949 automotive accreditation
has only added to our supply credibility.
Additionally, Alucast is a member of
the networking group, MAN, which
exemplifies best practice with a number
of Midlands-based companies.
At Alucast, we continue to design,
develop and manufacture a wide range
of structural automotive components.
These high-integrity parts exhibit
enhanced structural characteristics
that have been achieved only by
the continued involvement of the
company’s research and development
team. Our team uses Magmasoft®
casting simulation software
technology, which radically reduces
development time to market and cuts
overall tooling costs to customers.
Frequently within our sandcast
prototype department, digital sand
core printing is also used to reduce lead
times, and component manufacturing
accuracy is measured by sophisticated
digital ‘FARO’ scanning technology.
Often it is also the case that the latest
engineering developments in Formula
One racing are quickly acquired by the
sports car makers into their production
vehicles, and it is our engineering
expertise that assists this process.
All future cars will need to satisfy
stringent emission standards, and
the best way to do this is by reducing
weight. At Alucast, we expect that the
electric vehicle revolution will increase
demand for lightweight aluminium
components. This combined with
continued research and development
will allow us, as a company, to carry on
expanding and thereby provide a secure
base for further growth in our second
half-century, moving – as we typically
do – from strength to strength.
At Alucast, we
continue to
design, develop
manufacture a
wide range of
Magmasoft software;
left to right, Tom Bruce,
John Swift (MD), Neal

This article was sponsored by Alucast. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister