Alucast

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

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.

www.alucast.co.uk

31ALUCAST |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
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.
FACTS ABOUT
ALUCAST
»Chairman: TonySartorius
»Managing Director: John Swift
»Established in 1967
»Based in Black Country, West
Midlands
»Services: Casting and
machining
»No. of employees: 120
»Alucast is an award-winning
foundry
Alucast
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
32 | ALUCAST
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
Recent
developments
have seen the
company
continuing to
invest heavily
in research and
development
33ALUCAST |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
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
and
manufacture a
wide range of
structural
automotive
components
Magmasoft software;
left to right, Tom Bruce,
John Swift (MD), Neal
Unitt

www.alucast.co.uk

This article was sponsored by Alucast. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.