Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK'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 Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK 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


Highlighting best practice
David Watson, managing
High-volume precision aluminium die
casting for the automotive industry
Founded in 1990, Ryobi Aluminium Casting (UK) Ltd supplies
into the European car industry as a part of the Japanese
multinational Ryobi Limited. They currently employ around
500 people and ship over 3.5 million castings per year to
customers across Europe. This is a growth sector of the industry,
as lightweight aluminium castings are increasingly replacing
automotive components produced by other materials and
methods. Here to describe the process in greater detail is the
company’s managing director, David Watson.
Quality is an integral part in the success of today’s fast-moving automotive industry.
High-volume, safety-critical manufacture simply does not allow for anything other
than world-class quality. We therefore build in quality at every stage of the process.
Die design is one of the most critical elements of part quality. We design and
manufacture all our dies at state-of-the-art facilities in Ryobi, Japan. Based on 75
years of expertise we are world leaders in high-pressure aluminium die casting.
Based in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, we have a strong team of automotive
quality specialists who ensure the highest possible quality products. This is achieved
through a range of measurement and evaluation techniques to assess product and
process quality:
Co-ordinate measurement machines (CMMs) measure the dimensions of castings
in three dimensions using scanning technology accurate to microns; spectroscopy is
used to determine the elemental ratios of tightly specified aluminium alloys; tensile
»Managing director: David
»Established in 1990
»Based in Carrickfergus,
Northern Ireland
»Services: Supply of engine and
transmission car components
to the European market
»No. of employees: 500
»Exceptionally high technology
and quality
»Fivefold growth rate since
»Reviewed product portfolio
with a focus on high-tech
»Invested £45 million capital in
the plant over the last 5 years
Ryobi Aluminium
Casting UK
testing and hardness testing guarantee
the structural properties of the
castings; and x-ray technology allows
us to image the parts to check for the
presence of defects below the surface
in non-destructive testing.
Just as important as the technology is
expertise. A strong team of engineers,
technicians and other quality staff
work together to support the high-
volume manufacture of precision
automotive components. With a
combination of personnel of many
years’ experience and newly recruited
graduates and apprentices, we value
each person’s skills and attributes.
Understanding project scope
As a high-pressure die-casting
supplier, we normally begin our
involvement with a customer after the
initial prototype stages of a product
development project. These initial
prototype stages consist of virtual
prototypes as proof of concept and
physical parts manufactured using an
alternative casting method such as
sand casting. It is our responsibility
to advise the customer and support a
redesign to optimise the product for a
high-pressure die-casting process.
The initial stage of this process is
design engineers acquiring a full
understanding of the project scope.
Our design department is part of the
business development group along
with the project engineering and sales
departments. This integration allows
effective communication and sharing
of project budgets, manufacturing
volumes and project timescales.
Review and generation of a
basic design concept
The aim of the design review and
optimisation process is to maximise
product quality, functionality
and manufacturing productivity
while minimising part weight and
With shorter development cycles and
at a time of rapid change within the
industry due to environmental, political
and economic factors, we provide
customer support and design input
from early development phases. This
reduces the time from initial design
concept through to production launch.
Upon receiving a 3D model from the
customer at the initial stages of the
design review, our design engineering
team, consisting of product and die
design engineers, will work alongside
the customer through regular web
conferencing and face-to-face meetings
to fully understand the product
functions and requirements. At this
point we input the basic considerations
and design standards needed for the
HPDC process such as wall thickness,
draft angle, radius design, machining
allowances and datum systems. Using
the data gained from these initial
discussions, the first design concept for
high-pressure die casting is generated.
CAE and digital engineering
Using the HPDC design concept
as a basis for CAE simulation and
analysis allows us to understand in
detail the behaviour of the product
during the casting process. Flow,
solidification, product temperature and
air entrapment are some of the factors
analysed to predict finished part quality.
The combined resources
of the Ryobi Group
enable the design,
development and
manufacture of all dies
simply does
not allow for
anything other
than world-
class quality
Highlighting best practice
In parallel with product design
activities, die design commences. This
simultaneous engineering approach
helps reduce development time and
ensures integration between tooling
and product design. Proprietary
technologies such as the Ryobi Shut
Valve vacuum system and Just in Time
cooling are incorporated into all Ryobi
Group dies, and are adapted to suit
each product application. We use the
global resources of the Ryobi Group to
design, develop and manufacture all
high-pressure casting dies in-house.
The risk for defects such as porosity
or poor fill associated with each
design feature on the component is
analysed using an FMEA approach.
The simulation results along with the
engineering knowledge based on a
structured lessons learnt approach
from previous projects are used as
inputs. These inputs are reviewed
against the customer specification
and product requirements to assign
a risk score to each feature. Our
design engineers work closely with
the customer design department to
develop appropriate countermeasures
for each risk area identified. All options
from process, product and tooling
modifications are considered.
The design review process will work
methodically through a number of
iterations until all parties agree on a
design that meets customer requirements
and allows for mass production by the
HPDC process. Once this design freeze
is reached, the production HPDC
tooling manufacture commences.
Ryobi Group resource – trial
Once the tooling manufacture is
complete, the next step towards
production readiness is trial casting with
the production tooling at our Japanese
headquarters to verify dimensional
accuracy, develop casting parameters
and determine product quality.
The first trial parts are 3D-scanned to
verify geometry, and the die is corrected
as required. At the second casting trial a
dedicated team of Ryobi Japan process
and design engineers begin to develop
casting parameters to achieve product
quality. Parts are checked using x-ray,
audit machining and leak testing. The
Ryobi global team respond immediately
to any improvement opportunities
identified, offering design proposals,
process solutions, CAE verification and
die modification all in-house.
Once quality has been achieved, the
die is shipped to our production facility
in Northern Ireland. To replicate the
manufacturing parameters used in
Japan, all die-cast machines within
the Ryobi Group worldwide use the
proprietary Ryobi Die-cast Monitoring
software. This sets, monitors and
records the key die-casting process
parameters. Using this information
helps our process engineers to
minimise the window from die arrival
to a production-ready casting process.
Throughout the entire project, from the
initial design and development concepts
through to a production-ready process,
our design team apply a theoretical
approach to design optimisation while
utilising the resources available within
the global Ryobi Group to focus on
creativity and innovation to overcome
engineering challenges.
With shorter
cycles and at a
time of rapid
change within
the industry due
to environmental,
political and
economic factors,
we provide
customer support
and design input
from early
Automated CNC
machining process


This article was sponsored by Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK. 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