Automotive parts manufacturer upcycles waste into sustainable art

Posted on 23 Feb 2023 by The Manufacturer

A family-owned West Midlands automotive manufacturer is transforming unused parts into sculptures, thanks to a six-figure funding package from Lloyds Bank.

Birchills Automotive has been trading in Walsall for 130 years, manufacturing exhaust systems for the car and motorcycle industry. The business also uses computer aided design and 3D printing to produce working models that support clients with the design process.

To further its commitment to a more sustainable industry, the business has launched a project called Birchills Sculptures & Metal Restorations.

By repurposing unused metal from its manufacturing process, the firm makes and sells handcrafted designs using recycled 304 aircraft grade stainless steel which otherwise would have gone to waste. From garden products including planters, pots and furniture to bespoke sculptures and decorative items for the home, all items are weather-proof and created by the business’ in-house custom design team.

Oliver and Ghost
Oliver and Ghost

Since the project began 18 months ago, it has gone from strength to strength, and to further support growth, the business plans to exhibit in the UAE in the coming months – developing its client base even further.

Director Andrew Wellings’ son, Oliver, sparked the concept of repurposing waste material into impressive sculptures when he joined the company back in 2021. His passion for design and a more sustainable future pushed him to rethink how excess material is disposed of.

Lloyds Bank is supporting Birchills Sculptures & Metal Restorations to sell the designs internationally with an overdraft and credit card package that will allow them to exhibit overseas.

Andrew Wellings, Director at Birchills Automotive said: “When Oliver joined the company, his eye for creativity spotted that unused metal from exhaust parts could be completely transformed into beautiful sculptures. He soon got to work and began to create extraordinary monuments from the waste product.

“We have a long-standing relationship with Lloyds Bank dating back more than 40 years. The recent support has been truly invaluable as it allowed us to not only create another revenue stream, but also turn waste into something beautiful. The automotive industry has a lot of work to do to reduce emissions, so we’re pleased to do our part by recycling unused products to produce something that will last.”

Lloyds Bank has been working with Birchills for over 40 years and this new six-figure overdraft facility has been put in place to support the business as it rapidly grows. Financial aid in the form of credit cards has also been put in place to cover export and travel in the UAE.

Since the project began less than two years ago, it’s already received a lot of overseas interest. One sculpture has been sold in the UAE and another of is set to be purchased by a client in the USA for a six-figure sum.

Rob Taylor, Relationship Director at Lloyds Bank said: “This is such an exciting project to be part of. As the manufacturing industry heads towards its goal of achieving net zero by 2050, we’re proud to support Birchills Automotive as they continue to find new and unique ways of reducing waste whilst capitalising on growth opportunities in the process.”

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