Energy efficiency programme freezes foundry

Sarginsons Industries staff are at last warming to their new work environment after battling an unexpected cold front caused by an extremely effective £350,000 investment in energy efficiency.

Warming up: Gurshinder Singh Mann (left) and Tirath Singh Kooner (both Sarginsons Industries).
Warming up: Gurshinder Singh Mann (left) and Tirath Singh Kooner (both Sarginsons Industries).

Every winter for the past 70 years, the foundry workers at Sarginsons Industries went to work dressed in lightweight togs comfortable in the knowledge that, regardless of the temperature outside, the 20 800°C foundry furnaces would ensure their workplace remained warm and cosy.

In 2014, facing escalating energy prices, management decided that enough-was-enough and an investment of more than £250,000 was made in the very latest energy efficient furnaces with automatic lids, heavy duty insulation, recuperating burners and automated controls.

The project was a great success and it was immediately clear that investing in environmental improvements could drive significant savings. Consequently a further £100,000 was spent on sand core burn-out ovens which re-used the furnace exhaust gases, and the six-figure investment soon saw an ROI as the previously sky-high energy bills were reduced by half.

According to the company, projected ROI is a 35% – 40% reduction in gas usage during the next 18 months, with £20,000 from the European Regional Development Fund supporting Sarginsons’ investment.

Initially pleased with their newly burnished environmental credentials it slowly became apparent that all was not well – the factory was freezing cold.

Anthony Evans, chief executive at Sarginsons Industries, explained: “Our six-figure investment in energy efficiency improvements has delivered incredible results for the business, but we never envisaged our environmental programme being so successful that we would end up with our foundry workers almost literally needing bobble hats to keep warm.

“This exercise served to reinforce our view that continuous investment that takes account of environmental as well as technological change can make a dramatic difference to the bottom line, and don’t worry a few improvements to our window glazing means the hats are no longer needed.”

Sarginsons was established more than 75 years ago and now counts Jaguar Land Rover; Caterpillar; Bosch; JCB; Aston Martin, and Rotork among its client base.

Evans continued: “At Sarginsons we believe that only by investing in our people, by having the most up-to-date equipment and by driving forward technological change are we able to maintain our position as one of the world’s leading diecasters”

The Coventry-based firm has invested almost £2.5m over the past three years, among other things, to complete a full foundry floor rebuild to allow it make efficiency improvements to its low pressure casting centre of excellence.