A company that tripled the size of its business in weeks to support the UK Covid-19 effort was named as the ‘Best of British Casting’ at the recent UK Cast Metals Industry Awards 2022.
Andover-based MRT Castings secured ‘Company of the Year’, impressing judges with the way it scaled up rapidly to supply cast aluminium components to one of the world’s largest producers of critical care ventilators.
Bosses at the firm invested over £3.5m in two additional diecasting cells, seven additional CNC machines and recruited 45 staff to meet huge increases in volumes that saw it grow from £7.8m to £20.8m in a matter of months.
Organised by the Cast Metals Federation, there were also major accolades for Sarginsons Industries’ digital twin activities (Innovation) and Atkinson Vos who, working in partnership with The Boro Foundry, ADI Treatments, Partline and Lancaster University, claimed the ‘Component of the Year’ title.
The award-winning part is a 3-point linkage power lift arm for Unimog, which produces a range of multi-purpose tractors, trucks and lorries used in agriculture, forestry and rail sectors.
Initially a steel fabrication, consisting of 9 laser-cut parts, the component was inelegant and prone to distortion and failure.
By converting it from a fabrication to a casting in Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), the new cast design is four times stronger in the critical areas, whilst being lighter due to the inherent stiffness of the ADI compared with the steel equivalent.
CMF Chairman and CEO of Castings PLC Adam Vicary opened the celebration dinner at the Drayton Manor Resort: “Despite the gloomy economic predictions, the majority of our foundries are doing well, and this is typified by the quality and innovation of our finalists.
“We can clearly see a commitment to innovation and problem solving, working with customers and embracing new technology from all our winners, not to mention a willingness to collaborate, develop workforces and push forward with sustainability.”
He continued: “The castings and foundry industry can be part of the solution to growth for the UK. And let’s remember, our sector makes all the components a modern economy depends upon, and metals recycle forever.”
The UK Cast Metals Industry Awards, which attracted nearly 200 guests, focused on the great castings being manufactured in metal by UK foundries, and their huge achievements in innovation, growth and component performance.
Co-presented by Dr Pam Murrell of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF) and comedian Patrick Monahan, the evening clearly showcased the successes of the sector and its evolving impact on UK manufacturing.
This was typified by the Innovation winner, with Sarginsons Industries recognised for the way it has embraced the latest 4.0 digital platforms.
Based in Torrington Avenue in Coventry, the company took the strategic decision to invest in a series of digital twin activities that was fundamental in developing business strategy and improving supply chain management.
The new enhanced ‘design for manufacture’ not only includes the traditional aspects of design and simulation, but also now features property simulation, data mapping to client’s computer-aided engineering software and integrated optimised topography – all conducted before tooling manufacture.
Importantly, judges were really impressed with the way the automotive supplier has worked with leading UK universities and involved many of its apprentices, interns and graduates.
Anthony Evans, Chairman at Sarginsons Industries, said: “Our customers are now able to make informed decisions on design suitability, leading to significant lightweighting, through reduced safety factors, and critical reductions in development timescales. In fact, one of our clients has described this development as ‘the most exciting innovative concept in aluminium casting in the last 30 years’!”
The final element of the evening was a presentation from William Cook Cast Products on its work in making ‘Shiny Sheff’ – a memorial to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the HMS Sheffield during the Falklands conflict with the loss of 20 personnel.
Both the base and the crests were cast by the company in stainless steel and the memorial is now located at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
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