New MD sets out £10m vision for Alucast

Posted on 12 Aug 2014 by Victoria Fitzgerald

West Midlands manufacturer, Alucast has capped a major year of expansion and investment by appointing a new managing director.

Former Operations Director John Swift has taken the reins at Alucast, a supplier of sand, gravity and pressure castings to the automotive, construction, hydraulics and vacuum goods markets.

Swift replaces previous MD Tony Sartorius, who after 11 years in the role is now chairman and will be responsible for strategic business development, training and succession planning.

The move marks the next stage in the firm’s development and will provide a platform for increasing sales to £10m by 2016 and boosting the workforce from 100 to 120 employees.

New chairman, Tony Sartorius said: “We’ve bounced back from the recession of 2009 and are now in a position to take advantage of new opportunities in automotive and more companies looking to reshore to the UK.

“John has played a massive role in making the business operationally sound, introducing new lean processes and identifying acquisitions that can help us grow and expand our service offer to customers.

“His move to MD is the first stage in our succession planning and will leave me free to focus on long-term strategy and in developing new opportunities.”

Alucast has invested £1m in buildings, equipment and training in the last year, in order to meet demand from its growing customer base.

This has involved the installation of automated, high-pressure die-casting cells to produce high volume components for the automotive sector, specifically around the desire for stop-start technology and environmental savings.

These parts are being exported direct to Eastern Europe and highlight the UK’s growing ability to compete with low cost countries on price, quality and delivery.

John Swift commented: “We’re really benefiting from the reshoring drive that is seeing many manufacturers look to bring production back here – a far cry from the previous five years where we have been under pressure from Far East rivals looking to copy designs.

“Nearly £2.5m of work has come back from Brazil, China and India and this has dictated the need to move to a three-shift system for gravity diecast parts. The good news being the pipeline is full and the UK is in a great position to be at the front of the queue.”

Alucast, which recently put 73 of its workers through Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) and Adult Apprenticeships, is a founding member of the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN).

The collective, which employs over 650 people and records combined sales in excess of £65m, provides access to precision pressings, castings, design, etching, injection moulding, wiring looms, toolmaking, PCB assembly and electrical control systems.

Member firms include Advanced Chemical Etching, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, FW Cables, Grove Design, Mec Com, PP Electrical Systems, Westley Engineering and SMT Developments.