A recent £2.5m investment in its new CNC machining shop is paying off for Alucast, with the new technology paying a pivotal role in helping it secure new contracts in the electrification sector.
The UK’s leading independent aluminium foundry is using its increased 5-axis capability and MagmasoftÒ casting simulation to develop and produce a range of complex casings and housings for high profile car makers across Europe.
Some of these products are liquid cooled and feature complex core designs, requiring high integrity castings that must be leak proof and finished with the latest machining techniques.
Whilst it is early days, the management team at the Black Country manufacturer is expecting volumes destined for electric powertrain/vehicles to account for 25% of its turnover going forward and this is one of the reasons why it has decided to join a new UK cluster featuring Balluff, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT and PP Control & Automation.
This group, which collectively employs over 400 people and boasts sales in 35 countries, will offer a single-source supply chain solution for electric motors, drivetrain components, battery cells, casings and housings, transfer laminations, PCB assemblies and wider infrastructure services.
“Our engineers have been working with the car makers and tier 1s on a range of new development parts that can be used in electrification,” explained Tony Sartorius, Chairman at Alucast.
“Casting is a great way of giving a component strength, whilst helping to reduce weight by using aluminium. We also have all the technologies you need in-house, including the four main casting processes, prototyping, finishing, 5-axis CNC and design input through industry-leading software.”
He continued: “Over £1million of orders have already been secured in this field and we believe we can at least treble this through our involvement with the electrification cluster that has been born out of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN).
“It gives us expertise across a range of ‘in-demand’ manufacturing disciplines and the capacity to take on significant projects, not only in automotive but in other sectors where electric power could be key.”
MAN’s ‘Electrification Cluster’ was launched in August with a major digital marketing campaign and dedicated E-brochure that details the group’s capabilities and supply offering.
This is being reinforced by a number of educational videos and potential seminars where they will aim to unpick some of the common challenges facing companies involved in this industry.
“We are delighted to welcome Alucast to the cluster and are already working with it on a number of exciting new development projects where its knowledge of housings and casings is coming to the fore,” added Richard Halton, Business Development Manager at C-MAC SMT, a leading independent provider of complex, high reliability electronics and system assemblies.
“It’s a natural fit to have a world leader in castings joining global specialists in strategic manufacturing outsourcing, sensors, inspection systems, wiring looms, high volume pressings and laminations and electronic assembly.”
Alucast offers gravity, high pressure, low pressure and sand casting and, thanks to its new machining shop, access to 20 CNC machines providing bed sizes ranging from 400mm to 630mm.
The company’s single source approach has seen it work with some of the world’s leading tier 1 suppliers and car makers, as well as specialists in vacuum products, hydraulics, rail, bus and commercial heating systems.
The MAN Group is made up of Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills, Muller Holdings, PP Control & Automation and Ricor, with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) providing academic expertise, knowledge transfer and access to state-of-the-art technology.
Together, the collective offers a single-source solution to supply chain issues, providing access to castings, contract electronics, design, electrical assembly, forging, hydraulics, injection moulding, machining, PCB manufacture, pneumatics, high volume pressings/stampings and tube manipulation.
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