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11 Jan 2024

Foundry casts its net for new opportunities following £2m investment

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MAN Group member Alucast has invested £2m and increased its workforce by 20%, as it looks to make the most of new opportunities.

A £2m investment drive is helping Alucast pass the £10m sales mark as it looks to make the most of new opportunities.

The MAN Group member has increased its workforce by 20% to more than 120 people at its base in Wednesbury, has commissioned six CNCs, a HDTD low pressure machine and boosted its ‘new core’ capabilities.

Headlining the recent funding boost is an 800-tonne LK high pressure die casting machine that can produce high integrity parts from a fully automated cell, reducing component handling and making the company more competitive overseas.

It has proved a wise decision, with Alucast already securing a new export contract worth £1.2m.

Foundry casts its net for new opportunities following £2m investment investment
Martin Haynes, Managing Director of Alucast, in front of the 800-tonne LK high pressure die casting machine

John Swift, CEO of Alucast, commented: “We have always taken a long-term strategic view on how we move forward and this, firstly, has helped us negotiate some tough economic challenges and, secondly, is now helping us take advantage of opportunities in automotive, electrification and hydraulic components.

“This is our largest investment drive in nearly a decade and reflects an increase in demand for our high/low pressure, gravity and sand-casting expertise, not to mention our expansive machining capabilities.”

He continued: “The latter is proving extremely important as we are offering added value services for a host of blue-chip tier 1s and the vehicle manufacturers directly. We’re offering them the security of supply they are crying out for.”

A drive for change

As a founding member of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), Alucast was one of the main drivers behind the MANifesto, a response to the Government’s faltering strategic vision for industry. It is a blueprint for making the country globally competitive.

Bosses launched the MANifesto earlier this year and believe the four pillars of Investment, People, International Trade and Sustainability & Net Zero should lead the overarching approach and will form the guiding principles for the individual businesses inside the collective.

The group is now calling on the powers in Whitehall to do their bit to facilitate growth by providing tailored support and by removing some of the bureaucratic barriers currently in place.

Foundry casts its net for new opportunities following £2m investment investment
Martin Haynes in front of the HDTD low pressure machine

Martin Haynes, Managing Director of Alucast, picked up the story: “There are lot of opportunities out there for UK manufacturing, but many of them will require investment in new technology and people to make them a reality.

“At a time when interest rates are high, it would be great to see the Government act and do something to encourage and reward firms who are prepared to spend and improve their businesses.

“With the level of recent capital investment, we now have capacity in our foundries and will also look to push on with other value-added services, including heat treatment, Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) and casting simulation.

“We’ll do the innovation; all the politicians need to do is give us a level playing field and economic conditions that don’t change every week.”

Collaborative efforts

The Manufacturing Assembly Network works together to encourage collaboration, best practice sharing and to promote UK manufacturing.

It is made up of Alucast, Brandauer, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills International, Muller Holdings, Nemco and PP Control & Automation.

Collectively, the group boasts £100m+ annual sales, employs more than 1,000 people and exports products to over 50 countries from its 20+ factories.

MAN can also call upon the R&D and technological expertise of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), which has been an associate member since 2014.

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The Manufacturing Assembly Network is a collaboration of 9 sub-contract manufacturers and an engineering design agency.

Its membership includes Alucast, Brandauer, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills International, Muller, Nemco, PP Control & Automation and WMG.

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