Once again the UK foundry industry showed its mettle in a night of celebration, featuring good company, good food and drink and, most of all, good castings. Featuring guest speaker, comedian Simon Evans, the evening went with a swing at Wolverhampton’s Grand Station.
Central to the evening was the presentation of the three awards, for Innovation, Company Achievement and Component of the Year. Co-presented by Pam Murrell of the Cast Metals Federation (CMF), which organises the event, and Simon Evans who also handed out the awards, the awards showed the successes of the industry in all sectors. Technical and commercial expertise, investment in plant and people, focus and attention to detail, all were on display.
The ‘Component of the Year’ award was won by Finecast Foundry Ltd for its complex five casting Transcend transmission assembly for Jaguar Land Rover. The ‘Company Achievement’ award was won by Sarginsons Industries Ltd for its investment and training programmes. The third award, for ‘Innovation’ was won by RSM Castings Ltd for its unique and fully automated robotic core cell development.
“The UK cast metals industry never ceases to amaze as every year it continues to innovate and succeed in the face of uncertainty,” said Pam Murrell. “The commitment we see in all of our many entries this year shows an industry committed to its people, its customers, through quality and professionalism and to a sustainable future, despite the difficult and somewhat insecure times we are working in.”
So who were the winners and finalists in the three awards categories, and why?
Component of the Year
Winner: Finecast, Wick, nr Littlehampton.
The five castings that make up JLR’s Transcend Transmission Assembly are a truly complex casting project featuring complex internal geometry, high dimensional accuracy and casting integrity, pressure tested to 20 bar.
The most complex of the five components is the largest central 20kg aluminium sand casting where, following Magmasoft simulation, both the design and logistics of cerabead core positioning and mould pack integrity were assessed & reviewed to create a workable solution throughout production. Finecast’s attention to detail and logical approach to overcome the many obstacles was notable.
“The whole team at Finecast are all very proud of these castings”, said Chris Heatley, Finecast’s Company Chairman. “It is hard to describe just how the team pulled together to take on this suite of components and how pleased we are to receive this recognition for their efforts.”
Shortlisted in the ‘Component of the Year’ award were Peel Jones Copper Products for their 229kg blast furnace tuyere, and William Cook Rail for its 375kg steel bolster for the Citadis Spirit Light Rail Vehicle.
Company Achievement Award
Winner: Sarginsons Industries, Coventry
Described in the Sunday Times as an ‘outlier’ because of its commitment to do things differently, 2019 has been a year of investment in new technology and people for the company. With turnover up by nearly 50% after a 30% rise in 2018, capital investment across the company both in plant and buildings has been a key feature of the year along with the purchase of a CNC machining facility, new turnkey projects and the establishment of the Sarginsons Technical Centre to support design.
The additional capacity, expanded range of services and investment in its staff, in close co-operation with the National Foundry Training Centre has put Sarginsons in a strong position as it faces the future.
Shortlisted was Alucast for its bold strategic step into ‘lightweighting’ combined with investment in plant and people, and Dean Group International for its growth and focus on H&S and Environmental performance.
Winner: RSM Castings, Northampton
To win a new £1M order for hydraulic components, RSM had to achieve a 20% reduction in costs. To achieve this RSM set about two key innovations at once, a new formulation for its resin coated sand and a major improvement in its robotics.
Working with the resin supplier for its shell core plant a new formulation of thermally reclaimed resin coated sand was developed which resulted in no gas or finning defects, the traditional problem with the component. At the same time the company developed and installed a unique and fully automated core cleaning, trimming, venting, assembly and painting robotic cell, with a cycle time of just 13s. Internal scrap was
reduced by 2/3rds and customer scrap by 75%, the need for chemical cleaning was eliminated and the new sand, combined with the innovative robotic solution, ensured that savings of 26% were achieved.
The two shortlisted companies were CastAlum, for its work to reduce and remove solder in high pressure diecasting by combining additive materials and an understanding of conformal cooling, and Petrofer UK for its flexible new die face lube 5050BS for both traditional and micro-spray uses.