The aluminium foundry can now call upon 20 CNC machines at any one time, with five of those 5-axis, providing bed sides ranging from 400mm to 630mm.
This latest equipment, which has been supplied by Engineering Technology Group (ETG), has given it the speed and precision necessary to meet just-in-time delivery requirements of existing and future orders.
The investment will also deliver a 30% increase in capacity to take on up to £3 million of new projects, and the ability to reduce lead times and achieve even greater repeatable quality.
The machine shop was officially opened by Aston Martin Lagonda’s independent non-executive director, Lord Carrington, and Lord Whitby from Made in the Midlands, with staff, suppliers, partners and customers in attendance
Tony Sartorius, chairman of Alucast, commented: “Whilst there are a lot of challenges to overcome in the current automotive sector, there are also still many opportunities for suppliers who can build strategic partnerships with their customers, helping them to design, develop and manufacture the lightweight parts of the future.
“This is what we have been able to do with Aston Martin and a number of other luxury automotive producers and, in order to meet increases in volumes, we have completed our own sizable investment in creating a world class machine shop.”
He added: “What it gives us is complete control of the machining process so that we can cast the part and machine it to the highest possible standard. 24 people will be employed in this area, including operatives, supervisory staff and an apprentice, with more jobs set to follow shortly.”
Alucast will use the additional capacity to provide thin-walled lightweight castings for Aston Martin in South Wales, as well as new components for Lotus and low-pressure work for Morgan.
The new lightweight contracts should see the business work towards £8.5m sales, with automotive clients joined by a raft of customers in agriculture, hydraulics and the oil and gas industry.
John Swift, managing director at Alucast, continued: “It would be quite easy for us to let the uncertainty rule our decisions, but that would be a mistake and mean we lose ground on our international rivals.
“The £2.25 million we’ve invested in the new machining shop, associated R&D projects and casting facilities is absolutely vital to keeping us at the forefront of the supply chain and in a solid position to continue to grow our base in the Black Country.
“We have to be proactive in supporting our clients with their ambitious expansion plans and this investment does just that.”
Alucast is part of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, an eight-strong group of subcontract manufacturers and an engineering design agency who work together to win orders and share best practice and resource.
Its membership also includes Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, Kimbermills International, Muller Holdings, PP Control & Automation and Ricor.
Manufacturing Assembly Network www.man-group.co.uk