One of the Black Country’s leading aluminium foundries is reaping the benefits of a move to ‘servitization’ and forecasts that it will add nearly 10 per cent to its annual turnover.
Alucast, which employs over 100 people at its growing factory in Wednesbury, has invested nearly £500,000 in new technology to ensure that it now offers customers access to Magmasoft casting simulation, prototyping and heat treatment.
The company has also expanded its CNC machining capacity to offer five-axis machines and non-destructive testing, including X-Ray and dye-penetrant testing.
This strategy is boosting sales and the management team forecasts an additional £800,000 of turnover through customers accessing one-off services or using one element that then leads on to volume production in sand, gravity and high and low pressure castings.
Tony Sartorius, chairman of Alucast, said: “Manufacturing is extremely competitive, so the more value we can add to the customer, the more chance we will have of building strong, lasting relationships.
“Our business model was already unique in that we offered fully finished and machined castings from one source, and we decided to build on this by embracing servitization, developing new services that would deliver extra revenue streams.”
He added: “Working with Aston University, we created a five-year strategy that would see us add a different offering every six months and we have now got to the stage where our customers can tap into anything from simulation software and advanced metrology to our recently launched full assembly offer.
“This approach will soon account for £800,000 of our turnover, which is roughly 10 per cent of our annual sales. I fully expect this figure to grow as more people hear about what we do.”
Alucast offers sand, gravity and high and low pressure casting to a client base that spans automotive, fluid power, electrification and hydraulics.
Part of the Manufacturing Assembly Network, the company is currently enjoying the strongest order book in its 55-year history, and this includes technical support for one of the world’s largest automotive engineering agencies and full casting assembly for a 4x4 manufacturer.
The firm, which has recently been re-accredited to the TS16949 automotive quality standard, is also continuing to support carmakers and tier ones with structural lightweight parts for use in next generation vehicles and electric cars.
Mr Sartorius said: “By offering these facilities to customers, it means we have eased supply chain complexities, allowing our clients to acquire fully functional parts ready for delivery at trackside at their premises with minimal delay.
"We still have lots of exciting plans for further additions, including ongoing training for our workforce, future collaborations with academia and the delivery of an 800-tonne die casting machine – the largest machine on our shopfloor.”