15 Dec CMF 2014 Award Winners

WINNING DINNER FOR CAST METALS INDUSTRY

With three top award winners and a sell out event, the 12th Cast Metals Industry Dinner was a resounding success. Held at the Manor Hotel Meriden, the room was filled with 160 of the heads of the UK cast metals industry, coming together to celebrate the ‘Best of British Casting’.

The flagship ‘Component of the Year’ award went to Grainger & Worrall Ltd for their engine block development for the Ford US pickup truck, the first CGI petrol production engine in the world. The Company Achievement award went to Thomas Dudley Ltd for their success in turning round the company, investing for success and considerable educational and development activity. The 2014 Innovation award was won by Blayson Olefines Ltd for their research and development of a new investment casting wax with greatly reduced thermal hysteresis.

“The whole event showed an industry achieving world class success in a competitive environment,” said John Parker, Chief Executive of the Cast Metals Federation which organises the awards and the annual dinner. “All of our shortlisted companies in the three awards are doing remarkable work, and choosing the winners from among them was very difficult.”

“The three shortlisted entries in the Component of the Year award were testament to the remarkable breadth of components that our industry makes. The CGI iron engine block from Grainger & Worrall was in competition with a pair of tiny zinc castings from PMS Diecasting Ltd in the Gripple Angel, a new hanging system for use in the building industry, and the massive continuous cast 650-700mm diameter iron bar involving 22 tonnes of metal from United Cast Bar Ltd.” John continued. “Each component is a remarkable achievement, yet all so different.”

 

A Review of the Three Award Winners

Component of the Year 2014 – Grainger & Worrall Ltd
In 2010 Grainger & Worrall was approached by Ford in the US to prototype an ‘all new’ cylinder block concept for a super lightweight iron block for its F150 best-selling pickup truck. This would require taking the F150 engine block and trimming it down from the 5.4 litre V8 to a 2.7 litre V6 and was clearly a massive statement of intent by Ford to reduce its CO2 emissions. At its heart was to be the first ever Compacted Graphite Iron block for a production petrol engine, code named the Nano.

Delivering all aspects from concept through simulation, tooling and manufacturing, Grainger & Worrall delivered an iron block that was considerably lighter and smaller with an architecture of thin walls (down to 3mm) and a skeleton like structure, maximising on the properties of CGI. The block is further characterised by cast-in main bearings, that are then machined and fractured along the centreline to form the two halves for the crankshaft. The two fracture faces are then reassembled for the perfect fit and avoiding the need for cross bolting. The company also developed, optimised and then transferred high yield production methods and know-how to the nominated high volume producer.

The vehicle was launched to the world with great acclaim at this year’s Society of Automotive Engineers Show in Detroit and the project has helped Grainger and Worrall remain at the forefront of CGI developments in engine castings, has demonstrated the continued competitiveness of cast iron for engine blocks as well as showcasing the capabilities of the UK foundry industry.

The other shortlisted companies in this award category were PMS Diecasting and United Cast Bar.

Company Achievement Award 2014 – Thomas Dudley Ltd
A family-owned and managed business, the foundry division of Thomas Dudley Ltd has made phenomenal strides over the last 18 months, investing in its people, equipment and facilities. Faced with a sustained downturn, due principally to cheap imports of low value and low quality parts, the company drew up a strategy for recovery and growth.

Over £7million has been spent by the company since 2010 to equip the foundry with world-class manufacturing capabilities including two new Disa lines, a new Quality Suite and a new Advanced Centre of Engineering for patternmaking, coremaking and 3D scanning and printing.

Named Business of the Year in the Black Country Chamber of Commerce annual awards 2013, the business has achieved record turnover this year and has now returned to profitability.

The commitment to its people and the wider community continues. It has helped set up the ground-breaking foundry apprenticeship training scheme with the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers and other partners; has a Careers in the Classroom initiative in conjunction with Dudley College; opened a Visitor Centre to help showcase foundries as part of the manufacturing supply chain and promote careers in the foundry industry, and has becoming a sponsor of Black Country Living Museum’s Schools Membership Scheme, all in the last 12 months.

Innovation Award 2014 – Blayson Olefines Ltd
Within the investment casting process, the dimensional accuracy of wax patterns is fundamental, yet up to the present time little has been understood regarding the impact of raw materials and the effect they have on wax patterns through wax thermal hysteresis.

Blayson Olefines set out to fill this knowledge gap with an innovative approach to formulating and testing the wax materials. This resulted in the use of two dimensional lasers which significantly reduce the distortion impact when measuring the wax; modified wax formulations reducing dimensional distortion by 30% have now been developed; and the use of a wax annealing method reducing distortion by up to 90%.

This has led to the company developing a new high strength pattern wax with virtually no wax thermal hysteresis currently under test in production conditions which should significantly reduce dimensional variations in the wax patterns and lead to an improvement in the dimensional accuracy of castings.

The other companies shortlisted in this category were Grainger & Worrall and PMS Diecasting.

Pam Murrell
Pam Murrell
pammurrell@cmfed.co.uk