Helping to restart the automotive industry
Published: 21 August 2020 - Rachael Morling
Grainger & Worrall, a specialist in casting and materials technology, has used its rapid end-to-end approach to fill product requirements in order to avoid costly delays to post-Covid 19 shutdown automotive production restarts. This has enabled the company, which won a Queen’s Award for Innovation earlier this year for its innovative “Next Generation” castings, to play a key role in helping to restart the automotive industry in Europe.
“We’ve been working in carefully controlled conditions throughout lock-down on areas of development, which has put us in a strong position to be able to respond as we come out at the other side,” said Phil Ward, sales director. “While it’s certainly been a very difficult period for many, we are now finding that our ability to take a component concept and turn it into a fully validated, production item ready for the line in a very short timescale is ideally suited to the requirements from manufacturers during restart.”
The award-winning company has utilised its expertise in casting design & simulation, materials development and dimensional & integrity validation to help deliver new components for vehicle product launches delayed due to Covid-19. “Our rapid turnaround and ramp-up production facilities means we’ve been able to fill gaps in the supply chain which otherwise could wreak havoc with launch timetables,” says Ward. “In one example, we’ve been able to design from concept, test, validate, produce and machine a cast suspension component for a major manufacturer in what would normally been seen as an impossibly short timescale.”
Grainger & Worrall has had a key role to play in new propulsion systems too, as Ward explains: “We were recently asked to respond quickly to the need for a hybrid vehicle battery casing, which of course has a completely different set of requirements to ICE castings. Here, the battery casing is expected to elongate and deform under impact to protect its contents, and we were able to validate a design and start manufacture within days of the request being received, something which was certainly a pleasant surprise to the customer.”
With its site outside Bridgnorth boasting a large, modern machining facility as well as numerous testing laboratories, including a some of the largest CT scanners in the country, Grainger & Worrall’s ability to develop and validate components looks set to play a part in metal component development throughout the recovery. Ward concludes: “It’s hard to see a long way forward just at the moment – who knows what further disruption may lie ahead? But it’s very satisfying to be in a position to help the passenger and commercial vehicle industry to start getting back into production.”