Export boom lands Queen’s Award for Arrowsmith Engineering
Left to right: Jason Aldridge and Steve Jackson, CNC programmer at Arrowsmith Engineering
A Coventry-based aerospace supplier that has pivoted to supply critical parts for ventilators is celebrating after it received the Queen’s Award for International Trade.
Arrowsmith Engineering, which employs 76 people at its Bayton Road factory, secured the prestigious accolade after it recorded a 996 percent increase in export activity over the last three years, supplying precision components to global manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, GKN, ITP and Siemens.
The company’s parts are used in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frames, with recent wins seeing sales rise to £7.6 million and investment in the latest CNC robotics paving the way for 10 percent growth in 2020.
Bosses at the firm believe the Queen’s Award will play an important role in further expansion in Brazil, Germany, Singapore, Spain and the United States.
“This is the highest honour a company can achieve and is a fitting tribute to the strides we have made to become a global aerospace supplier,” explains managing director Jason Aldridge.
“To be able to display the Queen’s Award logo on our letterhead, in marketing material and across all of our communication channels will be a massive boost to our business and will definitely generate new opportunities in overseas markets.
“Importantly, the award is a massive thank you to our staff, who continue to go above and beyond in meeting the exacting standards of the aerospace sector, and in recent weeks, the NHS ventilator push.”
Arrowsmith Engineering, which is part of the Aero Services Global Group, has been lending its manufacturing expertise to support the frontline fight against COVID-19 after being invited by Rolls-Royce Control Systems and Rolls-Royce in Derby to join their ventilator supply chains.
Despite having 25 percent of shop floor staff self-isolating, the company responded immediately to the nationwide effort by creating a dedicated team to produce prototype and production parts for the Smiths ventilator assembly line.
In total, more than 60,000 ventilator components have been delivered and a further order has now been placed to manufacture prototype parts for a new type of ventilator currently undergoing testing.
“Our team are working two, 12-hour shifts every day and night to deliver the volumes expected, with all of the initial parts now supplied and being assembled,” continues Jason Aldridge, who is also chairman of the Coventry & Warwickshire Aerospace Forum (CWAF).
“This has been a phenomenal effort by everyone involved and we have successfully been able to transfer our precision aerospace engineering knowledge to create the necessary tooling and tolerances required for life-saving parts.
“All of this has been carried out with the Government’s social distancing measures in place, hence splitting the shifts in two and ensuring that 85 percent of office staff are set up to work from home. Our staff are fantastic and we have to protect them as well as supporting the NHS.”
Arrowsmith Engineering is a specialist in precision turning, milling, thread rolling and grinding, providing components to aerospace tier 1s and primes in titanium, nimonics, stainless steel, exotic metal and engineering plastics.
The company has also recently been awarded the ADS SC21 Silver Award for delivering world class manufacturing performance, with ‘On Time in Full’ at 98.5 percent and quality running at 99.95 percent for the past twelve months.
Tier One partnership with technology giant
AFRC chairman Keith Ridgway and Siemens Digital Factory managing director Brian Holliday
AFRC and Siemens get connected to accelerate the rise of smart factories across Scotland
The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) has agreed a Tier One Partnership with global technology giant Siemens, aiming to stimulate the uptake of digital technologies within the manufacturing industry and support the factories of the future across Scotland.
Combining advanced manufacturing and digital expertise, the two organisations will work together to increase the adoption of industry 4.0 within the UK supply chain, encouraging firms of all sizes to embrace digital manufacturing to boost efficiency and productivity.
Smart factories are highly digitalised and connected production facilities that use a constant stream of data to adapt to new demands. This brings enormous opportunity for improvement across all stages of manufacture along with back office and supply chain management.
A global leader in technology for industrial automation and digitalisation, Siemens will provide the world leading research centre, located next to Glasgow Airport, with support in kind to the value of £200k per year.
The company will supply innovative software and hardware, in addition to consultancy and access to research, unlocking smart usage of data to improve manufacturing processes. It will collaborate with the AFRC’s digital manufacturing team, sharing expertise and acting as a testbed for de-risking innovation as firms seek to adopt new technologies.
Siemens technology is already in use across the AFRC’s collaborative research and development projects, including the creation of a digital twin for the whisky cask filling process and a platform offering an industry 4.0 based solution for machinery.
Both Siemens and the AFRC are also collaborating with AFRC Tier One Partner Virtalis. Together they are engaging with firms across Scotland and using a virtual reality environment to help firms enhance their decision making and plan for the future using digital technology.
Michael Ward, technical director at the AFRC, says: “As our digital activities have grown, we’ve continued to expand our use of the extensive suite of Siemens software and we’re extremely excited about the new capabilities that this partnership will open up.
“As the manufacturing sector shifts towards a more data-led approach, it’s crucial that we’re working with industry and supporting companies to use digital technology on shop floors to enhance the factories of the future.
“Working with both Siemens and Virtalis, and other relevant AFRC Members and Partners, we are increasingly using innovative technologies within research projects across a range of sectors, while advancing the development of smart factories.”
Alan Norbury, chief technologist at Siemens, says: “We’re thrilled to come on board as a Tier One Partner at the AFRC, providing support from software to training, enhancing innovation and cross-sector relationship building across Scotland.
“The early stages of adopting industry 4.0 technology are often where companies hit hurdles. Working in partnership with the AFRC, we’re aiming to help customers accelerate investment cycles with enhanced access to skills, technology, processes and research that will reduce risks associated with investment in smart factories.
“As the partnership evolves, we’re keen to share best practice across sectors, engage with small to medium sized businesses to develop fully connected supply chains, and further invest in software, hardware and training to create a strong infrastructure that will maximise benefits of the technology to accelerate digital manufacturing.”
Employing around 170 staff and working with over 350 manufacturing businesses, the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) is a globally recognised centre of excellence in innovative manufacturing technologies R&D, and metal forming and forging research. Part of the UK Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, it is the only centre of its kind in Scotland.