It’s fair to say 2020 is not what any of us were expecting but here at Sarginsons we’ve continued to invest and grow, despite all of the challenges that we have faced.
We traded through the initial lock down period, opening manufacturing back up with to meet Aston Martin’s demands for the AM8 at their Saint Athan plant.
Elsewhere, there were Asian supply chain shortages due to Covid-19 that could have held up production for Stafford-based Perkins Engines, but we managed a rapid turnaround in locally produced tooling, enabling the engine builds to continue.
The new accounts we achieved during 2019 kept us busy during the lockdown period, including increased demand for components from Panaltex and its refrigerated delivery vehicles.
New business opportunities increased during the second half of the year, both in terms of series demand, prototype builds and our ability to offer Design for Manufacture (DfM) capabilities. This is an area that we believe will become even more popular in the future.
We took the opportunity to strengthen our MagmaSoft modelling capabilities, with online coaching and the investment of £100k in a MagmaStress stress seat and further MagmaSoft technology.
MagmaStress has provided a new competitiveness advantage and is enabling us to communicate live data to OEMs for stresses and mechanical properties as opposed to traditional fixed data inputs.
We took the decisions to utilise the downturn to commence the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Levels (NMCL) which is a business wide development programme to deliver optimum business operating systems. The programme is already achieving positive outcomes and MS365 Power Bi technology for modern reporting techniques.
Enquiry levels for complex chassis systems have been extremely high and this, in turn, has initiated an advanced research programme via Design of Experiments in conjunction with Brunel University, to enable us to develop high ductility alloys to meet the OEMs’ demand levels with our sandcast prototype processes.
New product introduction programmes have commenced with global OEMs including US, Chinese and Scandinavian companies. All of these programmes have started with DfM orders and are leading into prototype build demand.
Our supply partnership with Char.gy continued to growth both in terms of build levels and also the development of new concepts for vehicle charging which will be launched in early 2021.
The year has closed with us being successful on an InnovateUK ARMD programme to design and develop EV chassis applications for Lotus Cars, and complete new concepts for battery tray and chassis architecture.
While continuing to deliver for our customers, employee health and welfare has been a key priority throughout the year with a HM Inspector virtual audit confirming full compliance to government guidelines. Employee development continued with three additional IATF auditors successfully completing their examinations.
Capital investments have also continued in metallurgical, metrology and automation programmes. We are very pleased that, in the eye of an international storm, we have continued to invest in technology, in people and in our future.
Next year will see Sarginsons embark on a further Catapult R&D programme with Brunel University and Sheffield University, which will be focused on aerospace programmes and high integrity aluminium castings.
It means that we can look forward to 2021 with optimism as we work with partners to deliver new light weight solutions for manufacturing as we look to continue growing.