Wind energy contract win for metal pressings specialist
A Birmingham metal pressings specialist has capitalised on its Queen’s Award success by securing a new contract in the renewables field.
157-year-old Brandauer unveiled its involvement in a new project to create wind energy during the official presentation of its International Trade Award by the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands to its 60-strong workforce and family board members.
The company has been working with British manufacturer FuturEnergy to develop thin gauge generator lamination T pieces that help power AirForce1, a 1kW horizontal axis upwind turbine system designed for use in domestic homes and isolated industrial applications.
It’s the firm’s latest foray into the renewables sector and further evidence of its laminations expertise, a driving force in over £1.5m of new export business in the last 12 months.
Rowan Crozier, CEO of Brandauer, commented: “This is a very memorable moment in our history and underlines how parts - manufactured in the heart of Birmingham - are positively impacting on people’s lives all over the world.
“We currently make components that are used in 90% of the world’s kettles, in recon drones that save lives and edge connectors for the dimming of rearview mirrors in half of global car models.”
He continued: “The Queen’s Award reinforces all of the amazing things we do and the outstanding engineering expertise our staff, many of whom have been with us for over 25 years, bring to the table.
“We are very passionate about UK manufacturing and this prestigious award gives us the confidence to go out there and represent the industry in this country against our international rivals.”
Brandauer, which exports 85% of its £9.2m turnover, has seen demand for its lamination services grow from the automotive electronics and search and rescue sectors.
Its relationship with FuturEnergy is the first contract secured to supply complex laminations for a product/system set to be used in power generation and renewables.
Working with the client, the pressings specialist developed a family of carbide inserted progression tools that not only stamp the profile, but also stack the components during the stamping process.
Tooling was highly complex with changeover modules allowing a number of different profiles to be stamped. Keeping the parts orientated flat and without excessive break on the edge of the part required significant R&D and the ability to leverage knowledge gained from multiple sectors.
The process has also benefitted from a £600,000 investment into a new Yamada Dobby NXT 80XL high-speed press.
Rowan continued: “This is a very important contract win for us and initially came through our involvement with the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN). It gives us the opportunity to work with a specialist in renewables to help it bring an exciting new green technology to market.”
“There is a lot of demand for a small compact turbine that offers excellent performance and we fully expect volumes to increase as the AirForce1 becomes more popular.”
Stuart McLeish, Operations Director at Stratford-upon-Avon-based FuturEnergy, concluded: “Our technology is manufactured completely in Britain and Brandauer has added real value to our supply chain - first supporting us on the design, then the development of the tooling and then establishing production of the specialist laminates.
“Its willingness to invest in new equipment and a considerable amount of R&D time proved to us its desire to be involved and we look forward to exploring how we can continue to make the most of each other’s strengths.”