Temperature control helps increase capacity

Innovation advisor helps define requirements for new equipment leading to increased year round production levels.

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The Company

Leicester based Lestercast manufactures high quality, precision investment castings in a range of metals and alloys for numerous industrial and commercial applications. Established in 1972 the company now has 37 employees and turns over nearly £8 million per year.

er the past few years, the company has made considerable investment in new machinery and bespoke business systems as well as establishing a successful working relationship with a foundry in China.

h a highly experienced team, a comprehensive range of services and a number of quality approvals including BS EN ISO 9001-2000 and TS16949, the company is a manufacturing exemplar.

What does it do?

Specialists in investment casting, using a range of materials such as aluminium, steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze and nickel chrome alloys, they employ one of the oldest known metal-forming techniques - the “lost wax” casting method. This offers the versatility to provide an effective and economical alternative for producing metal components.

Its products include a range of components for several prestigious brands in both the automotive and marine industries. They also make edges for picture frames, golf club heads and even keys for jails, making for huge market potential.

The challenge

In order to maintain tight margins with orders dropping off in the difficult economic climate, the business looked at ways to reduce wastage and improve efficiency and reliability.

Due to wax melting during hot periods, the business was at risk of potential scrappage costs of up to £30,000 per week and in danger of not meeting deadlines through re-production of wasted products, so needed to remove the influence of external temperatures affecting outputs.

Lestercast wanted to ensure risk was eliminated from production and find ways to gain full control of the manufacturing process from start to finish. The identified solution was temperature control equipment for the waxing and shelling stages of the process. However, with lower sales and increased overseas competition the company was not able to afford the full investment.

The solution

A chance meeting between Chris Batty, Managing Director of Lestercast and Transport iNet adviser Dr Georgette Hall at an innovation event led to a five minute chat about how the business may develop its presence within the automotive sector.

Following a more in-depth, free consultation about the aims and objectives of the business and the need for temperature control equipment, they were able to define their requirements and apply for an Innovation Support Grant of £10,000 to purchase equipment and help to increase capacity.

The outcome

The investment in the new machinery has had a number of benefits for Lestercast:

  • Removed risk of up to £30,000 wastage and scrappage costs per week
  • Enabled a temperature control system to be installed within the factory providing total control at each stage of the production process
  • Provided capacity to increase year round production levels
  • Improved the quality of the final product.

Chris Batty, Managing Director, Lestercast said “Last year we were producing 100,000 units per month for major car manufacturers, but this year turnover has halved due to the bottom falling out of the market. Reducing our wastage costs was crucial to the success of our business.

"We could not afford to invest the full amount ourselves immediately and it would have taken two or three years to do it without the grant, but with the help of our Transport iNet adviser we were able to access help and financial support enabling us to move forward in these difficult times.”

Chris Batty, Lestercast
About the client

Lestercast Factory

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