£200,000 robotics investment boosts aerospace specialist

Arrowsmith Engineering in Coventry

A Coventry aerospace supplier has made a major robotics investment to help it capitalise on 20% growth over the last 12 months.

Arrowsmith Engineering, which is part of the AS.G Group, has invested more than £200,000 into a new axis machining centre and robotic cell that will help it boost production speed and increase capacity by 50%.

The company is using ‘lights-out’ manufacturing to run a precision engine part 24-hours a day, seven days per week, supplying more than 200 components every month to customers based in Spain and the US.

Integrating robots into the process has removed the need for a second machine, freeing that up to cope with new contract wins that have seen turnover soar to £7.5m and the workforce grow a further 10% to 70 people.

Jason Aldridge, managing director of Arrowsmith Engineering, said: “I’m a big fan of automation and don’t sign up to the notion that it’s taking jobs – if anything it will make us more competitive so we can take additional people on.

“The Doosan CNC machining centre and cobot system is our first investment in robotics and has been configured to suit our specific requirements for 24-hour manufacturing on a complex component for the aerospace sector.

“It has removed the need for an operator to load and unload the parts and this person has gone on to a different production process that is more skilled. This is just the start of what we hope will be a continuous investment drive in robots at our factory on Bayton Road.”

He added: “It’s made us 15% quicker and given us a 50% capacity boost, that’s some payback already. Automation shouldn’t be seen as something that only the big boys do… SMEs can access it cost-effectively and we need to ‘grasp the nettle’ in order to bring the UK’s productivity up and in line with our international rivals.”

Arrowsmith Engineering is a specialist in precision turning, milling, thread rolling and grinding, providing components to the aerospace sector in titanium, nimonics, stainless steel, exotic metal and engineering plastics.

The company, which has been supported by Coventry University and Coventry City Council on its latest investment, supplies parts that are used all over the world in aerospace engines, landing gears and air frame.