Automotive specialist makes high-profile appointment

An automotive specialist has joined a Shrewsbury-based manufacturer to guide the next stage of its expansion that will include the creation of 20 jobs.

SDE Technology, which provides pressings and assemblies for several car makers and tier 1s, has appointed Robert Joyce as its first non-executive advisor.

The supply chain expert has held senior roles at Rover, BMW and Jaguar Land Rover and will help SDE make the most of opportunities arising from electrification, light-weighting and new model launches.

“This is a fantastic move for us and gives us access to one of the best experts in the automotive sector,” said Richard Homden, managing director of SDE Technology.

“Robert will help us achieve the ambitious growth targets we have set and will accelerate our investment plans.

“It is great to see both the vision he has for us, but also his enthusiasm for business and the way he perceives problems as merely tasks that must be overcome and ones that can indeed aid us to our end goal.

“We are looking forward to exciting times ahead and that includes a recruitment push for twenty new roles between now and 2026.”

SDE Technology is one of the largest manufacturers of pressings and assemblies in the UK, employing more than 100 people at its factory on Brixton Way.

The company has overcome tough trading conditions, the pandemic, chip shortages and energy costs to secure several new opportunities in the automotive sector and is now planning on maximising its latest Hot Form Quench (HFQ®) process.

This is a hot forming process for producing high strength aluminium parts for use in the automotive, aerospace and renewable sectors and gives designers the freedom to create parts that offer significant weight savings, yet still deliver higher structural strength.

It also delivers improved formability in six and seven thousand series alloys that cannot be formed cold. In some instances, it can also reduce the part counts from multiple components to just one.
Because HFQ lends itself to higher strength aluminium, it is ideally suited for the vehicle safety cell in the automotive sector and has also been used to develop a prototype aircraft armrest.

Homden said: ““HFQ® was developed by Impression Technologies (ITL), who industrialised research by Birmingham University and Imperial College London. This is a great example of British research being utilised by British manufacturing.

“You simply cannot form this high-strength aluminium in any other way, unless you use a Super Plastic Forming process. Even then, SPF makes one part every 15 to 20 minutes, where the cycle time for our technology is one part every 15 to 20 seconds. That is a design and manufacturing dream.”

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