Automotive Insulations Ltd (AI Ltd) is a specialist in the design and manufacture of innovative noise reduction systems. The fast growing company has built an excellent reputation for introducing sound solutions to noise problems across a number of key sectors, including automotive, commercial vehicles, marine, and industrial.
The team at AI has to adapt quickly to new market opportunities and challenging requests from their customers. They had a requirement to test and set up a new product line that they were developing for the Swedish automotive market. They required specialist polymer chemistry skills to do this and approached us to discover if we had any students or graduates that could assist.
We delivered a summer internship programme so that West Midlands SMEs could access specialist skills for specific project challenges. Through this scheme, a University of Warwick Chemistry student, Shaun Morris, was taken on by the company for eight weeks. Mentored and technically guided by Dr Paul Milne, he was briefed to define the material requirements and specifications for the new product, manage procurement and preparation of material formulation, train AI staff to use the machinery required to fabricate prototype parts, and undertake testing and analysis of samples and prototypes.
Shaun had an immediate impact at AI, helping to implement a brand new production line into one of their manufacturing facilities, along with creating training and operating guidance documents for the new cell. He led an R&D project focusing on how thermal protection could be added to the product and investigated cycle times. He also assisted the company with how they could cost parts in the future and created a marketing video. AI were delighted with the success of the project and through Shaun’s hard work have already employed a supervisor. Another 20 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project and AI hope that Shaun joins the company after he graduates.
Following the success of Shaun’s project, AI have taken on another two interns, Dan Beddow, an Engineering student from the University of Warwick, and Sarah McDougall, a Chemistry student from the University of Central Lancashire. Sarah spent time testing the viability of a number of new materials ready to go into production, and Dan worked on an exhibition demonstrator project for the IZB exhibition in Germany, resulting in a cut away of a MINI Cooper that showcased all of AI’s products in one vehicle, and an innovative touch screen system for visitors at the exhibition to use.
Working with universities is a must for small businesses, you have a resource you can tap into to access new capability and resources they are great places to look for staff.
Jim Griffin, CEO, Automotive Insulations Ltd