Smethwick Drop Forge is one of the first SMEs in the West Midlands to gain technical support from the Manufacturing Technology Centre through the CASiM2 programme.
The Worcester-based manufacturer produces highly engineered connecting rods for major truck and automotive OEM’s. Smethwick Drop Forge’s customers include JLR, Perkins Engines, Fiat Powertrain Technologies, Albon Engineering & Manufacturing, Ford and Delphi diesel systems. The demands of modern manufacturing technologies meant that Smethwick Drop Forge turned to the Manufacturing Technology Centre to solve a technical challenge, through this they were introduced to the CASiM2 project.
The Technical Challenge:
Smethwick Drop Forge received a large project for a potential customer that meant they would have to start working with a new material. Smethwick Drop Forge recognised that the CASiM2 project could help to visually illustrate and bring a clearer understanding of the process that would be needed in order to work with the material. Smethwick Drop Forge turned to the MTC and the CASiM2 project to gain support and guidance to ensure they were able to fulfil the client brief while working efficiently and profitably.
Engineers at the MTC looked at whether improvements could be made to their current processes, particularly when using the new material. The engineers at MTC offered Smethwick Drop Forge a way to break down the process of manufacturing using the new material into its component steps. Using process mapping, Smethwick Drop Forge were able to visually illustrate the inputs, outputs, activity steps, decision points and functions that would be needed to work with the material. This allowed Smethwick Drop Forge to trial the material and determines the right process, timings and costing and enabled them to precisely understand how they could best work with this material.
The use of Process Mapping through the CASiM2 project allowed Smethwick Drop Forge to improve their process planning understanding and set the momentum to reveal opportunities for process improvement. Access to the best-in-breed technology and expertise made available through the CASiM2 project has improved Smethwick Drop Forge’s commercial efficiency.
The MTC, through the CASiM2 project, allowed Smethwick Drop Forge to visualise and test the manufacturing process of a new material before investing and making commitments to change their current-state processes. This resulted in significant cost and time savings. As a result Smethwick Drop Forge has gained a clearer path to approach client projects in the future.