Redditch-based BSA Precision Castings has secured a £1.8m order from Schmidlin (UK) Ltd, the largest subsidiary of Schmidlin AG in Switzerland. A leading global company in the design, manufacture and installation of high quality curtain wall systems, Schmidlin is a prime contractor on one of Europe’s largest architectural projects – BAA’s new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. To position and support the glazing structures forming the walls of the new terminal, more than 80,000 stainless steel castings have to be manufactured within 18 months. Dimensional accuracy, component integrity and cosmetic appeal of the highest standards have to be maintained on each and every part, with absolutely no variance allowed in the delivery schedule.
By any yardstick, this is an awesome task, and involves considerable risk which BSA sought to mitigate by involving Sheffield-based Castings Technology International. This partnership provided Schmidlin with the comfort they sought
at a time when BSA was being acquired by Remus Partners LLP, and created an immediate impact by supplying, free of charge, samples of each component during the bidding process. Produced by customised rapid prototyping technology developed at Cti, the quality of the components and BSA’s initiative in exploiting Cti’s capabilities, achieved the differentiation necessary to secure this large, prestigious order against competition from some of the leading casting manufacturers in Europe and casting producers in low labour cost countries.
“Partnering with Cti undeniably helped us to win and execute this order” attests Ian Siddall of Remus Partners. “The opportunity arose at a time when we were buying the company and 65 jobs were at risk. Now, having put in £60k-worth of effort to win it, we’ve created 25 new positions and invested £250k in capital facilities in what was a failing business. Jobs and investment will increase further with the introduction of Cti’s technology, which in turn will open up new opportunities for us – and Cti as well, because they have proved they can help us to generate business, and we will make best use of all the help that’s available!”.
BSA recognised that Cti possessed technology which would enable them to achieve the productivity necessary to meet the immutable delivery schedules, and which would also allow them to reduce costs. This technology – known as Repliwax® – is particularly relevant to 4 castings which are much larger than the other 43 component designs and which fall outside the weight range commonly associated with precision castings. These are being produced on an interim basis using the installed Repliwax® capability at Cti, while the technology and operating know-how is transferred to BSA. This seamless transition, and Cti’s ‘fall-back’ capacity, provides comfort that there will be no interruption to supply. The availability of this capacity was essential to getting the project off the ground; the early demand for castings could not otherwise have been met and Cti and BSA rose to the challenge of a sudden, two-fold increase to the
agreed output schedules to accommodate changes in the terminal construction programme.
Ian Cameron, Operations Director of Schmidlin (UK) commented: “There were some unplanned challenges along the way but these were overcome thanks to the technical innovation, the flexible capacity and the ‘can-do’ attitude of Cti. Had their skills not been available, we would not have been able to source the cast components for the Terminal 5 Project from a UK supplier. We would certainly welcome an opportunity to work with Cti in the future.”