ARROWSMITH ENGINEERING: £200,000 robotic investment boost jobs

“We’re taking on more people for higher skilled jobs as automation makes us more competitive,” says the manufacturer’s managing director Jason Aldridge who is aiming for £9 million turnover in 2020 after it rose 49 per cent last year. This follows £200,000 investment in digital production and restructure of the Coventry-based precision engineering operation that supplies components for aircraft engines and braking systems to customers in the US, Singapore and Europe.

The robotic investment has made me see how in the next few years we can become a mass volume manufacturer ourselves right here in Britain

Jason Aldridge

Formerly a family firm supplying Rolls Royce for over 40 years, it is now part of AS.G Group (Aero Services Global), a collective of engineering businesses in the aerospace, automotive and defence markets. 

“We’re a small player making for clients that are global Tier 1 manufacturers. They have to be sure, for example, that the parts we supply won’t move at 1,400°C. Increasingly they want big companies they can trust for the long term,” explains Aldridge of his future-proofing move. 

“Being part of a group gives us that clout, access to a pool of different services and bigger opportunities. Exports are up 400 per cent which has helped cushion some of the Brexit uncertainties.” 

Part of a major equipment installation, the Doosan robotic cell and machining centre will boost capacity by 50 per cent.

“This is our first investment in robotics and it has exceeded all our expectations,” says Aldridge.

“We have increased our workforce by 10 per cent to almost 70. Integrating robotics has removed the need for a second piece of equipment and the operator responsible for loading and unloading the machine has moved on to a more skilled job.”

Arrowsmith’s location at the heart of British manufacturing and its expertise in forging partnerships, have enabled it “to perform way above its size”, he also observes.

With support from the EU-backed Manufacturing Growth Programme for smaller firms it has improved its training and introduced leaner production processes.     

Help from Warwick Manufacturing Group and a strategy course with the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School have led to a new business plan for its global offering and an additional outsourcing partner in India. 

All have contributed to Aldridge’s wider ambition.

“We’re a developer, the one that creates a production ready part at production level costs,” he explains.

“But the robotic investment has made me see how in the next few years we can become a mass volume manufacturer ourselves right here in Britain.”

The Manufacturing Growth Programme now has £11.8 million of additional support available for SMEs.

The backing involves quality assistance from a local Manufacturing Growth Manager with years of industry experience.

Areas covered include an array of projects such as continuous improvement, change, environment, sustainability, productivity and capacity, quality and strategy, for more visit 

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