Zincast Foundry, a die-casting firm in the West Midlands, has secured a major contract after receiving funding from the Automotive Response Programme (ARP).
The group used a £17,000 grant from the ARP to finance the use of new processes on the shop floor that improved efficiency and reduced costs.
The group was also able to look at diversification through the testing of magnesium casting, which it claims provides a number of weight-saving advantages compared to existing methods.
The group said that the ARP funding speeded up the magnesium feasibility study resulting in an £800,000 contract to supply belt sander parts and safety covers for Telford-based power tool manufacturer, Makita.
The contract has led to the creation of six new positions at the company with further plans to maximise sales as a result of the weak pound by bringing international business back to the UK.
Ian Austin, West Midlands Taskforce chair and regional minister, said: ‘This funding package is already making a difference to more than 100 companies in the West Midlands and Zincast is a prime example of the business and economic benefits that can be achieved. Through the Taskforce we have listened to the industry and responded with this tailored programme of support, which I know is providing vital support to the automotive supply chain in these stormy times.’
The £4.5m ARP scheme is being delivered by the Manufacturing Advisory Service alongside automotive experts Accelerate. So far it has committed more than £2.3m to supporting manufacturers during the recession.
The funding is available to companies of all sizes and provides manufacturers with up to £50,000 of support in the form of product introduction, improvements in the supply chain and help with business consolidation
Paul Heath, managing director at Zincast Foundry, said: ‘Like many firms in our sector we have had an uncertain year with sales fluctuating rapidly from month to month. With this in mind, we were keen to look at ways where we could increase our sales through introducing new services and processes and the Automotive Response funding has given us a major boost in achieving this.
‘We have already increased turnover to £2m, created new jobs and feel confident of continuing this growth into 2010 and beyond.’