Frozen – Energy efficiency programme freezes foundry

Workers at one of Coventry’s leading engineering firms are at last warming to their new work environment after donning bobble hats and woollies to combat an unexpected cold front caused by an extremely effective £350,000 investment in energy efficiency.

Every winter for the last seventy years the foundry workers at Sarginsons Industries went to work dressed in lightweight togs comfortable in the knowledge that, regardless of the temperature outside, the 20 x 800C foundry furnaces would ensure their workplace was warm and cosy.

In 2014, with energy prices through the roof, the managers decided that enough-was-enough and an investment of over £250,000 in the very latest energy efficient furnaces with automatic lids, heavy duty insulation, recuperating burners and automated controls was made.

The project was a great success and it was immediately clear that investing in environmental improvements could drive out significant savings.   Consequently a further £100,000 was spent on sand core burn-out ovens which re-used the furnace exhaust gases and the six-figure investment soon saw a return on investment as the previously sky-high energy bills were cut by half.

Initially pleased with their newly burnished environmental credentials it slowly became apparent that all was not well – the factory was freezing cold and the foundry staff were greeted with working conditions that better suited polar bears than the finely tuned casting engineers that they were.

Rather than spending the next team meeting considering the latest innovations in automotive lightweighting Sarginsons’ found themselves considering which bobble hats they should invest in to keep the casters warm.

Anthony Evans, Chief Executive at Sarginsons Industries, said:

“Our six-figure investment in energy efficiency improvements has delivered incredible results for the business but we never envisaged our environmental programme being so successful that we would end up with our foundry workers almost literally needing bobble hats to keep warm.

“This exercise served to reinforce our view that continuous investment that takes account of environmental as well as technological change can make a dramatic difference to the bottom line and don’t worry a few improvements to our window glazing means the hats are no longer needed.

“At Sarginsons we believe that only by investing in our people, by having the most up-to-date equipment and by driving forward technological change are we able to maintain our position as one of the world’s leading diecasters”

The Coventry based firm has invested around £2.5 million in the last three years, amongst other things, to complete a full foundry floor rebuild to allow it make efficiency improvements to its low pressure casting centre of excellence.

Sarginsons was established more than 75 years ago and now counts Jaguar Land Rover, Caterpillar, Bosch, JCB, Aston Martin and Rotork among its client base.