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Great design flexibility and exciting innovative conept recognised as Best of British Casting

A new austempered ductile iron casting that is four times stronger in critical areas and lighter than the steel fabricated part it has replaced has picked up the Component of the Year Award at the 2022 Castings Industry Awards in the UK.

The part is a Unimog three-point linkage power lift arm, weighing 54kg, for the agricultural, forestry and rail sectors. It is the culmination of work by Atkinson Vos, in partnership with ADI Treatments Ltd and The Boro’ Foundry, supported by Partline and Lancaster University.

Initially a steel fabrication, consisting of nine laser-cut parts, the component was inelegant and prone to distortion and failure. In converting the part from a fabrication to a casting in austempered ductile iron (ADI), the new cast design is four times stronger in the critical areas, whilst being lighter, due to the inherent stiffness of the ADI compared with the steel equivalent. A tie bar was incorporated into the design to reduce movement during austempering.

The use of casting as the ‘route to manufacture’ now allows for greater design flexibility for variants for the customer, greater reliability and a cleaner geometry, with the additional possibility for the client’s logo to be ‘cast on’, and larger batches are now viable on a reduced timescale.

The judges particularly liked the fact that students from Lancaster University were involved in the design for casting feasibility.

Picking up the award on behalf of all concerned Sam Edwards of The Boro’ Foundry said: “It is an honour to win for such a small foundry. This means a great deal to the team, and it is great to celebrate the achievements of our industry.”

Shortlisted in the Component of the Year category was CastAlum for a torque driver high housing. The part is one of a group of four components making up the chassis torque drive assembly for a premium electric car. Other entries were from Norse Precision, The Boro’ Foundry, Cosma Casting UK, Lestercast Ltd, and William Cook Cast Products.



MRT Castings Ltd won the Company Achievement Award for their critical role in the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic as a supplier of a large suite of cast components to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of critical care ventilators.

To scale up to meet demand, MRT needed to triple the size of the business in a matter of weeks. Turnover went from £7.6m to £20.8m, partly enabled by the fortuitous investment in the new facility, without which the scale-up could not have been achieved in the timescale.

Growth plans (which had intended to take five years) were condensed into weeks, and MRT invested over £3.5m in two additional diecasting cells, seven additional CNC machines, adding significant automation. A further 45 employees were taken on and trained, nearly doubling the workforce and a two-shift operation introduced, with succession planning and future-proofing undertaken through investments in capacity and capability. This is now enabling new projects and process optimisation, leading to major new customers in a range of sectors.

In collecting the award, MD Phil Rawnson paid tribute to the camaraderie and teamwork of the cast metals sector. “Other foundries offered help and support during that challenging time for everyone. It thus seems highly appropriate that we celebrate this with all the foundries here this evening.”

Shortlisted in the Company Achievement category was Cosma Casting UK for its continued investment in equipment and people. Having grown the workforce by 400, many of whom had never seen or operated a diecasting machine, the company launched its own Die Casting Academy to develop the next generation of technicians and engineers, addressing the skills gap. With a dedicated trainer, the company now offers a six-week intensive classroom-based programme to new recruits, as well as six weeks on the job, replacing a programme that used to take nine to twelve months. The group also offers a Die Casting Masters programme in conjunction with the University of Toronto and several of the staff from the UK have recently graduated.

In addition, Cosma Casting has developed a further eight large, lightweight structural castings for Jaguar Land Rover with optimised casting tolerances to reduce both the process steps and the manufacturing carbon footprint.

Other featured entries in this category were: Paralloy Ltd, Dean Group International, and Eurac Poole.



Sarginsons Industries Ltd won the Innovation Award for the company’s vision in being able to develop radical design concepts and turn them into reality.

During the summer of 2020, when the pandemic was affecting all businesses, and particularly the automotive sector, Sarginsons took the strategic decision to undertake a full development programme, tailored to business strategy, value stream mapping and supply chain management, underpinned by Industry 4.0 digital platforms. This was predicated on the recognition that simulated computer aided engineering did not accurately replicate reality.

The creation of Digital Twin activities was fundamental to this – a replica is created in the virtual world, using real-time and predictive analytics to carry out virtual testing and optimisation of designs before manufacture is commenced. The new enhanced ‘design for manufacture’ process includes the traditional aspects of design and simulation, but also now includes property simulation, data mapping to client computer-aided engineering software, integrated optimised topography with more realistic stress analysis and deformation predictions – and all conducted before tooling manufacture. Working closely with some of the UK’s leading universities and involving the company’s many apprentices, interns and graduates, work is now continuing on optimised topology to support radical design concepts.

Customers are now able to make informed decisions on design suitability, leading to significant light weighting, through reduced safety factors and critical reductions in development timescales. One customer has described this development as ‘the most exciting innovative concept in aluminium casting in the last 30 years’.

Turnover levels are now higher than pre-pandemic levels with a new and developing customer base.

On collecting the award Gavin Shipley said: “We are delighted to receive the award. It’s all about re-thinking how castings should be made and transforming the industry.”

The other “stand out” entry in this category was MRT Castings for work in developing an innovative approach to the design, construction and operation of a future-proof world-class aluminium gravity and high-pressure diecasting facility.



The awards were presented at the Casting Industry Awards Dinner, held on 17th November 2022 at Drayton Manor Resort, Tamworth (UK). The sell-out event enabled the industry to come together to celebrate excellence for the first time since the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. Pam Murrell, CEO of the Cast Metals Federation, which organises the awards, said: “It is a pleasure to celebrate the very ‘Best of British Casting’ and we recognise that companies have been involved in some great projects and achieved some great things since we were last together, back in 2019. The industry is clear that it wants to be, and can, be a solution to the drive to net zero.

“The number and range of entries this year was fabulous.”

Chair of CMF Adam Vicary, CEO of Castings plc, enthused that the dinner and awards presentations were “a really great showcase for our industry” and he urged the 200-strong attendance to look at the component entries that were displayed in the foyer. He also detailed some of the current CMF initiatives, congratulated all those who had entered the awards, and thanked the award sponsors and judges for their support.

For more information on how to get involved in the UK’s 2023 Castings Industry Awards visit:



Winner: Atkinson Vos, in partnership with ADI Treatments Ltd and The Boro’ Foundry, supported by Partline and Lancaster University.

Shortlisted: CastAlum



Winner: MRT Castings Ltd

Shortlisted: Cosma Casting UK



Winner: Sarginsons Industries Ltd

Shortlisted: MRT Castings Ltd