Brandauer: joint winner of the ‘Innovation in Manufacturing’ title

April 6, 2019

Our first coverage of Brandauer (2012) followed Carl Chinn`s broadcast on this Newtown company which had celebrated its 150th anniversary a few months earlier, mentioning that it had produced components for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

There were two other reports in 2015, one celebrating its successful reshoring and multi-skilling.

C.Brandauer & Co is one of the UK’s leading independent presswork specialists, manufacturing millions of precision components every week. It employs 65 people at its factory in Birmingham, investing in the latest technologies to ensure it can compete globally, with 70 per cent of its turnover going overseas to China, the EU and US. One such is Visi Vero CAD/CAM software and Microsoft Dynamics Navision, a state-of-the-art Enterprise Resource Planning system that helps to optimise processes.

It is also the only manufacturer in the UK with a license to manufacture EloPin®, a groundbreaking press-fit product which allows the solderless connection of terminal pins to a printed circuit board, which is promising to revolutionise the world of automotive electronics and the first contract, worth nearly £1m, has already been secured. Rowan Crozier (above, left), CEO of Brandauer, said “EloPin® is proving a global phenomenon and we fully expect it to generate over £2m of revenue in 2019.”

At the December West Midlands Tech Awards, organised by BirminghamLive and CoventryLive, The Mail reported that this SME manufacturer faced competition from many other firms to be named joint winner of the ‘Innovation in Manufacturing’ title, sharing the accolade with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).







Family owned companies are ‘star performers’: Credit Suisse

March 13, 2019


Many West Midlands SMEs featured on this website are family owned, including Sparkhill’s Indestructible Paint, Heritage Silverware in Small Heath, Smethwick’s Professional Polishing Services, A Perry & Co of Cradley Heath and Smethwick’s DK Rewinds. Though none of these is listed on the stock exchange, their practice matches the Credit Suisse findings about long-term approaches and reinvestment.

Dominic Walsh reports on a 2018 study by the Credit Suisse Research Institute which found that, over time, family and founder owned companies quoted on the stock exchange outperformed equity markets in every region and sector.

It compared 1,000 listed companies, whose founders or descendants had at least a 20% stake, and found that revenue and profit margins were higher.

This was attributed to the long-term, conservative approach taken by family businesses, ‘a tendency to reinvest’ and a lower reliance on debt. One reader commented that it’s difficult for family owned businesses to borrow money without extensive collateral so they avoid it and go for slower, organic growth.

Though “they underperform non-family-owned businesses during periods in which economic conditions or sentiment improve”, in the long-term, family-owned companies deliver stronger revenue growth in all regions and higher levels of profitability. See Michael O’Sullivan’s exposition in this video.

Reasons for success included:

  • Higher spending on research and development: if investing in innovation is a high priority, the business will be in a strong position to adapt and grow with markets and trends
  • Higher capital expenditure: businesses that spend money on improving equipment will be well-placed to keep their operations efficient and control costs.
  • Lower dividends and share buy-backs: by taking less out of the business, the company can commit to long-term investment.
  • More long-term investment: thinking long-term gives companies more flexibility and makes them more sustainable.

Source: Thomson Reuters, Credit Suisse Research.

A Times reader comments that a family owned company where the manage the business for immediately available profit/income and – more importantly – long term provision of the same for themselves, their retirement and their children’s. Contrast that with overpaid employed management, focused on short term profit and massive bonuses with no long-term responsibility whatever….






Reynolds Technology wins Digital Engineering/Technology Award

December 27, 2018


Some readers might remember news of Reynolds Technology in 2012. A management buy-out on 24th January 2000, led by Keith Noronha, had taken Reynolds – which had been acquired by an American company – back into private ownership, keeping all the employees on board and continuing to manufacture in Tyseley, Birmingham. After 90 years at Redfern Road, Reynolds moved to a modern factory building in Shaftmoor Lane, Hall Green, Birmingham.

RTL makes ‘high-end’ cycle frames renowned in the cycle industry, with 27 Tour de France champions crossing the finish line on bicycles built with Reynolds tubing.

Mr Noronha (centre) explains: ” We now have a much larger niche, high-end customer base that has doubled and includes sports cars, the oil industry and sports wheelchairs.

“The company works actively with Birmingham University to develop new high-performance materials and processes.

“It celebrated its 100th anniversary by announcing a complete product range, using steel, aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre”

Digital innovation

Reynolds won the Made in the Midlands award for their 3D print project collaboration, which has seen 3D printed ‘dropouts’ (components) go on commercial sale.

3D printing can create more complex structures than a process like casting can produce and tend to have a high strength-to-weight and a high stiffness-to-weight ratio. The process, which may be seen here, creates minimal waste, as the shape is built up, rather than being machined from a larger block of material. It allows for a customisable design. This means that parts such as these dropouts can be altered with the same ease as ordering a takeaway online.

Reynolds 3D printed titanium dropouts are tailor-made to integrate into its chainstays and seatstays. This indicates that 3D printed parts could well significantly reduce the time and cost for framebuilders, as they are built with such precision that they seamlessly attach to frames.

The award-winning 3D print project collaboration is an ongoing project between Reynolds, Renishaw, Independent Fabrication and Moss Bikes to develop two prototype frames using a 3D printed BB shell with an optimised design. At the award ceremony, Reynolds thanked employees at Renishaw, Independent Fabrication and Moss Bikes, as well as the team at Reynolds Technology themselves, for their hard work and dedication to introducing 3D printing to their range of technologies.



Read about the company’s history here.