Vehicle lightweighting was a key focus for many of the winning companies at the 2019 Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) Awards, which took place in Cheshire on 7th November and showcased the successes of vehicle manufacturers, supply chain companies and service providers in the region.
The winner of the overall NAA Company of the Year Award 2019, sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd, was Sigmatex (UK) Ltd, one of the world’s leading independent converters of carbon fibre.
Sigmatex also won the Logistics Excellence Award, sponsored by DHL, for a project that implemented a series of process and product changes that optimised package size and footprint, which reduced the number of deliveries, resulting in a significant reduction in emissions.
In addition, Sigmatex was highly commended in the Manufacturing Excellence Award category, by improving efficiency to transform a loss-making process into one making a sizeable profit.
Sigmatex was awarded the Company of the Year accolade due to these Award submissions, and also to recognise its continued commitment to the development of the low carbon vehicle supply chain.
Another company working in the area of vehicle lightweighting is Carbon Performance Limited, winner of the Industry 4.0 Award, sponsored by Senseye, for fully embracing the essence of Industry 4.0 – bringing together a range of technologies, including AI, 3D printing and cloud computing to drive real business value and measurable results.
The vehicle lightweighting theme continued with Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Ltd, manufacturer of the single-seat Mono supercar: the company won the Design & Innovation Award, sponsored by Klarius Products, for achievements such as a 22% weight reduction by the use of graphene, and a global record for the power-to-weight ratio for the vehicle.
The electric vehicle market is a focus for Autac Products Ltd, the winner of the International Trade Award, sponsored by Morson Group; the company demonstrated a thorough and methodical approach in the development of its export strategy.
Klarius Products Ltd won the Manufacturing Excellence Award, sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover, for a ‘bottom up’ approach to lean manufacturing and continuous improvement.
The Corporate & Social Responsibility Award, sponsored by GEFCO, was won by MGS Technical Plastics Ltd for, in the words of the judges, “demonstrating an ambition for CSR that is far beyond the expectations of smaller enterprises”.
Setco Automotive (UK) Ltd was the winner of the People & Skills Excellence Award, sponsored by SMMT Industry Forum, for investment in both the training and development of its workforce.
The winner of the Digital Media & Marketing Award, sponsored by the Samuel James Group, was Hylomar Limited for its 3D explainer videos.
The keynote speaker for the 2019 Northern Automotive Alliance Awards was Professor Jon King, Strategic Planning & Development, WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, WMG at the University of Warwick, and a longstanding member of the UK Automotive Council Supply Chain Group, who provided an update about the latest news in electrification and the electric vehicle supply chain.
Rowan Egan, NAA Chief Executive, commented: “I was delighted to see that a number of the companies winning NAA Awards this year are involved in the area of vehicle lightweighting. This is already a core strength of the Northern Automotive industry, so it’s great to recognise the achievements of companies working in this sector, along with all our other winners, who show that our members are successfully embracing new products, processes, markets and opportunities.”
Wes Jacklin, Chairman of Directors and Advisory Board, Northern Automotive Alliance, added: “Despite the automotive industry facing various challenges over the past 12 months, including well-documented political issues, our Award-winning companies have not only been getting on with the job, but have been striving for continuous improvement, and it’s excellent to see such progress in areas such as efficiency and sustainability.”
The Northern Automotive Alliance is an independent, not-for-profit company which provides a membership service to the automotive community, supporting micro-companies through to the locally-based global vehicle manufacturers. The NAA helps to support and nurture supply chain companies to grow into larger businesses, in order to strengthen the upstream supply chain in the UK.