Castings firm wins back lost work

A �180,000 investment in new machinery has helped an East Anglian die casting firm to win back a major contract from China.

RD Castings, based in Mildenhall, provides metal casting services in a range of sectors including rail, construction equipment manufacture and lighting.

The company took a hit when the recession started, with turnover dropping from �2.5million to �1.5m in the year to October 2009, including the loss of a major contract with a large overseas manufacturer which moved its business to China.

But RD Castings has now won back the work, worth up to �500,000 a year, after investing in a new, high specification CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine.

Equipped with diamond bore cutting equipment, the Brother TC 32BNQT machine will work about twice as fast as the company’s other machines, improving efficiency and enabling the company to compete with Chinese manufacturers on price, while focusing on better quality control and service.

Sales and marketing director Anthony Pateman said winning back a three-year contract with the client offered a significant boost to the business and would help build sales to a similar level as prior to the recession.

Mr Pateman said: “Buying the machine has enabled us to price-match with competitors in China, coupled with the service and quality we have been providing for years.

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“We took the plunge on the machine and the client has given us a three-year contract, which is potentially worth �500,000 a year.

“It is a pretty major win for the business. When the recession hit we lost a huge chunk of our work and had to really cut back.

“But with the growth we have had since then and this work we hope to get back to where we were prior to the recession in 2011. The prospects are very good for next year.

“We have ridden the hard times well; going forward we should be in a much stronger position than where we were before the recession.”

While the company has had to cut employees from a high of 50 to about 25 after the recession struck, Mr Pateman said there was “potential” for additional employment if demand reached anticipated levels.