A DYNAMIC partnership between a specialist Worcester company and the iconic Morgan brand in Malvern is literally putting British business in the driving seat.
The collaborative approach by Superform, based at Blackpole in Worcester, and Morgan Motor Company, based in Malvern, is moving through the gears as parts are now shipped abroad to Germany, Italy and Australia with exports forecast to be up by 44 per cent by 2015.
Superform has developed the “superforming” technology over the last 40 years, giving designers unprecedented freedom to create from sheet aluminium complex parts that cannot be made with conventional stamping processes. Superforming involves heating an aluminium sheet and then forcing it onto a surfaced tool to create a one-piece, three-dimensional shape. The process is ideal for creating intricate forms combining several parts into one. The technology is especially popular in automotive, aerospace, rail, medical and architectural markets.
In the automotive sector, Superform’s advances are the result in part of its close collaboration with Midlands automotive icon Morgan Motor Company in nearby Malvern. The two companies work closely together to develop cars that combine the latest high-strength aluminium alloys with the ability to create unique styling.
Simon Tarmey, managing director of the Superform Division of Luxfer Group (NYSE:LXFR), said: “Superform has been making complex body panels and parts for Morgan for many years, but recently, Superform and Morgan engineers and designers have been working much more closely together, using sophisticated computer-aided tools to optimise part designs not only to achieve the beautiful, flowing shapes characteristic of Morgan cars, but also to maximise durability and weight savings that reduce vehicle weight and CO2 emissions.”
The fact that so many Morgan parts are superformed in one piece also greatly simplifies the final assembly process, saving on cost and improving overall quality and vehicle performance. Morgan’s Aeromax and Aero Supersport models, which contain many superformed components, are good examples.
Mr Tarmey added: “Because of these developments, we anticipate that our workforce will grow over the next two years, with opportunities in sales and marketing, engineering and production. If we are able to meet the planned demand, this will be a major success for the West Midlands’ aluminium sector.”
Morgan Motor Company Marketing Director Mark Ledington said: “We are entering an incredibly exciting time for the two companies."
Will Savage, CEO of the Aluminium Federation (ALFED), the trade association that represents the British aluminium industry, said: “We’re incredibly excited about what is happening at Superform and Morgan, as their technological developments have positive implications at regional, national and international levels. Through the right investment in research and development, they are now in control of a manufacturing process that has real appeal to companies producing road and rail vehicles.”