Morgan Advanced Materials
Issue 135 December 2016
Built to last
Morgan Advanced Materials works collaboratively to develop materials, components and sub-assemblies to help solve the challenges of a rapidly developing world
Founded 160 years ago, global engineering company Morgan Advanced Materials is one of the oldest listed companies on the London Stock Exchange. With an established track record for producing specially-engineered ceramic, carbon and composite materials for use in a diverse range of applications and sectors, including aerospace, automotive, medical and oil and gas, Morgan Advanced Materials has developed a strong reputation as a forward thinking innovator, renowned for the performance and overall reliability of its solutions.
As the company has evolved over the years, it has been re-structured into 12 global business units spread across three separate operating divisions, of which Thermal Products is the largest. Within the Thermal Products division are six principal product groups; ceramic fibre products, insulating fire bricks (IFB), microporous products, refractory ceramics, heat shields and the original crucible products the company was founded on 160 years ago. These products are used as standalone solutions, and integrated into complete engineering solutions, particularly in major process engineering industries.
The largest product group within the Thermal Ceramics family, ceramic fibre is formed by extruding fibres from molten ceramic streams at temperatures in excess of 2000°C. Theresulting products offer a range of characteristics which make them suited to a range of form factors. These properties enable significant reductions in overall energy consumption, emissions and operating costs across a range of energy-intensive industries, including industrial processing of metals, petrochemicals, cement, glass, and ceramics.
Offering world-leading competencies in materials science, specialist manufacturing and applications engineering, the company focuses on the delivery of high quality solutions to the most pressing engineering challenges of its global customer base. This proven approach has enabled the company to address worldwide trends in areas such as energy demand, healthcare and environmental sustainability.
“Throughout our history, Morgan has remained at the forefront of our chosen industries. Nonetheless, we continue to harness our unrivalled expertise in the field of materials science, in response to the challenges of industry,” says Duncan Emery, Operations Director at Morgan Advanced Materials. “Our success to date is built on close relationships with customers, offering us a unique perspective on the current and emerging needs of our clients and wider industry. In line with this strategy, we restructured the business in March 2016, establishing a global team structure based on core product groups. This philosophy allows us to support our global customer base, while enabling us to remain agile and responsive to local market needs. This way of working has allowed us to develop a greater level of coordination across our core business activities, from R&D to key account management.”
He continues: “Our unique structure helps foster closer working relationships with other divisions within Morgan Advanced Materials. We find this allows us to take advantage of commonalities across the markets we serve. From an employer perspective more opportunities for our employees to collaborate with one another allows us to provide them with more varied and stimulating work and to develop their own knowledge base for thebenefit of our customers. For example, we have sought opportunities to collaborate with the Electrical Carbon Division to utilise our shared expertise in automotive and rail.”
Within R&D the company has sought to develop new ceramic formulations adapted to specific customer requirements and has particularly focused on bringing low-bio persistent products that can be used by its customers, as well as its customers’ clients. “In addition to investing in fundamental materials science, we spend significant time and resources on applications engineering to adapt products to each customer’s unique requirements and fit with new applications. Alongside product developments, we also seek to innovate our core manufacturing processes to improve the capability, quality and production efficiency of our products,” notes Duncan.
Since making these improvements, the company has already seen benefits such as enhanced efficiency and effectiveness. “We are building on these strengths by rolling out lean manufacturing and performance benchmarking initiatives to create a step-change in operational performance. To leverage the benefits of our global footprint and scale we are also establishing a global procurement function. This will ensure we are sourcing all of our goods and services as efficiently and as effectively as possible,” reveals Duncan.
Alongside these operational enhancements, Morgan Advanced Materials has also continually invested in its manufacturing technology as well as enhancing capacity to meet growing customer demand. “One example of this is our commissioning of a new manufacturing facility for refractory ceramics in Dalian, China, in 2015. Following on from this development, two new world-scale ceramic fibre manufacturing plants will be commissioned in the next few months in Dalian and Abu Dhabi,” says Duncan.
Historically strong in major process engineering sectors such as iron and steel, petrochemical, energy, aluminum, cement, and ceramics, the company is currently responding to challenging market conditions by focusing on developing an increasingly stronger presence in sectors such as automotive, semiconductor and domestic appliances. “The markets are highly competitive with customers demanding high levels of product integrity and service delivery.
Many of these markets are exposed to macroeconomic factors, which impact global demand. As part of our growth plan, we continuallyseek new market opportunities with more stable demand characteristics, particularly those niches where we can demonstrate a sustained competitive advantage,” highlights Duncan.
“Looking ahead, with our manufacturing effectiveness and product capability, we foresee steady growth for Morgan Advanced Materials, with a strong focus on op ex, including process efficiency. Ultimately, we are a business with a long history that has a very strong future ahead,” he concludes.
Morgan Advanced Materials
Services: Developer of materials, components and sub-assemblies to address specific customer requirements