Grainger and Worrall revolutionizes sustainability in the automotive industry with innovative casting solutions 

As global demand for lighter and more efficient means of propulsion continues to grow, automotive giant Grainger and Worrall Ltd (GW) is a driving force in catering to that trend. Backed by over 75 years of accrued know-how, GW stands at the global forefront of castings development and innovation, specializing in sand casting complex metal shapes. Unmatched in history, delivery, and resources, GW is renowned for providing complex metal components for some of the most powerful and eco-friendly vehicles. A technology enabler, GW extensively collaborates with automotive brands and empowers them to achieve the best possible outcomes. From design consultancy, tool design and manufacture to prototype casting, finishing, machining, and assembly, GW supports all types of projects. Jay Schofield, Group Commercial Director, guides us through the company’s journey to success. 

grainger & Worrall production facilities
“Brothers-in-law Vernon Grainger and Charles Worrall established the business in 1946, starting out as pattern makers. In the 1980s, under second generation leadership, GW transitioned into being a foundry. Throughout the 1990s, our core focus was on becoming the leading foundry in the world. To achieve that goal, GW undertook the most difficult projects that others did not want to get involved with. As a result, GW’s reputation for high-end, upper echelon work in predominantly cylinder heads and blocks amongst the motorsport sector grew very quickly. This reputation led the company to contribute to more technically challenging programs for which the marketplace does not offer immediate solutions. Within 20 years of existence, GW saw its year-on-year expansion rate grow to 15-to-20 per cent, which has led the way to where we are today,” he begins. 

Not unlike most businesses in the manufacturing industry, GW faced unprecedented setbacks during the pandemic. Jay reveals how the company remained adaptable in the face of changing circumstances. “Historically, aluminum casting played a crucial role in manufacturing major engine castings such as cylinder heads, cylinder blocks, and gearbox casings. However, the pandemic served as a significant turning point for two reasons. Firstly, manufacturing is incredibly difficult to do remotely, so we had to reimagine how to keep the business moving forward safely while still continuing to serve the global market. Another significant shift occurred during the pandemic, with the transition to new sustainable technologies within many sectors, which contributes about 75 percent of our £80 million turnover. Major OEMs, aerospace, infrastructure and numerous motorsport clients recognized the rising momentum of emissions regulations and sustainable transport, driving their search for solutions. One of the two areas our business specializes in is serving series customers with low-volume supplies, such as manufacturing major castings for several supercar products. Our other operations are focused on prototype, pre-production, and motorsport work. In other words, it involves bespoke proof-of-concept products that are in the early stages of development. This aspect of the business offers us the privilege to witness the emergence of new technologies by collaborating with global automotive companies and start-ups, shaping the future of our products,” he highlights. 

In its pursuit of consistently improving manufacturing processes to meet the needs of its diverse customer base, GW embraces innovative virtual tools. “To enhance the engineering phase of our manufacturing process, we spend a lot of time, money and do a lot of research on developing advanced casting simulation software. Through this software, we aim to improve our processes without committing to physical tools or casting parts. Recognizing the limitations of existing software in meeting the unique demands of our customers who are pioneering groundbreaking casting projects, we collaborate with software companies to create tailored software solutions. This partnership allows us to run simulations and conduct upfront virtual engineering, but also to get a valuable output that can be directly translated into our foundry operations. Most importantly, this software will enable us to ensure the correlation between virtual engineering and physical casting. By collecting data from each cast part and feeding it back into the virtual model, we will be better informed the next time we make the part. Our goal is to chase down even the slightest improvements, aiming for single percentages and percentage points. GW strives to ensure we can reach a stage where if we run a simulation on a part and all the variables are understood, we will be able to guarantee a high-quality casting first time. This approach offers consistency in the manufacturing process, reduces our time to market by minimizing sampling rounds, and allows us to confidently deliver the quality parts our customers expect,” Jay adds. 

As the interview nears an end, Jay discusses the role of sustainability within GW. “At GW, we believe sustainability is about more than simply having solar panels on the roof. Sustainability comprises different aspect such as people, place, product, and process. In terms of people, sustainability means investing in our people and creating an environment where they want to stay and would even recommend as a good place to come work. Then, place – which includes facilities – is the aspect of sustainability most people focus on. It is about ensuring our work environment is eco-friendly, which we do by paying a premium on using green electricity tariffs and by reclaiming 99.99 percent of our sand. We also try to reuse as much material as possible by remelting and reusing it. To be energy efficient, all our major electrical appliances are locked to ensure they are not operating during downtime. In terms of product sustainability, GW works with aluminum, which is notoriously eco-friendly as it is one of the easier metals to reuse,” he concludes. 

By leveraging its extensive experience, and fostering innovation and partnership, GW is well positioned to drive sustainable technology forward within the automotive industry.