Global motorsport brake and clutch company, Alcon Components, has announced a major continued investment plan focussed on significant future expansion of their existing defence and security sector business. The investment plan aims to service emerging market demands in the US, as well as facilitating continued growth in the UK, Europe and Middle East.
The investment, valued at over £2m, will fund further refinement of Alcon’s recently commissioned dedicated UK defence machining centre. As well, following recent acquisitions, Alcon will be establishing a similar dedicated assembly line in the US where two new additional machines will be installed, doubling global production capacity. Each cell consists of a Doosan HP4000 Horizontal machining centre complete with 170 position ATC, a Doosan DNM350-5AX machine, a dedicated de-burring station and a hot wash.
The HP4000 is used for the majority of the caliper machining and has 2x400mm2 pallets allowing machining to continue on one pallet while castings are loaded on the second pallet. The second machine in the cell is a DNM350-5AX, its primary function is the drilling of the compound angled hydraulic fluid galleries which are commonly found in two-piece iron calipers.
Integrating a dedicated deburring station and hot wash ensures that parts can be completely finished within the cell. Together, the elements of the cell deliver shorter TAKT times, greater component throughput, increased capacity and improved efficiency leading to shorter lead times for Alcon’s customers.
Also included in the investment plan is the recruitment of defence and security specialist Business Development staff, the funding of a strategic marketing and PR campaign and various other key infrastructure and management measures to enable future growth.
The investment decision comes off the back of some recent milestone successes in the defence and security sector. Earlier this month, Alcon delivered a batch of Toyota LC200 armoured vehicle upgrade kits that took the total full (front and rear) kits sold since 2009 to over 3,000. Additionally, Alcon successfully launched the new CIR55 heavy armoured vehicle caliper at the DSEi and AUSA exhibitions in September and October, working together with AxleTech International.
Already firmly established in the light to medium military vehicle marketplace, Alcon braking solutions have been sought out by some of the world’s finest Special Forces vehicle manufacturers. Amongst other key defence players, Supacat, the designers of the Jackal vehicle, BAe, Ricardo and Jankel have turned to Alcon to obtain bespoke, tailored braking systems that fully meet the demanding requirements of the challenging, high performance, modern day battlefield. Alcon’s brake kits improve performance and reduce weight; key requirements for any armoured defence and security vehicle.
Jonathan Edwards, Sales Director at Alcon said: “As you can see from today’s announcement, we’re taking the defence sector very seriously. Defence already makes up 25% of our turnover and our plan is to expand that to over 50% within the next three to five years – and that is bearing in mind the fact that the rest of the business is also growing. This investment will form the foundation for that growth”.
He added: “As well as our wider global market aspirations, given the numbers of vehicles involved, the US defence market is of particular interest to us. As a result, our plans include the establishment of the capability and infrastructure needed to offer US-based volume production of our wide range of defence and security products, as well as our products on offer in other sectors”.