The UK automotive industry is rich and diverse, from stripped out track day monsters and mind-bending supercars to civilised luxury vehicles and new generation EVs. All need components on short lead times, despite great variance in vehicle production volumes. These OEMs require suppliers who can be flexible and deliver low or high volumes quickly with added cost-effectiveness. This is a flexibility that Mark Water Pumps Limited (MWPL) has brought to the fore of its die casting operations.
Based in Colwyn Bay, Wales, MWPL has been providing high quality PROFLOW aluminium water pumps to support the UK automotive industry for decades. To illustrate the breadth of its capability, the business was recently awarded the contract to supply aluminium components to support Aston Martin’s new generation of turbocharged V12 engines, while also being specified to supply heat sinks for the latest generation of EV vehicles. Each has completely different volume requirements, yet the business can meet both simultaneously.
David Lewis is the Plant Manager at MWPL, and has been at the forefront of delivering this casting flexibility for its customers: “From supporting owners of old Land Rovers with aftermarket water pumps to providing high volume components for leading manufacturers such as Volvo and GM, we have a track record in flexibility of supply. From single owners to Just-In-Time manufacturing processes, we can do both. It’s not just automotive supply either, we regularly produce castings for the rail industry. This is something that we have been able to achieve due to our philosophy of keeping all of our departments in-house.”
The Colwyn Bay site combines design studios, a manufacturing centre with multiple casting machines, an automotive test lab with industry leading capabilities and a vast warehouse capacity to hold stock. This combination allows MWPL to meet varied demands, as there are always casting machines, test rigs, stock or designers ready to meet customer requirements. This is all important in meeting the fast pace of the industry.
“If we combine our in-house facilities with our innate experience in providing parts from super cars to popular models,” continues David, “we can meet both low volume and high volume orders effectively. We’re able to assign capacity to customers on the fly, while still upholding the stringent quality levels required for new vehicles. Our aftermarket customers also benefit, as there is a consistent OEM quality that is the hallmark of our range, ensuring a long-lasting replacement component.”
The paradigm shift currently occurring in the motor industry towards electrification is one of its most seismic, up there with the dawn of mass production with Ford’s Model T and the oil crisis of the 1970s. However, by offering an innate flexibility as part of its service offering, MWPL has been able to keep pace with changing demands for components.
“Our extensive machine capacity and our track record in delivering components for multiple types of vehicles means we are well placed to meet new demand for hybrids and EVs. Hybrids still contain a combustion engine, which requires aluminium castings for the oil and water pumps, while EV manufacturers are specifying aluminium due to its weight saving attributes to maximise range. The heat sinks we produce for EVs are crucial to dissipating the large amounts of thermal energy emanating from batteries, so our flexibility also delivers a level of future-proofing as well.
“Even the latest generation of supercars are either turbocharged, hybrid or fully electric, which displays how fast the industry is developing. However, we keep pace by offering a combination of quality, choice and prompt delivery. This means whether it’s a short run for a handmade supercar, or a high volume run for a new EV vehicle, we can deliver.”