3 minute read
Zircotec increases capacity following £2.5m investment
Automotive heat management specialist Zircotec, based near Oxford, is set to grow significantly this year, with a ten-fold increase in capacity. This follows a £2.5m investment into larger premises, new equipment and an increased workforce to meet growing demand.
The company specialises in plasma-spray processing and thermal barrier solutions. It develops and produces high-performance surface coatings and finishes and bespoke heat shielding solutions, working with the majority of F1 teams and many other motorsport formulas, as well as several supercar and performance car OEMs.
Zircotec now plans to build on its success in the motorsport and automotive industries, by developing other sectors including electric and hybrid vehicles, oil and gas, marine, power generation and aerospace. These industries have stringent emissions targets and heat management requirements and Zircotec’s technology can provide a solution to manage heat, without adding excessive weight; key characteristics highly sought in these industries.
Graeme Barette, Zircotec sales director, said: “The new and expanded facility means we can actively develop other sectors, where previously we were constrained by our capacity. Our success to date has largely been in automotive and motorsport, however we know our technology is valuable to many other industries too, particularly in the hybrid and electric vehicle markets. We know that lightweighting and heat management are critical issues in this industry and Zircotec has a solution that can solve these heat management issues.”
In July 2019, a fire destroyed the previous Zircotec home. A recovery plan was put in place and within days Zircotec was back up and running in a temporary facility nearby. A new permanent 20,000 sq ft home was found, just 300 yards from the previous 9,000 sq ft facility. By October 2019, the company re-located to the new building, and the site was fully operational by the end of the year.
The new purpose-designed building is set to accommodate planned growth. The amount of specialist equipment has in some cases trebled, this includes the addition of a bespoke heat shield facility. Some of this specialist equipment has also been automated, reducing downtime and delivering consistent results at the same time as increasing production output. Previously, the company operated one automated booth for plasma spraying. This is being increased to five, significantly increasing the available capacity.
Barette added: “Light-weighting and temperature management are becoming increasingly important for manufacturers across several different industry sectors. Our plan is to position ourselves as thermal management specialists. We’re working towards becoming IATF 16949 certified and a tier one supplier. We want to be a supplier of thermal management solutions for OEMs, where we can offer solutions from the outset, involved at the design stage.”
Zircotec has a five-year plan in place to grow the company by 400%, and aims to achieve this by expanding into new markets and with an ongoing investment in a skilled workforce.