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Automotive boost as William Mitchell seals Ford Q1 award

A critical automotive supplier has secured one of the industry’s leading awards for quality and performance

Posted on 21 May 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 698 times.
Automotive boost as William Mitchell seals Ford Q1 awardWilliam Mitchell, part of the Rical Group, has been recognised with a Ford Q1 Award, marking the 20th year it has been supplying fine blank components to the automotive manufacturer’s plants in the UK, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, India, Turkey, and the USA.

The certification was presented to the management team and staff at the Black Country company’s facility in Smethwick last week. It is bestowed on suppliers that demonstrate excellence beyond the ISO/TS standard in five key areas; capable systems; continuous improvement; on-time delivery and quality; superior manufacturing processes; and customer satisfaction.

Howard Nuttall, general manager at William Mitchell, said: “This is a really special moment for the business and reinforces our strategic supplier status with Ford. Our fine blanked components are used extensively in the automotive sector and end up in engines, seating mechanisms, drivetrain systems, window regulators, door latch and braking systems.”

He continued: “We are producing to exacting quality every day and in large volumes, with our 80-strong workforce successfully supplying Ford for the past two decades. The Q1 Award is a prestigious standard acknowledged by automotive OEMs and supply chains globally and demonstrates the strong foundations that underpin our strategy for growth in both home and international markets.”

WilliamWilliam Mitchell is the UK’s leading specialist in fine blanked components, and this sits alongside its considerable capabilities in progression presswork. This process offers many advantages over traditional presswork and machined components, including an automated high-speed process, production of close tolerance finished components and a high-volume capability. It also reduces the requirement for secondary operations and is lower cost than a machined equivalent.

Mr Nuttall added: “We have invested heavily in the skills of our staff and in creating one of the most advanced fine blanking facilities in Europe. This includes robotics, in-house tool design and toolroom capabilities that allow us to manufacture both complex fine blank and progression tools.

“Automotive makes up 70% of the plant’s turnover, with William Mitchell parts heading to Lear, Brose, Weber Hydraulik, Phinia, Tsubaki and Inteva. We also supply into power generation, electric hand tools, aerospace, electronics, and medical device sectors.”

Steve Vaughan, STA Engineer at Ford, concluded: “Our supply chain is critical to us successfully meeting rising volumes and producing world class cars and commercial vehicles. We have an excellent working relationship with William Mitchell and the standard of the parts it produces for us far surpasses the typical quality required for TS16949. Our Q1 title is only given to our very best suppliers and Howard and the team should be rightly proud of their achievement.”

The Rical Group, one of the Black Country’s longest-established industrial groups with an annual turnover of £17 million, employs more than 200 people across its four businesses. William Mitchell, the largest of the divisions, is joined by Fellows (deep draw and heavy presswork specialist), Multiforms (metal pressings, wireforms and strip products) and Taurus Engineering (precision sheet metal fabricator).