Investing in the Future of Engineering


A family business that prides itself on a personal touch with customers, SRD is an engineering company based in Bicester, which specialises in manufacturing automotive parts. Servicing highly competitive industries such as Formula 1 and motorsport, SRD is renowned for a fast turnaround for parts. Having been in business for over three decades, it has grown into a modern company with over 150 employees, seeing a notable amount of growth in the past 6-7 months.

However, even companies who are at the forefront of their industries need to keep up to date in order to stay competitive. This was certainly true for SRD. For many years, SRD has relied on tried and tested machining techniques to provide the excellent service they are known for. Though, with a recent higher demand for products and a need to fulfil more orders at a quicker rate, they turned to Ceratizit for help.

Working with Nev Frisby, Technical Sales Engineer for Ceratizit, they examined their machining processes, inserts and tools and outlined some areas where improvements could be implemented. Firstly, the management team from SRD were invited to a training day at Ceratizit’s Tech Centre in Sheffield. Led by Shaun Thornton, Technical Manager for Ceratizit UK & Ireland, SRD learned about the most up to date tooling and machining practises, as well as being given the chance to put these tools and materials to the test in the workshop downstairs. Back in the workshop, Nev set up a tooling ‘swap out’, where new inserts could be tested without expense to see if they would work for them, it wasn’t long before SRD began to achieve some incredible results.

In some instances, SRD were making a time saving of 30-40% on roughing cycles meaning that part production significantly increased. Tool life has also been increased through the use of Ceratizit’s inserts, and their EcoCut inserts are now seen across the workshop. The wide selection of tooling and inserts available in Ceratizit’s extensive catalogue also meant that SRD were able to find the appropriate tools for each job. The constant line of communication between Ceratizit and SRD meant that technical support was always on hand. Furthermore, Nev’s regular visits, supported by Drew Pettifar, an Application Sales Engineer for Ceratizit, allowed them to get intimately acquainted with SRD’s machines and machining needs, ensuring that whatever they recommended would be sure to make a positive impact.

The focus on futureproofing the company for SRD extends beyond its approach to highly specialised, precise machining. SRD invest in their apprentices, and are passionate about providing high quality, skilful training to their apprentices. Each apprentice working at SRD is given all the support they need to succeed in this industry. Whether that’s more time set aside for them to complete course, or whether it’s speaking to different people in the workshop, SRD are renowned for how positive a place it is to complete an apprenticeship.

Amongst the current apprentices is Adam Leadbeater, a hard-working and diligent apprentice who recently won Apprentice of the Year, a national award whose winner in selected from all apprentices in the UK. Adam completed his apprenticeship at SRD and chose to stay on at the company once he qualified.

Dedicated to their apprenticeship programme, SRD even have a Training Mentor, Chris Barnes, who is the apprentices’ first point of call for support in the workplace. Speaking about the value that is placed in the younger generation of engineers, he stated how ‘We value our apprentices as it’s getting increasingly harder to find skilled people who are eager to work hard and learn. SRD sees this as investing in the future of the company and in the future of highly skilled machinists. Our apprentices, like Adam, are all encouraged to ask questions and learn. Bringing in younger people is the best way to keep a company growing, and to ensure that the company is strong for generations to come.’

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