A Successful 2018
2018 was another successful year for Wales-based manufacturing company Caerbont Automotive Instruments (CAI). Sales of gauges (including speedometers, tachometers, etc) and instrumentation (including sender units) increased by 10% on 2017.
"This year has been a fantastic team effort," said Managing Director Gavin Roberts.
Investing in People and Manufacturing
The growth in sales has been supported by a 6% increase in the workforce. This is supported by an ongoing apprenticeship and trainee programme. They have also held the Investors In People standard since 2016. Kirsty Williams AM and Ken Skates AM both visited CAI in 2018 and met with the CAI management team, apprentices and toured the facility.
"Many of our employees have been with us for a considerable time," explained Gavin. "Their experience and knowledge is precious when discussing gauges in a 1967 Mini and when working on new projects for Jaguar Classic and Aston Martin Heritage."
Investment has not been limited to people. To improve productivity and quality, CAI invested in a number of new machines including a laser marking machine.
The increase in sales has been across the whole product portfolio. With the continued rise in interest in classic cars and car renovation, car enthusiasts are eager to maintain authenticity by replacing a SMITHS gauge with one of the same styling, dimensions and appearance. There is no geographical boundary, with enquiries and orders from Australia, Japan, USA and Africa. This growth in export orders is a key part of CAI's success.
The Land Rover Defender TD5 temperature gauge was one of the highest sold gauges in 2018. A voltage stabiliser and the original Mini fuel sender were also popular, illustrating the extent and wide range of instrumentation manufactured and supplied by CAI.
CAI work on an increasingly number of projects where clients require bespoke gauges. In 2018, this has included aviation gauges for Chimera Aviation and marine gauges for Seven Seas Yachts 'Hermes Speedster'. With so many special and unique projects in 2018, it was difficult for Gavin to select a favourite.
"Designing and manufacturing the gauges for the Porsche 911 DLS re-imagined by Singer Vehicle Design was particularly special. We faced challenges from the concept, through engineering and during manufacture. We were thrilled with the gold plated tachometer, which is one of the most striking and beautiful gauges that we have ever made."
Looking Ahead to 2019
"The outlook for 2019 is very positive," said Gavin. "We are working on a number of exciting projects which will reach the manufacturing stage next year. Our classic gauge portfolio will also be expanded with the launch of replacement gauges for classic Jaguar, Austin Healey, and MG cars."
With further sales growth projected in 2019, CAI is reviewing options for expansion of the manufacturing facilities with the Welsh Government.
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Posted by Paul Fears on
10 January 2019 at 12:00 AM
ApprenticeshipsChimera AviationInvestors in PeopleKen SkatesKirsty WilliamsLand RoverPorsche 911Sea Seas YachtsSinger Vehicle Design