Record Breaking Year for CAI

The rising demand in specialist project work for new gauges, and a sustained growth in orders for digital and mechanical classic car and motorcycle gauges, resulted in a record-breaking year for Caerbont Automotive Instruments (CAI) in 2021.

Electric Vehicle Growth

Many of the new projects related to the design and manufacture of classic style gauges for electric supercars such as the Everrati Porsche 911 (964) Coupe, and specialist limited edition cars including the DB5 Junior from The Little Car Company.

The global focus to move away from combustion engines has driven a boom in specialist high-performance electric cars.  However, even though the engines are electrified, the drivers still desire a classic looking dashboard with traditional gauges.  The CAI team works closely with car manufacturers to design bespoke gauges that reflect the style of the car, whilst providing important performance data.

New Gauges for 2021

Under the SMITHS brand, CAI launched a new range of gauges for the classic Porsche 911 and Porsche 356 in 2021.  The development of the range of speedometers, tachometers, and dual gauges was in response to customer feedback.  The gauges meet the original instrument specifications in terms of appearance and size, such as the 911 tachometer available with both green print on a black face and black print on a green face.

Past into Present

SMITHS instrumentation has featured in many classic Jaguar cars, including those built purely for racing.  The Ecurie Ecosse LM-C racing car, celebrating the success of the team’s Jaguar C-Types in the 1950s, updates the classic racer for 2021.  Launched earlier in the year, the LM-C retains the style and panache of the C-Type including the SMITHS gauges, redesigned and built by the CAI team.

Internal Investment

To effectively manage the growth in projects and orders, CAI is in the midst of reorganising the manufacturing plant at Abercrave in Powys, South Wales.  A new Bodur laser cutter was installed in September and is used to precisely cut dial faces, whether in multiples or one-off singles.  Earlier in 2021, CAI installed a new Todd Engineering paint booth and oven drying room.  This has dramatically reduced paint rework to almost zero, improving manufacturing efficiency and end gauge quality.

Further plant changes are planned for early 2022.

During 2021, CAI has expanded their engineering team with a new Software Engineer and a Mechanical Design Engineer to bolster the heavy project workload and to plan for future retirements.  A new Sales Manager has also joined the sales management team.  In manufacturing, the team has grown by four, with additional staff for Tank sender production, to supplement the new spray and laser cutting processes, and to replace those retiring during the first quarter of 2022.

A Positive Outlook for 2022

Despite ongoing restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the CAI management team has worked closely with their internal staff and customers to maintain excellent service in terms of engineering support and gauge supply.

“Our business has evolved since 2016,” explained Gavin Roberts, CAI’s Managing Director, “and we have seen significant changes in the market over the past two-years.  Whilst we have introduced new gauges for traditional classic cars including the MG, Triumph, and Porsche, we are also working on an increasing number of design projects for specialist high-performance cars, with both electric and combustion engines.”

"In 2022, we will complete the factory move and also bed down our new manufacturing and design processes.  We are working on a number of new projects, as well as developing new products for our traditional markets."

“Our success in 2021 would not have been possible without our excellent team and I wish to thank them all for their ongoing support.  We feel very positive and excited about 2022.”


For more information on any of the projects discussed in this article, please contact us via:

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Email:  [email protected]

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