In a Q&A session, Paul Chruscinski, BÖHLER Aerospace UK’s divisional director, explains how the company has diversified its materials supply portfolio to target the aerospace industry.
Materials play a decisive role in the aircraft industry. Intelligent materials make air travel not just safer, but also significantly less expensive. BÖHLER Aerospace UK has built a strong reputation in providing the aerospace industry with the steels that it needs: maximum strength and high corrosion resistance, with least possible weight, in any desired alloy and size.
The company’s specialist UK team works directly with the mill to ensure it can deliver tailor-made solutions to its customers. BÖHLER’s UK warehouse facility is backed by its own mill stock. Special material grades, including creep-resistant stainless, nickel-based alloys and high temperature alloys can be supplied in many forms from bar, billet, sheet and plate to custom forged and finished products for rotors, shafts, blades, turbines and other components.
Q) Firstly, please provide the latest news on any new appointments, facility upgrades or equipment purchases?
Despite Covid, voestalpine High Performance Metals UK (vHPM UK) has continued to expand its workforce in order to meet our customers’ needs and expectations. We have taken on employees in every department, from the Service Centre, which includes saw operators and machining engineers, to new business development representatives in our sales divisions.
A more notable appointment has been the appointment of our new managing director, Mark Williams. Upgrades and equipment purchases are part of our ongoing mission to provide our customers with the best products and services possible. In the last year alone, there has been two saws purchased which has increased capacity, thus enabling us to reduce lead-times.
Q) In such a heavily regulated industry, how important is it in keeping up with the latest aerospace accreditations and regulations?
We have a number of accreditations, including AS9120 B. It is imperative that these accreditations are maintained to the highest degree to ensure materials destined for the aerospace industry are certified and meet the required standards. This is why we have a quality and technical team made up of eleven employees - with a combined 87 years’ of experience in metallurgy - to keep our position in the supply chain infallible.
Q) Do you supply powder/wire for additive manufacturing processes?
Additive manufacturing has emerged into the aerospace market in a ground-breaking way. With strong partners within the voestalpine group, BÖHLER Aerospace UK can put forward end-to-end solutions, starting from the production of metal powders up to consulting and designing right through to the production and post-production of parts.
Q)What do you feel are the most important assets of a company?
In our business segments, we are a global leading steel and technology group with a unique combination of materials and processing expertise. Our business is underpinned by world-class people from diverse backgrounds, equipping the group with the experience and skill-set needed to execute our clear and defined vision. We are fully committed to the global climate goals and are working intensively to develop technologies which will allow it to decarbonise and reduce its CO2 emissions over the long-term.
Q) What differentiates your company from the competition and why should a customer use you over your nearest rival?
We offer solutions, not just products. Our specialist UK team work directly with our own mill, ensuring we can deliver tailor-made solutions to our customers. Our award-winning UK warehouse facility is backed by our own mill stock. Special material grades including creep-resistant stainless, nickel-based alloys and high temperature alloys can be supplied in many forms from bar, billet, sheet and plate to custom forged and finished products for rotors, shafts, blades, turbines and other components.
Q) What have you been doing to get through the pandemic crisis, and what particular aspect has helped your company get through it?
We took a number of steps to adapt to the Covid crisis - from home-working to initially using the Furlough Scheme with a minority of employees to preserve jobs - although we had everyone back to full-time working hours from January 2022.
Trust played a major factor in how well we coped during this unprecedented time. Trusting our employees to work from home and manage their own time, proved invaluable. It demonstrates to us that, irrespective of the circumstances we have the ability to pivot accordingly and successfully – with minimum impact to our customers.
Q) Do you think companies should be using this pandemic enforced downtime to effectively ‘reset’ and look at how effectively they are running their businesses?
Most definitely. It has caused us to accelerate the natural evolution of the business. We’ve had to implement new technologies faster and make use of alternative communication methods, such as webinars and online meetings - even increasing our presence on social media. These are ways of workings that we will continue to make use of moving forward.
Q) Are there any positives in general to come out of all this?
The UK manufacturing industry as a whole has exemplified such resilience and unification. We have the ability to come together during the most punishing of times and still excel.
Q) Finally, would you say that your long-standing partnerships have brought huge benefits, particularly as trusted relationships can lead to a better way forward for all?
Covid has proved that long-standing relationships built with trust and respect between clients and suppliers are vital. We’ve been able to support each other through this difficult time - whether it’s merely providing a sounding board, or putting together tailored material packages - to help support our customers meet fluctuating market changes.