General Information - For whom the bell tolls

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 Archibald Young Ltd, Foundryman Article

For whom the bell tolls

  Archibald Young Ltd, Export Article  

Exporting success

Archibald Young Ltd, Glasgow Herald Article  

Young builds upon the faith of his founding father

  Premier Castings Ltd, Oldham Chronicle Article 

Breaking the mould for aid 

Article taken from the Foundryman - October 2002
For whom the bell tolls
Archibald Young Ltd, Foundryman Article
Floor Moulding Area

Displaying all the obvious signs of a traditional jobbing foundry Archibald Young Ltd is also blessed with a contemporary attitude driven by managing director Ian Young - the man at the top.  In addition the foundry's new premises in Motherwell, have brought something to shout about in the Scottish foundry industry.

The new Motherwell site lies adjacent to a chapel housing a bell that is one of the first castings made by the company in 1959 when Ian's father established the foundry.  This simple, factual piece of information is somewhat representative of the importance of roots and of the longevity of traditional skills and their continued place in today's society.  It also happens to be a pleasant introduction to a company that appears to owe much success to positive thinking and hard work.

The new site also supports a further foundry (purpose-built in 1973) in nearby Kirkintilloch.  Purchased in December 2000 the Motherwell site, a stone's throw from where the foundry was originally based, offered adequate room for expansion (in fact double the size) with the capacity for further growth in the future.   The move, equating to a 300,000 investment, began in March 2001 and despite the logistics of any relocation the company was casting on the new premises by May 2001.  Having used the Kirkintilloch site as a halfway house in the interim.

The final (for the moment) piece of the jigsaw that comprises the Archibald Young Group of Foundries is Premier Castings Ltd, in Oldham, Manchester; an acquisition that allowed the group to spread its wings into the iron sector and increase its market base accordingly.

Renowned for its range of quality castings in copper-based and aluminium alloys, the move into iron alloys, some years ago, once again increased the company's versatile product portfolio.  Electric melting facilities came on-board in the mid 1980s and investment and acquisition has continued since.

Indeed it has been this versatility coupled with flexibility that has stood the Group in great stead during difficult times for many foundries, north and indeed south of the border - a flexibility that extends beyond metal cast to actual method of production.  Casting capabilities are up to 1000kgs in copper-based alloys and iron alloys and 500kgs in aluminium alloys with moulding incorporating greensand, air-set and the Co2 process.  The incorporating of air-set technology coincided with the move.

Utilising 350kg Inductotherm electric furnaces and oil-fired furnaces to facilitate the mix of metals, the Motherwell site has seen increased capacity since relocation and there is an intention to install additional electric melting in the future.  The recent relocation also gave rise to the opportunity to re-invest in capital equipment with the new CNC turning and milling machines being installed.

The group offers a complete added-value service with its in-house patternshop producing wood, resin or metal patterns in a traditional fashion using modern technology, along with a comprehensively catalogued pattern store.  The foundry can utilise customer's tooling or can manufacture tooling in-house to customer specifications as much or as little as is required.


Ian has certainly continued his father's hard work rather than luck' philosophy, incorporating the sales aspect as well as production.  It is the professional and confident manner in which sales leads are sought and converted that is particularly impressive at Archibald Young.  As Ian is quick to claim, 'it is all merely a matter of research, you need to sell your service'.

Ian is firmly rooted in the belief that a value for money package is still the mainstay for any business, particularly as he puts it, in a depressed industry.  With quality, price and service being at the forefront of Ian's customers' minds and the world market becoming increasingly accessible, Ian and his team have striven to embrace a new age proving that e-commerce and foundries can be compatible.

This foundry group has for some time been receiving and processing enquiries and firm orders via the Internet and Ian is a great supporter of the virtues of international trade.  Archibald Young Ltd was quick to design and develop a website and open a Euro bank account in addition to supporting overseas trade missions to adopt a global attitude and prospect for new business.

Far from cut-off, the foundry has both Glasgow and Edinburgh international airports on its doorstep; most convenient with half of the group's turnover being from England and export customers being spread over a further eight countries.  Main export markets at present include Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Holland and Italy.

Yet another strength of the group is its wide range of products with main markets being marine, civil and general engineering, ship building and mining and the pump and valve industry - much of which is repeat business, based upon the foundry's good reputation.  This latter market sector has been buoyant over recent years and has ensured that Archibald Young has maintained a respectful order book.  In addition Ian has been keen to diversify and keep options open with some interesting  results.

Notably the foundry has a good working relationship with Glasgow School of Art and a number of sculptures have been made by Archibald Young using sand which has proven a more cost-effective method for local sculptors than lost wax, which has, in turn, enabled local artists to win commissions against more expensive competition.  This aspect of the business has grown to represent some 10% of the 2.5m turnover for 2001 - the total turnover having increased by 10% on the previous year, the growth trend set to continue year-on-year.

Ian is proud of his support of local craftsmen and skills and has promoted traditional skills throughout the foundry, employing apprentices and training them from grass roots level.  A total of 62 employees are now working for the group and enjoying the rewards of relative stability and long-term prospects that many other foundries cannot promise.

In addition the Young foundry dynasty is set to continue with Ian's son Andrew having joined the company fulltime after completing his degree and following many formative years of helping out to earn pocket money.  One thing is clear, if he possesses his father's and grandfather's sense of determination and forward-thinking the Archibald Young bells will be ringing in Motherwell for many years to come.

Persistence pays

Archibald Young Ltd has returned from a trade mission to Dublin with an immediate order worth 4,000 for its specialist bonze castings.  The deal was secured as a result of the Export Explorer scheme provided by Trade Partners UK - the government organisation the provides support services for UK companies trading overseas.

Trade Partners UK supplied the foundry with a tailored market information report prior to the trade mission, outlining their prospects and detailing potential customers with a number of 'warmed contacts'.  Within three days of his visit, managing director Ian Young had taken an order from the Dublin Art Foundry and had also made contact with many other potential customers.

'The support provided through Export Explorer and the information from the report meant I was able to make the most of the three days in Dublin', said Ian.  'As a small company you don't often have the time or resources to investigate a market yourself.  Trade Partners UK managed the organisation of the mission, the value of which should never be underestimated'.

Ian added, 'Although we were already exporting to a single customer in Ireland prior to Export Explorer, we wanted to examine further business opportunities in the country so called upon the expertise of Trade Partners UK.  In addition to the order received on the mission, I also had an enquiry for an order worth 50,000 as well as interest from a great many other potential customers.'


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Milton Road, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, G66 1SY
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