Based in Rendlesham, Suffolk, CMG Technologies specialises in Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) and has been providing injection moulded components to various sectors, including medical, aerospace and automotive since 2002 (previously trading as Egide UK).
MIM is a process that involves manipulating metal powders to behave like a plastic by mixing them with polymer binders to form a feedstock. This feedstock is then used to create injection mould net shaped, precision components. Parts are then thermally processed to remove the binder system and finally they are sintered to a high density metal component with comparable mechanical properties to wrought materials.
It is a cost effective alternative to 5 axis CNC machining and offers reduced lead times to their customers.
The company’s top executives include Managing Director Rachel Garrett, Technical Director Dr Phil Marsh and Chairman Chris Conway. CMG does the entire MIM process in-house at their factory in Rendlesham, where it employs 28 people.
“The company started its work with MIM doing a metal injected product for Egide UK”, said Managing Director Rachel Garrett, “who saw a huge advantage in this technology for their requirements and wanted to retain access to it, which is why they came in and bought the business.”
Setting out on their own
After 10 years as part of the French parent company, as a stand-alone and very independent business, the work that the unit that is now CMG Technologies was doing for Egide UK was starting to dry out due to a change in direction of the company. As a result, there was no longer a requirement for the in-house production of precision MIM hermetic packages and related components.
This led to the decision to enable a management buyout in 2013. Chris Conway, the former Managing Director, Phil Marsh, the Technical Director and Rachel Garret, who was then the Technical Sales and Marketing Director, decided to take the opportunity to buy the business off of Egide UK. The company was re-launched as CMG Technologies, which stands for Conway Marsh Group.
CMG Technologies’ first independent year was a very successful one and it has been steadily growing since. The company is considering expanding their facility to enable adding more machines, but they are walking the fine line between growing the business and their production capacity, and adding further investment to the business.
“We are careful with what projects we take on because we have limited capacity”, said Rachel. “We know that we can take the business to the next step, but that would require more investment, which we are happy to do, but we’re not yet at that stage.”
One of CMG Technologies’ USP’s is that it is able to be dynamic and flexible. The company works on low volume production as well as high volumes.
“A lot of MIM companies will only take on projects that are tens of thousands of parts a year and that are fairly simple”, said Rachel, “whereas we take on projects that are more highly engineered and require more precision and also lower volume, for example only a thousand parts a year. However, the margin is still there for us becomes with low volume come higher premiums for the customer, which is still more cost effective to them than machining the component from solid.”
The company helps customers with the design of components at an early stage because their engineers’ expertise can save those customers time and money, mainly by reducing the weight and footprint of the product. In many cases, the customer will give a drawing of the component that is currently machined from solid and asks Rachel and her team if they can MIM it.
Making a 4-day work week a realityFour years ago the company offered staff to make change to working a 4-day work week and they were interested in making the change. The factory is still open seven days a week, but the shifts are four days, so the staff essentially put five days’ worth of work into four days, which are a bit longer, a 38 hour week: the regular shift is Monday to Thursday and the weekend shift is Friday to Monday.
“We offered to have the weekend shift as a three day shift”, said Technical Director Phil Marsh, “but they opted for four days and then they get ten days off. Working in this way has many benefits to staff. It helps them with childcare, less commuting time and less money spent on both of those things. We even have families working here. We’re trying to be as flexible as we can to help people.”