Thursday, 29 May 2014

Ricardo pushes out with US Maglev project

Ricardo is participating in a strategic partnership led by Florida EMMI to deliver the first commercial Maglev rail project in North America.

Not only is Ricardo expanding its boundaries in the direction of Maglev, it has just won an order from UTC Aerospace Systems to manufacture complex components used in the flap actuation system of Airbus A320 aircraft.

The Florida Department of Transportation, representing a selection committee including the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, the Orlando County Expressway Authority, the City of Orlando and Orange County, selected Florida EMMI for the “Lease of Rights of Way For Fixed Guideway Transportation System”, for a project connecting the Orlando International Airport and the Orange County Convention Center.

Led by EMMI – a wholly owned subsidiary of American Maglev Technology Inc. (AMT) – the partnership includes AMT, Spanish construction conglomerate ACS Industrial North America, Ricardo Inc. and several local Orlando-based companies.

Ricardo will bring its transportation experience to this strategic partnership, and take on the role of vehicle systems integrator for the maglev monorail trains.

“I’m delighted to be part of an American first” said Tom Apostolos, president of Ricardo Inc. “Ricardo is active across a wide range of mass transit technologies, from conventional steel wheel/steel rail to monorail systems. We are extremely pleased to be working on North America’s first maglev with AMT, a company that I believe is leading the future of mass transportation for central Florida.”

Meanwhile, through its contract for A320 components, Ricardo is linking with UTC Aerospace Systems, one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defence products.

The company designs, manufactures and services systems and components, and provides integrated solutions for commercial, regional, business and military aircraft, helicopters and other platforms.

The contract with UTC Aerospace will require Ricardo to deploy its advanced manufacturing capabilities – already used extensively in the motorsports and high performance road vehicle sectors, as well for a number of aerospace clients – to supply complex geared, splined and prismatic machined components to drawings of A320 parts supplied by UTC Aerospace.

As with most Ricardo high performance product manufacturing projects, these components require rigorous process adherence and the achievement of fine manufacturing tolerances.

On 19 May, Ricardo reported its order book at the end of April topped £141million, compared to £130million at the same period last year, benefiting from a boost of orders in April from the US.

The order intake in the 10 months to April was £215million against £186m in the same period of the prior year. 

Significant orders won in the last four months include business in the US for a large engine project for a major passenger car OEM, a further DARPA order in the US defence sector and a commercial vehicle engine programme.

Orders in the UK include further passenger car orders for large OEMs, and in Performance Products orders reflected the pre-production phase of the new McLaren contract together with further motorsport transmissions.

The company reports the pipeline as “encouraging” with a number of projects for Chinese customers that are in the latter stages of negotiation, as well as passenger car opportunities in the UK, US and Germany.

In addition, Ricardo announced further business for Performance Products business with the signing of a multi-year production supply agreement with an anonymous customer. Total revenue is expected to be in excess of £35million, commencing in financial year 2015/16.

As with many Performance Products contracts, like the recently announced record McLaren contract, the full value of the contract is not reflected in the order intake or the order book.

Total Ricardo Group revenue in the t10 months to April 2014 is up 3% on the same period in the prior year and profit is tracking in line with full year expectations.

In Germany and the US, Ricardo is “building momentum” with the order book in each location significantly ahead of the prior year.

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