Tuesday, 9 June 2015

AB Dynamics set to double capacity

AB Dynamics is moving to a new facility next year that will double capacity, allowing staff to work on one site for the first time in many years.
The company, of Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, UK has expanded so quickly in the past, as it concentrated on a niche business activity, that it has been forced to lease several premises just to cope with increasing demand.

The new facility will enable staff to work under one roof and hopefully remove previous logistical challenges.

Next week the company will exhibit its latest track and laboratory testing equipment at Testing Expo in Stuttgart, Germany (16 – 18 June 2015).

The UK company, formed in 1982, has achieved world-wide stature as the specialist in developing driverless test systems, while the company’s driving robots have become the global benchmark for objective vehicle testing on the track.

In the six months to 28 February 2015, revenues increased 13 per cent to £7.56 million while profits rose 30 per cent to £1.51 million. The company, which employs 60 people, declared its net cash level as standing at £7.03 million. On the basis of the declared figures the company would appear to have a turnover of £252,000 per employee.  

AB Dynamics plc is the holding company of Anthony Best Dynamics Ltd. The Group is engaged in the design, manufacture and supply to the global automotive industry of advanced testing and measurement products for vehicle suspension, brakes and steering both in the laboratory and on the test track.

With over 90 per cent of sales going to export, the group's products are used for research, development and production quality control. Directors believe the group is one of the leading UK suppliers in its market, with customers including the research and development divisions of some of the world's leading vehicle manufacturers.

Anthony Best Dynamics was formed in 1982 by Tony Best, now chairman. Best, following a period in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, joined Moulton Developments Ltd where he eventually became chief engineer. When Moulton closed – under the leadership of Alec Moulton it developed the Hydrolastic suspension for the BLMC Mini and the Moulton bicycle, Best formed his own company.

For more than 30 years, Best and his team have established a wide range of motor industry contacts to the point the group is well connected in Germany and Japan

However, the group also works with car, bus and truck makers and testing groups around the world and is currently expanding in BRIC regions – notably China, India and Brazil where it won a major contract earlier this year.

Three years ago, Tim Rogers joined as managing director to help in the flotation of the company on the alternative stock market – AIM – and to set in place further expansion plans. Rogers combines an understanding of engineering with corporate expertise, having run AIM-listed vehicle technology business CDT.

The group designs and manufactures specialised systems for the development of: Suspension, chassis and steering systems; Vehicle dynamics on the track; Next-generation advanced safety system in vehicles; Driverless cars; Autonomous vehicle testing; and Noise/vibration (NVH) testing of power train assemblies.

Daimler AG, one of AB Dynamics premier customers, has been using driverless robots to assess bus performance in arctic conditions.

Earlier this year the company launched its CBAR1000, the latest of its driverless robots. This combined brake and accelerator robot has been developed in response to customer demand for this type of robot but with a higher braking force. Over 60 of the earlier CBAR500 have been sold to date.  

CBAR1000 has a peak braking force   of 1000N, suitable for aggressive emergency stop brake testing.

Other types of test equipment include the kinematics and compliance measurement machine which is used to accurately establish the kinematic characteristics of vehicle steering and suspension geometries.

As already mentioned, this year the company received an important order for one of its SPMM – suspension parameter measurement measuring machine – systems from a customer in Brazil; the first time the company will have delivered a system to this region. Hitherto SPMM sales have been divided between Europe, Asia and North America with Volvo as one of its important reference customers (illustrated above).

The company sees this Brazilian contract as recognition of the AB Dynamics’ position in the global automotive industry and its ability to cultivate markets globally.   

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