Groundbreaking design #MadeInSandwell by engineering firm A&M EDM

Screenshot of four stills taken from a video about A&M EDMThis #MadeInSandwell Monday we’re shining our spotlight on Smethwick firm A&M EDM to congratulate its team on some recent groundbreaking engineering.

During the first lockdown last year A&M director Gary Surman designed the world’s first true fully functioning five main bearing aluminium engine block to be used in the A series MINI.

A&M EDM is already an award-winning engineering solutions company, manufacturing high value components for customers in sectors including Formula 1 and Aerospace.

The company was founded in 2002 as an EDM (electrical discharge machining) wire and spark erosion specialist. Since then, it has grown to a 60-strong team offering comprehensive precision engineering solutions.

Gary’s innovative design for the MINI A+5 K16 engine block came from hundreds of hours of designing, drawing and producing engine parts.

When asked how exactly you go about designing and manufacturing an engine from scratch Gary said: “It’s been in my head for years. At A&M we’ve got a lot of equipment around us so we laser scanned multiple engines and got a print then took the ideas I’d had rolling around in my mind for donkeys’. I put it all together and we came up with this offering of what the A+5 engine should be.”

Gary’s engine has a bespoke five main bearing crankshaft, utilising a 75mm stroke, and the block alone weighs one third of the original engine. It is designed for use in a MINI but can also be used in an Austin-Healey and an MG Midget – longitudinal rear wheel drive version.

It could also be used in boats and light aircraft, but it’s all down to testing, Gary explained.

So, what’s so unique about this engine? The original engine design had three main bearings, while this one has been made with five functioning main bearings, bespoke con rods and bespoke block. It has been calculated to rev to 10,000 rpm and has upwards of 350 brake horsepower.

Although this engine block is designed for the transverse engine Gary has also designed the crank shaft for the longitudinal engine so it can be used with adaptor plates in racing vehicles or rear wheel drive vehicles.

At the moment A&M EDM is making five prototypes but production will depend on customer demand. The firm already has interest from companies in America and if demand is high A&M EDM will need to invest in new machinery as all parts are designed and manufactured in-house.

Congratulations Gary and A&M EDM on your trailblazing design.

#MadeInSandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #MadeInSandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through Twitter, read this.