carlton, Author at Carlton Die Cast

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Visit us at Subcon 2016, 7th-9th June NEC Birmingham

We are happy to announce that we will be exhibiting at the Subcon Exhibition again this year form the 7th – 9th June on stand D54.

Subcon is the UK’s premier manufacturing supply chain show, dedicated to subcontracting and outsourced engineering services. The show has been designed to connect buyers with suppliers across manufacturing supply chains, matching visitor needs to the capabilities of world class exhibitors.

We will be there showcasing a selection of die castings we currently manufacture.  It is a fantastic opportunity to meet some of our team and discuss any die casting questions or requirements you might have.

More information on the show can be seen on the Subcon website: where you can also pre-register for free.

Our History

Our History – 4 Generations in the Foundry Industry

Our History - 4 generations in the foundry industry


As we come close to celebrating our 70th year in business I thought I would share our company history which spans 3 generations of the Wilson family in Carlton Die Castings and 4 generations in the foundry industry dating back to 1926.

Our story starts in 1903.  Joseph Wilson set up a steel foundry in the Carntyne area of Glasgow and Carntyne Steel Castings was born.   Five years later the factory was moved to Renfrew to be closer to the ship yards on the Clyde.  The majority of work at that time came from the ship yards such as Simon Lobnitz who build the dredgers and also North British locomotive company (NB Loco) who made steam engines.

Here is an extract from one of their brochures at the time:


Joseph died in 1931 aged 49.  At that point Joseph’s son , John Gilmour Wilson, who joined Carntyne  around 1928 took over aged 21 (both of whom can be seen in the picture above).  By 1938 and at the start of the second world war Carntyne were producing 70 tons of steel a week and by the end of the war they were producing 85 tones per week and employing 240 people.  During the war the foundry was very active in the manufacture of bomb cases, stern frames for ships and also made the anchor chains for the floating mulberry docks, the remains of which are still in existence.  Here you can see a picture of the factory in 1950 at the height of their success:

 In 1951 Carntyne Castings was sold to NB Loco.  At that point John Wilson must have wanted to stay in the foundry business as he purchased an aluminium die casting foundry called Alan Carlton and Co Ltd of Stock St Paisley.  Alan Carlton and co had been started in 1947 by Alan Carlton who had split from well establish foundry in Hillington called Scottish Precision Castings.  The foundry started with 11 people some of who came from Scottish precision castings.  Mr Carlton was struggling in business and John Wilson came in in 1950 to assist.  Mr Carlton decided to sell the company in 1951 John Wilson.  It was at this point that the company’s name was changed to what we know it as today – Carlton Die Castings.  The company made only gravity die castings in aluminium, brass and bronze.  5 years later high pressure castings was started in aluminium and zinc.  John Wilson died in 1964 and his son Gil Wilson who had started working in Carltons in 1961 took over.  Business developed quickly after 1968 with a major contract form Hoover in Cambuslang.  At that point there was a major industrial hub in the central belt of Scotland and more business followed over the coming years with Singer Sewing Machines, Philips Lighting, and Sunbeam Electric.  In the early 70’s another major customer was brought in called Holset Engineering who made engine cooling fan drives for cars.

In 1975 Carltons was purchased by a company called Michael Denny holdings.  Denny wanted to create a Scottish based engineering group and he had already purchased Douglas Plastics two years earlier.  One condition of the purchase was all of the employees had to stay.  At this time Bendics Westinghouse in Bristol and Automotive Products in Lincon were the main customers and we were the largest die cast foundry north of Manchester employing 144 people.  The following years Michael Denny holdings also purchased Tebro Toys and Saluki Fur Fabrics (diversification was the trend of the day).  Douglas plastics made Styrograph and Stikle bricks and went on to make 6 million dollar man and other fisher price toys.  Denny bought Tebro Toys as they had an extensive plastic moulding facility in Leeds but they also made soft toys.  They did character mechanising for Warner Bros and produced Emu, Scooby Doo, Road Runner and other teddy bears.  In 1983 Carltons was thriving however the other companies in the group were struggling and Michael Denny Holdings went into receivership.  Suliki fur was sold and Tebru toys was sold back to original owners.  Douglas plastics was sold back to the management and Carlton was bought back by Gil Wilson.  The premises in Stock Street were sold and we moved to our current home in Greenhill Road with 15 employees.

We continued to make gravity and high pressure die castings however 1987 brought a change of direction when we won business with JCB in Wrexham.  JCB wanted to buy machined castings.  Initially the machining was sub contracted to three different machine shops.  Within 2 years we took the decision to buy three CNC machines and brought the machining in-house and this was the start of our extensive machining facility.  We were then able to expand into different markets which required finished castings fully machined.

This brings us up to today.  Gil Wilson is still our MD (although slowly winding down!) and myself and my brother, Edgar, are directors of the company.  We now have 7 high pressure die casting machines along with our comprehensive gravity foundry and our machine shop has grown to 19 CNC’s.    We are working alongside Scottish Enterprise introducing lean manufacturing.  Our markets include castings for hazardous areas, lighting, ministry of defence, automotive, electronics and high end hi-fi equipment.  Our mission is to provide our customers with fully machined castings, delivered on time to their schedules with zero defects.

It has been an interesting, eventful and successful 69 years for Carlton Die Castings and we look forward to the future.

Sand Casting and Prototypes

In as many projects as we can we like to be involved in the early stages of design and development.  By doing this we can work along side designers and offer advice on the product design to optimise the performance and cost of the casting.  Early involvement in a project enables a smooth transition from initial concept and prototyping through to volume manufacture as either a gravity or high pressure casting.

Sand Casting:

We work in partnership with a sand foundry to offer sand castings in a range of alloys which are machined in-house.  Sand casting is ideal when there is lower volume which does not justify the investment in gravity or high pressure tooling.  The start up costs are lower as the moulds are made from wooden or resign patterns and there can be a quick turn around achieved.


There are a range of options we can offer for prototyping.  Firstly there is the sand casting option described above which is best for repeat prototypes/low volume production.  However when you are looking to replicate a high pressure casting it is very hard to do as thin wall sections can not be achieved by sand casting.  We can now offer a service where moulds are 3d printed and metal is injected into the mould under vacuum.  This means we can replicate the design characteristics of a high pressure casting and importantly the prototypes is made in the same alloy as it would be under volume production.   Prototypes like these can be usually turned around in two weeks.

We can also machine prototypes from solid in our extensive CNC machine shop.  On a number of occasions we have manufactured machined from sold prototypes while gravity and high pressure tooling is being manufactured.  This enabled our customer to build and test their products and implement any changes required  while the tool was still being manufactured.

Successful Subcon Show

We are just back from the Birmingham NEC where we were exhibiting at the Subcon Show.  We had a range of gravity die castings and high pressure die castings on our stand and we are please to say that it was a very successful show.  We would like to thank everyone that visited us over the 3 days and hope that it was worthwhile.   For any follow up enquiries from the exhibition please email: [email protected].



Subcon Exhibition 2015 – Stand S332



Carlton Die Castings is once again exhibiting at the Subcon Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC from the 2nd – 4th June.  Subcon is the UK’s only event that is completely focused on contract and subcontract manufacturing, including machining, moulding, fabrication, electronics assembly, casting and forging, finishing and treatments. Subcon also offers access to global markets, with many overseas countries being represented in 2015, including;  Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Greece, Latvia, Czech Rep, India, Taiwan, China and the USA.

For ourselves it gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase some of our gravity die castings and high pressure die castings which we currently manufacture.  This year we have a range of new die castings on show which highlight our casting and machining capability.  For more information please visit the following link and hopefully we will see you on our stand.


5’s With Scottish Enterprise

Last month we started our journey into lean manufacturing and with the help of Scottish Enterprise we have started 5’s within Carlton’s.

Our 5’s team is headed up by Blair and the first area that is area that is being concentrated on is our fettling and dispatch area. Over the last 4 weeks we have already seen some great changes which has improved the flow of material through this area. This has included re-positioning a CNC and washing machine and moving the hand finishing and final inspection areas. We have also started removing the old bitchumen flooring to expose the concrete underneath. This will enable us to paint the floor to indicate path ways and work areas. We will keep giving updates over the coming months as we continue our journey.











Welcome to our new website and thank you for visiting.

Our new site tells you all about our company, a brief outline of our history and also showcases some of the die castings we are currently manufacturing. We will also be updating this blog section with company news to keep our customers updated with what is happening at Carlton’s along with relevant industry news. We will also be running a ‘get to know our employees blog’ where every month a member of our staff is featured to let you get to know our team a little better.

Thank you for visiting and please keep coming back to see our latest news!