Since 1992, The Shot Peener magazine has given The Shot Peener of the Year award to individuals that have made significant contributions to the advancement of shot peening.
This year, the award was given to Colin McGrory in recognition of his success as an innovative entrepreneur and his enthusiasm for continually exploring and improving the shot peening process.
Colin is one of the founders and the Technical Director of Sandwell UK. Sandwell UK provides shot peening, decorative finishing, specialist coatings, advanced technologies, failure analysis and performance engineering consulting to customers in motorsports, oil and gas, renewables, aerospace, medical and consumer products.
The Shot Peener magazine accepts nominations for the award and the staff votes for a recipient. “Voting for Colin as the 2016 recipient of the award was an easy decision. I visited his facility, Sandwell UK, while in the United Kingdom this summer. I quickly saw that he has the equipment and the knowledge to perform very precise shot peening. Our conversation confirmed what I was seeing—Colin is a big-time contributor to the shot peening process,” said Jack Champaigne, editor of the magazine.
Colin left a career at Jaguar Racing to launch Sandwell UK. Commenting on his decision, he said, “We were always chasing performance and I always knew that working with the surface of materials is a great way to add value in terms of fatigue life or fatigue load. I wanted to put some of this knowledge into practice; hence, I bought a machine and started to shot peen on my own. Sandwell started out as a part-time project, initially as much to improve my own understanding of the process while I continued to work for Jaguar Racing. Soon, however, I felt I had something to offer in terms of my knowledge and my ability to understand the needs of customers. The mentality of top-level motorsport is very much a “can-do attitude” and I adopted this approach for Sandwell.”
Colin continually seeks to improve the shot peening process, from developing new equipment to integrating shot peening with advanced technology. “We often take on a small job that is not in itself financially beneficial, but if we can learn from it, if we have to develop a new technique or produce a nozzle to access certain areas, then the value of the work is in the knowledge we gain. I guess I’m fortunate in that as it is my company, we tend to choose the more interesting work even if it is not always the most financially rewarding,” said Colin.
Colin and the Sandwell team are also working on a joint project to develop techniques to manage stress in additive manufactured parts. Another joint project is the development of a cell to improve the surface finishing of additive manufacture parts by integrating laser polishing and shot peening. They are also exploring a shot peening method to generate nanocrystalline structures in high-strength materials.
In addition to attending to his responsibilities at Sandwell UK, Colin volunteers his time to the SAE Committee for Surface Enhancement and travels to the United States on a regular basis for meetings, thereby making a contribution to the development of specifications for the shot peening industry.