Sheffield Forgemasters to build new facility as part of £400 million investment programme

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Photo credit: Sheffield Sheffield Forgemasters is now capable of producing the largest and most technically challenging cast and forged steel components in the world. Forgemasters © SHAW-STUDIO-92 with permission.

Sheffield Forgemasters is marking one year since its historic acquisition by the Ministry of Defence.

The company, which provides crucial components for the UK defence programme, has embarked on a recapitalisation programme with up to £400 million to be invested over ten years and key changes already taking place across its 64-acre site.

The origins of Sheffield Forgemasters date back to the 1750s as a small blacksmith forge. Since then the company has been associated  with many famous steel industry names such as English Steel, Firth Brown, British Steel and River Don Castings.

Sheffield Forgemasters is now capable of producing the largest and most technically challenging cast and forged steel components in the world.

The project, to replace defence critical assets, has seen a new 13,000 tonne forging press shipped from Japan, the appointment of Vinci Building on the early stages of a construction contract expected to be worth more than £70 million and planning submissions for a new 144,000 sq ft Forge building.

Gareth Barker, Chief Operating Officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, said:

“It doesn’t seem like 12 months have passed since the company was acquired by the MoD, but we have made substantial progress in getting our recapitalisation programme underway in this time.

“We have crossed some key milestones, including the safe shipment of the new forging press from Japan, which was a vast logistical challenge, submission of plans for the Forge building to Sheffield City Council and the appointment of Vinci Building to undertake a large body of work in advance of our new forging line being constructed.

“We have started demolition works, services diversions and the construction of a new site access road to service the forging line construction and have submitted plans for a new footbridge across Brightside Lane to make it safer for staff and site visitors to cross between the two parts of our site.

“Two large Vertical Turning Lathes have already been purchased from Germany and work is underway on foundations to install these within our South Machine Shop to reduce bottlenecks in machining processes for large technical components.

“Additionally, we have engaged in many tender processes for new cranes and furnaces for the 13,000 tonne Forging line alongside 17 new machining centres and a support package through life for those machines, which will serve defence production.

“From this point, the next 12 months are likely to see a dramatic increase in activity as the project gains physical momentum.

 “We are now working on a full site analysis to establish exactly how we most effectively use the space that we have on-site and to bring all of our facilities up to the best modern standards to create a truly vibrant and welcoming workplace.”

Sheffield Forgemasters’ new Forging line is estimated to reach completion within four years, with work to install state-of-the-art machining centres running in tandem with the project.

Gareth added:

“This is an unparalleled project within the UK and will create one of the most technically advanced engineering facilities of its kind anywhere in the world. It will secure production of key defence supply and the efficiencies gained will provide increased benefits to our commercial customers.”

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