Tata Steel has created the largest steel processing plant in the UK, with all of its profiling activities now take place at a single plant in the West Midlands.
After 20 years and £15 million in investment, the company had outgrown its two sites at Cradley and Wombourne, so has consolidated its steel profiling work solely to the new plant in Wednesfield.
Speaking about the move, Dave Green, the centre’s commercial manager said: “We developed a transition plan in conjunction with our customers for the transfer of production from Cradley and Wombourne to Steelpark.
“It has gone smoothly considering the complexity of the move, which included completing rigorous PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) testing for critical customer components.”
The new centre is integrated into Tata Steel’s supply chain, making the transit of material from steel mill to the profiling plant smoother, as well as making it easier to manage the amount and frequency of materials being transported.
Tata also invested heavily in new equipment including, five hi-definition plasma profiling machines (two of which are new); two laser profiling machines; two gas profiling machines; five machining centres (two new) and three flattening presses.
Operations manager, Jim Hartley spoke about the new equipment. “Now three profiling processes: laser, plasma and gas are integrated in one place, as well as five machining centres and three flattening presses.” He went on to say, “We had the Centre’s two brand new plasma profiling machines manufactured to order, and this gave us the opportunity to ensure they were made to the highest possible specifications. These were installed first, and we made sure that they were up and running to allow the work to be transferred gradually from Cradley with no loss of service.”
Tata Steel have said that the new profiling centre with the improved supply chain and extra equipment can handle 50 percent more work.
This comes on the back of the opening of Europe’s largest steel decoiler at their steel mill in Wales. Paul Steele, Managing Director of Tata Steel’s Distribution UK & Ireland business, said: “We now have a fully integrated distribution supply chain serving the steel markets in the British Isles.
“Including the Teesside structural steel service centre, the new Heavy Gauge Centre at Llanwern, the plate distribution hub at Scunthorpe and our service centre in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, we now operate five major distribution hubs and a network of smaller retail metals centres across the UK and Ireland.
“The new Light Gauge Centre at Steelpark processes to order but also produces stocks of standard size sheet for immediate delivery. We recently invested in a custom racking facility that provides select customers with an inventory management service on site for their bespoke product and service needs. We see initiatives like this as the way forward for truly customer-focused steel distribution.”