Commercial steel-making returns to Teesside

Posted on 14 Mar 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The Materials Processing Institute (MPI) has launched a commercial steel-making operation from its facility on Teesside to support the production of high quality steels for UK industry which are manufactured in Britain.

The Normanton Steel plant at MPI, which features industry-standard steel production equipment, had previously been used for new product development and process refinement, and now also delivers commercial manufacturing across a range of steel types.

It has been introduced to meet customers’ bespoke requirements, which is generally for smaller orders that cannot be produced economically in larger plants.

Manned by an experienced production team, the steel plant features metal melting, refining and casting facilities. It also includes the UK’s only small electric arc furnace for the commercial production of steel ingots and concast billet.

The plant’s operations are supported by a suite of testing and development laboratories, which are primarily used for research and product development processes, but will provide valuable support to its commercial manufacturing activities to ensure it delivers the highest grade of steel.

As a not-for-profit organisation, MPI supports businesses working across a range of sectors, from steel and chemicals to energy and mining, with a range of facilities and research and development services.

In addition to its plant and laboratories, MPI also provides extensive product demonstration areas where engineering concepts are developed and proven.

Chief Executive of MPI, Chris McDonald commented: “Thirty years ago many doubted the British automotive and aerospace makers would still be around today, but they are now amongst the best in the world and underpin our economy.

“That’s why those who dismiss steel and other materials as “sunset” industries risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy despite their current difficulties.

“Instead, industry-led responses like the Materials Catapult proposal we are discussing with Government, offer immediate and targeted support to increase their long-term productivity, and will enable Britain’s world leading universities and entrepreneurs to commercialise and upscale their innovations to help attract inward investment, make the leap to next generation production facilities and become international leaders.

He continued: “We are launching this venture to demonstrate that there is a positive future for steel manufacture in the UK, around high quality specialist alloys and innovative processes of manufacture.

“This new operation enables MPI to be the hub for steel-making on Teesside, and continue the area’s proud steel legacy, while supporting our position at the forefront of materials and product research and development for industry.”

“More widely, we are pleased there is widespread industry support for the Materials Catapult, which will boost jobs and regeneration in Teesside and nationwide, and also deliver a positive, efficient boost for the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.”