Forgemasters forges ahead with investment plans

Engineering specialist Sheffield Forgemasters has secured funding from the Sheffield City Region's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards a £6.5m investment in new machinery.

The LEP will provide £650,000 from its £52m Business Investment Fund for new machinery at Forgemasters’ Brightside Lane machine shops to allow further growth and the manufacture of forgings and castings.

Forgemasters will install two new machines; a five-axis milling machine, and a vertical turning lathe to enable the three-dimensional machining of increasingly complicated, ultra-large cast and forged shapes for industries such as civil nuclear power and defence.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair at the LEP, explained: “We are working on a number of technology-driven initiatives and the Business Investment Fund was set up to help companies, such as Sheffield Forgemasters and also smaller enterprises to achieve growth.

“It is no secret that Forgemasters sits at the fore-front of technological developments within the field of large-scale engineering and this grant will help the business to advance its capabilities even further, placing Sheffield City Region at the leading edge of manufacture into civil nuclear, defence, power generation and innovative projects such as the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.”

Most of the £6.5m will come from Forgemasters’ own development budget, thanks to the firms high levels of investment the company qualified for the LEP Business Investment Fund grant.

James Tate, chief finance officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, commented: “The company has placed inward investment high on its list of priorities since the management buyout in 2005 and we still invest significantly more in research and development as a percentage of turnover than most UK manufacturers.

“There is no doubt that Sheffield is a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and this investment will help us to deliver an increasing volume of milling and turning work for defence and power generation contracts using internal facilities to maintain high tolerances and manufacturing standards.”