£1m contract boost for Forgemasters

Steelworker at Sheffield Forgemasters. Picture by Simon Hulme
Steelworker at Sheffield Forgemasters. Picture by Simon Hulme
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Forgemasters - which made 50 redundancies last month - has bounced back with a £1m order from the US.

The Brightside steelmaker fought off competition from Korea to win a casting contract from Ajax-Ceco, an American press manufacturer.

The deal was sealed not on price but on ‘quality of production and input into the design’.

Now the firm will use 550 tonnes of liquid steel to cast a press frame, which will measure almost 42ft long and 11ft. It aims to complete the project, including final machining, by early 2017.

Michael Holloway, senior sales manager, said: “Winning the Ajax casting contract against strong overseas competition and harsh market conditions is purely down to our quality and technical manufacturing skills.

“We put considerable work into modeling the casting ahead of a visit from the customer and this threw up some beneficial design modifications.

“This, combined with our history of delivering to exacting specifications, including prior castings manufacture work with Ajax, was crucial to securing the work.

“It will take several weeks to cool after the casting has been poured before it can be lifted from the pit and it will undergo heat treatments and machining work to incredibly fine tolerances prior to despatch.”

The frame will form part of an expansion to the fully automated Southwest Steel Processing LLC forging plant in Newport, Arkansas.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “The Ajax contract is an important win as it shows that we can secure contracts through technical expertise and quality.

“To bring any contracts to fruition is a major boost in the current global trading climate and we are delighted that this contract has been placed, providing work for our melt shop, foundry and machine shops.

“We are working extremely hard to generate further sales and are hopeful of other contract announcements over the coming months, but there are no easy wins out there and markets remain extremely turbulent across the globe.”