Sheffield Forgemasters boss hails MoD's first investment since takeover

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The boss of Forgemasters in Sheffield has hailed the Government’s first investment since taking over - a new building to house a £120m forging press.

The specialist structure will have concrete foundations deep enough to cope with the 13,000 tonne press, one of the biggest in the world, which is on order from Japan.

It will form part of a new forging line which will take ‘several years’ to complete.

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The investment is the first since the Ministry of Defence last month announced it was taking over the engineering firm to secure its role as a key supplier. In recent years, Forgemasters’ main profits have come from specialist forgings and castings for submarines and Navy warships.

The 10,000 tonne press in action at Sheffield Forgemasters.The 10,000 tonne press in action at Sheffield Forgemasters.
The 10,000 tonne press in action at Sheffield Forgemasters.

The new press should arrive early next year.

Chief executive David Bond said the building marked the first stages of a £400 million ‘recapitalisation programme’ following the takeover.

He added: “This is an essential upgrade to reduce our exposure to ageing plant equipment and will provide greater capacity to handle larger components, faster forging times, tighter operating tolerances and future-proofing for our large forging operations for many years to come.

“The new press purchase is part of a larger project to create a full forge line, including all requisite equipment to feed the press. We are in the process of scoping this body of work, which also includes sourcing quotes for numerous parts of the forging line.

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David Bond, chief executive, Sheffield ForgemastersDavid Bond, chief executive, Sheffield Forgemasters
David Bond, chief executive, Sheffield Forgemasters

“Installing a forging line of this scale is a significant undertaking and the scope of the civil engineering requirements is still being analysed, but we would anticipate a time-line of several years to completion.”

The new building will be adjacent to the existing forge lines on the north side of Brightside Lane.

The Star revealed plans for the new press in April. It is being shipped from Mitsubishi Nagasaki Machinery Manufacturing Co and will replace an ageing 10,000 tonne main forge press dating back to the 1950s. The acquisition was supported with a loan from the Ministry of Defence.

The last new building at Forgemasters was the £12m North Machine Shop in 2008. The company can produce castings of up to 350 tonnes and forgings of up to 175 tonnes finished weight.

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