Innovative firms are leading the way

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Sheffield leads the way for manufacturing in the city region, with almost two out of every five Top 100 manufacturers based in the city.

Some of the city’s best known and most innovative engineering companies feature among the leading manufacturers, including Outokumpu, William Cook, Cooper and Turner, Ancon, Sheffield Forgemasters, Gripple and Pressure Technologies.

Despite a slight decline in profits, Outokumpu still heads the ranking of the city’s most profitable manufacturers, followed by William Cook, the steel castings specialist which produces sophisticated components and assemblies for the rail, energy, defence, construction and freight industries.

Among other things, Cook makes cast armour, track and running gear for fighting vehicles, high precision components for weapons, military aircraft and missiles, components for the tilting Pendolino trains and transmission casings for French TGV high speed trains, which regularly reach 200mph.

Third-placed Abbey Forged Products specialises in making bespoke, high-integrity components for the oil and gas industry using open die and ring rolling techniques.

The Beeley Wood company started out 31 years ago as Abbey Stainless, supplying stainless bar and forgings,

Abbey Forged Products was founded in 1982 under the name Abbey Stainless, specialising in the supply of stainless bar and forgings, acquiring a local forgings firm with a small open die forge, heat treatment and machining facility nine years ago.

After adding further machining capabilities and moving to a new site, the company changed its name and went on to add ring rolling capabilities and a 3,000 tonne press.

Fletchers Bakeries secured fourth place, reflecting the widening of the criteria to include food manufacturers and the turnaround at the business, which opened a new £7 million production plant at its Wadsley Bridge site this year.

The company’s current management has transformed the business, which was making operating losses of almost £10 million five years ago and now includes subsidiaries Kara in Manchester and Grain D’Or in London.

In June, the group announced it was closing its Barnsley operation, Le Baguette Doree, with the loss of more than 120 jobs and transferring the production of specialist breads for Marks and Spencer to the firm’s factory in London.

LBD had been losing money in recent years and the loss of a Tesco contract proved to be the final straw.