£1.8m new factory for Sheffield machine knife firm

A 189-year-old Sheffield machine knife company is set to double in size in a move to a £1.8m new factory.

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 4:45 pm

Fernite will relocate to a larger, purpose-built factory on Dorehouse Business Park in Handsworth later this year. It then aims to boost its 48-strong workforce with 10 new staff.

The company, established in 1832, is currently based at Coleford Road in Sheffield. It makes bespoke and highly specialised products for customers in industries including food, print, paper, packaging and plastics.

James Kitching, managing director, said: “This project is a key part of Fernite’s drive to be the best machine knife manufacturer in the world. Our state-of-the-art new factory will allow us to expand our high-tech manufacturing capability, provide an outstanding environment for our highly skilled workforce and support our pledge to be our customers’ favourite supplier.”

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From left: Nick Wright, group sales manager, Martin Hartley, group operations manager, James Kitching, managing director, Marc Horner group technical manager.

Yorkshire construction company, Harris CM, is due to start work in February.

The development is on the site of a former supermarket filling station and has been designed by Sheffield firms AAD Architects and Collins Hall Green Structural Engineers. Stockarth Project Solutions will oversee the financial control of the works.

Jason Adlam, CEO at Harris CM, said: “This is a great project to be involved with, which further demonstrates the importance of Sheffield’s heritage in the precision blade manufacturing industry.

“Furthermore, this scheme provides a plenty of opportunities for both our own workforce and our supply chain, with a significant proportion of both being based in the South Yorkshire area.

Image of the new factory. Construction starts in February.

“Once complete, this development will be an impressive addition to the extensive portfolio of successful manufacturing facilities that we have constructed throughout the region.”

Traditional hand grinding of a toothed knife - most of this work is now done on CNC machines at Fernite.

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The Fernite team.