Sheffield forging firm Special Quality Alloys wins Queen's Award for International Trade after growing exports

A family-owned Sheffield forging company has won the country’s top business award after massively growing exports.

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 1:23 pm

Special Quality Alloys boosted overseas sales by 87 per cent over three years to win a Queen’s Award for International Trade.

The firm, based in Continental Steel Works on Bessemer Road in Attercliffe, exports to 29 countries - some 44 per cent of total sales - with the USA, Romania, and Singapore the main current markets.

The company was established in 1986 and makes forged products for the oil and gas, power, automotive and renewables markets.

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Special Quality Alloys in Sheffield, managing director, Bennett Beardshaw.

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A subsidiary, Special Quality Alloys INC, was established in Texas, USA in 1999.

Managing director, Bennett Beardshaw said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the business and one that I am very proud to receive.

“It is truly a recognition of the hard work of all of our employees and their commitment to quality and service. I’m sure this will be a stepping stone to future success for the business across both the domestic and international markets.”

Open die forging at Special Quality Alloys in Sheffield.

Now in it’s 56th year, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious business awards in the country. Just 226 organisations nationally have been recognised this year.

Winners can use the Queen’s Awards Emblem for the next five years.

SQA is part of the Special Steel Group founded in Sheffield in 1925 by Bennett Beardshaw.

Furnace at Special Quality Alloys in Sheffield

He started his career in 1906 at renowned steel firm Jonas and Colver, based at the Continental Steel Works in Attercliffe.

After 18 years with the company, in May 1925 he set up Special Steel Co Ltd half a mile away on Bacon Lane. It is still the site of the group’s parent company.

In 2014 SQA moved into the Continental Steel Works which were renovated retaining many original features.

Red hot ring being stamped with a mark of origin in the forge at Special Quality Alloys.

The company also invests in the future.

Two years ago it spent £5m on a new forge featuring a 3.5 tonne open-die forging hammer, a 65-tonne anvil on foundations 15ft deep, two furnaces and a ring roller machine. The hammer requires an industrial compressed air system that includes two huge tanks and an 11,000 volt transformer.

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