Milestones reached in ‘unparalleled’ £400m recapitalisation programme

Engineering specialist, Sheffield Forgemasters, has reported significant progress one year since its historic acquisition by the Ministry of Defence.

The company, which provides crucial components for the UK defence programme, has embarked on a recapitalisation initiative with up to £400m to be invested over 10 years and key changes taking place across its 64-acre site.

The project, to replace defence critical assets, has seen a new 13,000 tonne forging press shipped from Japan, the appointment of Vinci Building on the early stages of a construction contract expected to be worth more than £70m and planning submissions for a new 144,000 sq ft Forge building.

Gareth Barker, chief operating officer, said: “We have crossed some key milestones, including safe shipment of the new forging press from Japan, which was a vast logistical challenge, submission of plans for the Forge building to Sheffield City Council and the appointment of Vinci Building to undertake a large body of work in advance of our new forging line being constructed.

“We have started demolition works, services diversions and the construction of a new site access road to service the forging line construction and have submitted plans for a new footbridge across Brightside Lane to make it safer for staff and site visitors to cross between the two parts of our site.

“Two large Vertical Turning Lathes have already been purchased from Germany and work is underway on foundations to install these within our South Machine Shop to reduce bottlenecks in machining processes for large technical components.

“Additionally, we have engaged in a number of tender processes for new cranes and furnaces for the 13,000 tonne Forging line alongside 17 new machining centres and a support package through life for those machines, which will serve defence production.

“From this point, the next 12 months are likely to see a dramatic increase in activity as the project gains physical momentum.

Sheffield Forgemasters’ new Forging line is estimated to reach completion within four years, with work to install state-of-the-art machining centres running in tandem with the project.

Barker added: “This is an unparalleled project within the UK and will create one of the most technically advanced engineering facilities of its kind anywhere in the world.

“It will secure production of key defence supply and the efficiencies gained will provide increased benefits to our commercial customers.”