The crucible steel process was developed in the 1740s producing better quality steel than had previously been available. Sheffield plate was also invented around this time (fusing a thin sheet of silver on to a copper ingot to produce silver plate). Credit Photo @ BBC
Sheffield Forgemasters has said a two-year £25m capital investment programme at its 200-year-old site is set to gear the business up for “greater post-recession recovery”. Management at the Brightside Lane-based business, which exports components to the defence, civil nuclear, oil and gas exploration, power generation, and steel processing industries, have pumped more than £25m into plant, equipment and processes over the last two years in a strategic move. Neil Maskrey, Forgemasters’ chief financial officer, said: “We have always built our business strategy around the supply of high quality, complex engineered products to niche markets, which require the very best technology and systems to produce.”Maskrey added: “We took the decision to maintain our levels of investment into plant and equipment during these harsh economic times as a strategic measure to enable us to capitalise on improved trading conditions when the global economic downturn starts to reverse. “The move to spend heavily on capital investment projects is not just essential in a business which carries this kind of physical heritage, it is paramount to keep up with the cutting edge work of our research and development team in seeking out state–of-the-art engineering solutions and creating new products.” The investments range from £6m for ‘loose tooling’ to £300,000 for a fully integrated ‘Enterprise Resource Planning IT’ system. Additionally, Forgemasters said its heavy plant continues to receive “significant investment”, with planned expenditure of more than £500,000 to create a new pattern shop and pattern storage facility.