Forgemasters secures investment funding

Engineering specialist Sheffield Forgemasters has secured funding from the Sheffield City Region's Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) towards a £6.5 million investment.

The LEP is providing £650,000 from its £52 million Business Investment Fund towards new machinery at Forgemasters' Brightside Lane machine shops to facilitate further development into the advanced manufacture of forgings and castings.

Forgemasters will install two new machines; a five-axis milling machine, and a vertical turning lathe to enable the three-dimensional machining of increasingly complicated, ultra-large cast and forged shapes for industries such as civil nuclear power and defence.

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair at the LEP, said: “We are working on a number of technology-driven initiatives and the Business Investment Fund was set up to help companies, such as Sheffield Forgemasters and also smaller enterprises to achieve growth.

“It is no secret that Forgemasters sits at the fore-front of technological developments within the field of large-scale engineering and this grant will help the business to advance its capabilities even further, placing Sheffield City Region at the leading edge of manufacture into civil nuclear, defence, power generation and innovative projects such as the proposed Swansea Bay tidal lagoon.”

The majority of the £6.5 million investment will be from Forgemasters' own development budget, but having pledged such high levels of investment, the company qualified for the LEP Business Investment Fund grant which makes up ten per cent of the overall project value.

James Tate, chief finance officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “We are delighted that the Sheffield City Region LEP has granted this funding towards what is a milestone investment for the company and one which will create greater efficiencies for future projects as well as allowing for further advanced machining techniques.

“The company has placed inward investment high on its list of priorities since the management buyout in 2005 and we still invest significantly more in research and development as a percentage of turnover than most UK manufacturers.

“There is no doubt that Sheffield is a centre of excellence for advanced manufacturing and this investment will help us to deliver an increasing volume of milling and turning work for defence and power generation contracts using internal facilities to maintain high tolerances and manufacturing standards.”

The LEP brings together business leaders and local politicians to make decisions that drive economic growth and create new jobs within the SCR. The Board is made up of 19 members – ten business leaders and nine local authority leaders.

Sheffield City Region comprises of a core city, towns and market towns, open countryside and a significant rural economy. The City Region encompasses more than 1.8 million people and approximately 700,000 jobs.

It is made up of the nine local authority areas of Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire Dales, Doncaster, North East Derbyshire, Rotherham and Sheffield.