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The Prince of Wales marks Sheffield Forgemasters £12m plant expansion programme

24 November 2008

The Prince of Wales today unveiled a stone to mark a £12m manufacturing expansion programme for Sheffield Forgemasters which will enable the company to capitalise on growing global order books.

His Royal Highness was visiting the company to mark the commencement of building work for a multi-million pound machine shop and to see how it has recovered since his last visit following the devastating floods of June 2007.

The Prince saw how the 775-strong company, which invested more than six months of time and £16m to recover from the floods of June 2007, is moving forward with ambitious growth plans critical to the future of the company. 

The plans include the building of a brand new 15,700 sq ft heavy machine shop initially incorporating five new large scale machines essential to increasing manufacture of the largest of Forgemasters' cast and forged steel products.

His Royal Highness unveiled a commemorative stone outside the new heavy machine shop, which is situated on a former plate-mill, before touring the Brightside Lane HQ to meet steelworkers and Forgemasters' directors.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters, said: "This is a major capital investment project for Forgemasters affecting both productivity and efficiency which is critically essential for the next stage of the growth of the company.

"The heavy machine shop will enable us to fully realise the capacity of the foundry, reduce timescales for completing jobs and increase the company's flexibility to handle more contracts.

"We are delighted that His Royal Highness asked for a return visit to Forgemasters following the flood clean up and his attendance marks the next phase of our expansion."

Additional to the purchase of key machinery for the machine shop, valued at around £10.5m, Forgemasters' project management specialist Vulcan SFM has invested £1m in two 250 tonne cranes to feed the new machines.

Forgemasters' expansion plans also include a £6m order for a brand new 4,000 tonne hydraulic forging press which is due to be operational in Spring 2009 and which complements the company's 2,500 and 10,000 tonne presses currently working at full capacity to fulfil orders.

The Prince of Wales visited Sheffield Forgemasters last July to meet steelworkers and tour the flood recovery clean up at the Brightside Lane HQ.

The clean up and repair programme was completed ahead of optimistic schedules by the hard work and commitment of the workforce and the support from its suppliers, customers, local MPs and the Royal family including The Prince of Wales.