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Forgemasters retains prestigious status

27 November 2012

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) has confirmed the retention of a coveted 20-year quality certification for civil nuclear forgings and castings

SFIL has retained its Quality System Certificate after passing a stringent audit from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) 3800 Code survey.

The ASME code is the most comprehensive series of guidelines for civil nuclear manufacture in the world and all other codes, including the French RCC-M code, operate to similar compliance requirements

The global demand for power is ever increasing and Forgemasters work to supply civil nuclear power industry taps directly in to this through its existing relationships with nuclear manufacturers Westinghouse and Areva.

The nuclear recertification means SFIL can continue its work as a key supplier of heavy forgings and castings to the civil nuclear power market. Forgemasters initially gained ASME accreditation as a Nuclear Materials Organisation in 1992, and since then, has been subject to unannounced audits annually and a full quality systems survey every three years.

David Street, group quality director, at SFIL, said, “This qualification recognises our quality levels. Our role as a tier one member of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), allows us to play a crucial part in establishing quality assurance requirements for businesses aiming to enter the UK civil nuclear supply chain. 

“Our understanding of the code is unrivalled and our expertise in this field will allow us to reach a bigger market and continue to expand our services.”

As a result of the latest audit, SFIL is now working towards securing a higher level, ASME NPT (Nuclear Partials) accreditation in early 2013, allowing the company to become the only UK producer of heavy forgings and castings to physically weld such safety critical components to form the heart of a nuclear power plant.

SFIL, which is a crucial supplier to the UK defence industry, can currently only supply ‘material’ for use in civil nuclear applications but it cannot carry out further weld construction activities on these materials as will be allowed by NPT Certification status.

Once SFIL secures NPT status, it will sit with one of its key customers, Rolls Royce, as one of the only handful of UK companies qualified for main component fabrication within a civil nuclear power plant.

Dave added: “The programme to gain NPT status is a huge development with enhanced requirements and disciplines embracing all our processes, employees and sub suppliers. This is to ensure we meet the exacting construction requirements of the ASME code, which are some of the most stringent demands in modern engineering.

“We are about half way through the process and will have the new ASME programme ready for external audit by March 2013 with an anticipated investment of £140k to maintain the existing accreditation and enhance the quality programme to include the higher level NPT accreditation."