A specialist in high-integrity forgings adds his voice to the industry’s call for increased support to offset escalating energy costs.
Sheffield-based Forged Solutions Group, which works with customers in aerospace, power generation, underground mining and all-terrain vehicles, is calling on the government to address the surge in gas and electricity prices by exploring potential subsidies or removing certain tax charges. .
The company has decided to increase its membership of the Confederation of British Metal Forming (CBM) to include all of its five manufacturing sites in England and Wales.
He says this will ensure him “the loudest possible voice” and access to MPs and business ministers.
Chairman Ben McIvor is also keen to address the issue of steel quotas and the negative impact they have on production flexibility and its ability to meet growing customer demand, with his own company securing over 200 million in revenue since becoming an independent band in 2019.
With sites in Meadowhall, River Don and Provincial Park, the manufacturer is keen to capitalize on this growth and has already invested over £3 million in new CNC machining capacity and testing facilities, with a campaign of recruitment also underway to hire 25 employees.
“We’re operating in a really strange environment right now, where the opportunities are great, but the challenges – through no fault of ours – are just as great,” said McIvor, who oversaw the formation of Forged Solutions Group after purchasing several sites from Doncasters and Arconic.
“The biggest challenge for our company is energy. You simply couldn’t have predicted what we’re seeing right now and there are very few, if any, companies that can handle the meteoric rises we have to endure.
“Our consumption is very intensive and we are faced with a significant increase in our energy prices compared to recent years. You can’t pass all of that on to the end customer, then you end up looking for alternative solutions and that’s where I think the government really needs to step in and come up with possible solutions.
He added: “Our Welsh site has always been part of CBM and we have seen firsthand the difference the commercial organization can make. We wanted to give him our full support and will now work with him to lobby the powers that be on all critical manufacturing issues.
Forged Solutions Group has been given a boost under the new ownership structure and its ability to shape its own future has resulted in increased revenue despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Much of the company’s work is in aerospace, with its forgings used as shafts, bushings and discs for engine parts, as well as landing gear and main body structural components for aircraft.
“The nature of our business means that we use many different grades of steel and there are also operational issues with the quota system put in place by the government, with the quantity allowed by the UK running out quickly, forcing us , us or our customer, to pay. rates,” McIvor said.
“In some cases, you just can’t buy the material domestically, so you have to import it. and this approach to regulation makes it a difficult business environment.
The British Metal Forming Confederation, which represents more than 200 members producing fasteners, forgings and stampings, cold rolled products and sheet metal, has been in talks with the government for some time over the issue of quotas energy and steel industries.
He was able to garner feedback from the workshop and galvanize industry support to provide a collective train of thought on these issues and is in regular contact with senior executives from the Department of Business, Enterprise and industrial strategy (BEIS).