Firsteel, which was recently acquired by What More, has invested £250K in its site, people and machinery as the first part of a planned £1m investment programme.
One of only two specialist coil metal coating companies in the UK, Firsteel supplies the automotive and bakeware industries, among others, processing steel and coating it with non-stick paint to make baking trays, as one example.
Firsteel has a specialist knowledge passed on through generations, with the longest serving employee time served at 41 years. Apprentices are now being trained in the specialist skills, enabling UK customers to say their products are truly ‘made in Britain’.
The company is investing heavily in maintaining and modernising equipment and facilities, as well as taking on staff. General manager, Paul Didlick, commented: “This is a large site and our speed on the very long line needs to be as fast as we can make, efficiently, to very high quality standards and with minimal downtime.
“We’re going through a period of investment and improvement, to make sure our efficiencies are as good as they can be, as we go through a period of rapid growth.
“70% of our output is exported, and China have dominated the steel supply market in the past. We’re proudly part of the British manufacturing heritage, and we’re investing to ensure we stay at the forefront of it.”
Adrian Blakemoor from West Brom, who operates the trim to size machine for customers who require pre-cut materials, added: “The lines run at 60 metres per minute, which is fast. This cutting machine cuts at 100 strokes per minute, cutting to required length. My job is to ensure we keep to our very high quality standards. I inspect every piece to ensure it meets our standards – or it doesn’t go to the customer.”