British Steel has been given planning approval for a £26 million upgrade to its Special Profiles business.
The plans for a new service centre at Skinningrove, which include cut-to-length lines, product milling, machining and warehousing operations, have been approved by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.
British Steel will now press ahead with the development, enabling it to make and process an extended range of value-added profiles for the forklift industry.
David Hogg, Special Profiles Plant Manager, said: “This is fantastic news for our people, our business and our customers. This development will ensure we remain a leading global manufacturer and represents the biggest single investment in our Special Profiles business for more than 30 years.
“We hope to start building works later this year with commissioning expected to start in August 2023.”
British Steel’s Special Profiles business makes components for a wide range of sectors including the forklift and earthmoving industries. Its plans for the new service centre, which will sit at the heart of the company’s Skinningrove site, were designed by lead architects Building Design Northern (BDN Ltd) – a North-East based multi-disciplinary practice.
David Waine, British Steel’s Commercial Director for Special Profiles, said: “This is a hugely exciting development and another major step forward for our business.
“We had an incredible response from our customers when we announced our plans so we’re delighted we can now press ahead with this investment. It will enable us to manufacture world-class products to the tightest of tolerances. We will also be able to explore new growth opportunities, for although our primary product offering will be for forklift mast production, we expect to be able to expand this to include other product applications too.”
Richard Marsden, Managing Director of Building Design Northern, said: “We are incredibly proud to be involved in the continued investment by British Steel into Skinningrove, building on our strong track record of designing and engineering industrial buildings.”
The new Skinningrove facility is designed to replace the services currently offered at the company’s site in Darlington, which stores and cuts profiles to customer requirements. The company revealed in August 2021 that it intends to offer all employees currently based at Darlington new roles to retain and support its skilled workforce.
This latest scheme builds on previous investments, including the installation of a £2 million world-leading surface descaling system, a high-tech product processing centre and a unique robotic identification tracking control for each profile manufactured at the Skinningrove mill.
Last month, the Special Profiles business announced it has commissioned a £1 million state-of-the art laser measurement system. It provides millions of dimensional readings on every bar rolled, ensuring products are made to world-leading dimensional tolerances.