Sheffield Forgemasters has secured planning permission for the construction of a building to house the UK’s largest open-die forging press.
The new 12,700 sq m structure will sit adjacent to the existing forge building on Brightside Lane and as well as housing a new 13,000 tonne press, will include offices and a water pumping station.
The building forms part of a recapitalisation programme, which will see up to £400 million invested in the site over ten years to upgrade the defence-critical assets.
Gareth Barker, Chief Operating Officer, said: “Securing planning permission for our new heavy forge line is a true landmark in the company’s history and will see work accelerate across the site as we move into 2023.
“In the early part of 2022, we undertook a major logistical exercise to ship the new press from Japan and place it in safe storage in the UK.
“The new facility will significantly improve our throughput of large, complex forgings and will enable us to push the envelope in terms of forging techniques and processes, as well as improving accuracy and reducing downtime.”
A target date of 2025 has been set for the completion of works and the new forging press to be in operation. It will replace the company’s existing 10,000 tonne press, which was installed in the 1950s and upgraded in the 1980s.
Two enabling developments have previously been approved covering temporary construction site access as well as the partial demolition of the existing forge building and erection of new heat shield walls.
The benefits of the proposed development are considered to be significant for the economy of Sheffield and given the company’s position at the forefront of the steel industry in the UK, these benefits will be important to the national economy.
Sheffield Forgemasters currently employs more than 600 staff in the city, including about 100 graduates and 60 apprentices. The company was acquired by the Ministry of Defence in 2021.
Sheffield Forgemasters’ project team for the new forging line includes JLL, AEW Architects and Tetra Tech.