Pontypool’s Forged Solutions group seeks help with energy prices
One of the UK’s leading specialists in high integrity forgings is adding its voice to the industry’s call for increased support to offset escalating energy costs.
Pontypool-based Forged Solutions Group, which works with leading customers in the aerospace, power generation, underground mining and all-terrain vehicle sectors, is calling on the government to address to soaring gas and electricity prices by exploring potential subsidies or removing some of the tax burdens.
The company has decided to increase its membership of the Confederation of British Metal Forming (CBM) to include its five manufacturing sites in Wales and England and to ensure it has 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 group in 2019.
With a site in Blaenavon, the manufacturer is keen to capitalize on this growth and has already invested over £3m in new CNC machining capacity and testing facilities across the group, with a recruitment campaign also underway to hire 25 new 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 Ben, 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 Blaenavon site has always been part of CBM and we have seen the difference the sales 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. tariffs,” continued Ben.
“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).
Geraldine Bolton, CBM’s chief executive, echoed the story:
“Now is the time for our specific sector of the industry to stand up and start shouting about the challenges we face and having the entire Forged Solutions group on board is great news for our efforts.
“Ben has significant experience in our sector and is highly respected, so it will be essential to ensure that his voice and first-hand thoughts are heard by those making decisions on new business support measures.
“The forgings it manufactures are used in some critical applications around the world, so we need to make sure we have a UK supply chain in place to supply the products and components we desperately need.”
In addition to lobbying, Forging Solutions Group will seek to bring in CBM experts to help it access the Climate Change Agreement program across all of its five sites, which could lead to significant savings in the future.