The UK’s largest and most accurate plate rolls have arrived in the West Midlands – at Bilston-based Irvon Press and Sheer.
The Black Country company has installed hi-tech plate rolls and bevel cutting plasma machine, bringing pioneering technology to the region and securing an estimated £1 million worth of additional business for the company.
Irvon’s investment in the cutting edge equipment was made possible with the support of a £99,000 Grant for Business Investment from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
The grant enabled Irvon to buy and install a 100-tonne plate rolling machine, which can ‘cold’ bend steel 3m wide and 120mm thick to within a few millimetres accuracy; an ultra precise bevel cutting plasma machine; and a 20-tonne crane in order to process the massive steel plates.
These type of rolling machines are being purchased in the US to build its wind farms and in the UK the only comparable plasma cutting machines are being used to build an aircraft carrier for the Royal Navy.
Andy Kimberley, managing director at Irvon, said the move was part of ambitious growth plans.
He said: “The way forward is to invest in cutting edge technology and the ‘big stuff.’
“The unique combination of the rolls and bevel cutting machine will allow us to win otherwise unattainable contracts, effectively making us the UK’s biggest plate processor, with world-class facilities.
“Even the biggest engineering companies don’t have machines this large because they simply don’t need them on a daily basis but Irvon will because we will be taking on jobs for everybody, all of the time.”
Michelle Arnold, general manager at Irvon, said: “We’ve already processed armour plating for new fighting vehicles heading off to Afghanistan, blast walls on drilling rigs around the world, marine winches, and a bridge for the new 2012 Olympic stadium. The new machinery will help us to become even more specialist and competitive.
“The support we have received from Advantage West Midlands has been fantastic and has allowed us to invest in our growth at a critical time, putting us at the forefront of large metal engineering in the UK and giving us a truly competitive edge globally.
“The project has given us a real boost and provided an exciting opportunity for our workforce – it is their expertise, hard work and enthusiasm that truly keeps us competitive and successful.”
The project is creating four jobs and safeguarding another four jobs, while levering in more than £1.2 million private sector investment.