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Joint project delivers galvanizing world first

An exciting tie-up between two businesses in the Black Country and Shropshire is delivering a ‘galvanizing’ world first.

Fastline Steel Services has signed a £multi-million integrated manufacturing agreement with Corbetts the Galvanizers to exclusively use Plant A at its Telford site, guaranteeing over 15,000 tonnes of perimeter steel fencing will be galvanized there every year.

The decision, which creates up to 40 new jobs and safeguards a further 80 more across the two firms, marks a switch from dual sourcing to a more strategic partnership that will deliver increased capacity and reduced lead times, not to mention world class, repeatable quality.

“This marks the next stage of a five-year relationship and a new way for galvanizers and manufacturers to work together,” said Sophie Williams, finance director and general manager at Corbetts the Galvanizers.

“The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had cut our volumes in certain sectors and that meant we temporarily consolidated all business into our larger Plant B. Whilst this was not ideal, it did give us the opportunity to take a longer-term view of how we wanted to work with our customers to build more strategic partnerships.

“One of those was with Fastline Steel Services, that has been growing rapidly and was in need of guaranteed additional capacity to cope with consistent increases of work in construction, prisons, rail, utilities and with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

“We held several detailed discussions and eventually agreed to bring back Plant A to serve as a dedicated galvanizing facility. A further 10 jobs are to be created in the initial three months, with the installation of palisade lines directly on site supporting the manufacture of railings and high security steel perimeter systems.

“Over £500,000 has been invested in creating the infrastructure so that the products can be manufactured and sent straight to be dipped in baths just a few metres away.”

Corbetts, which celebrated 160 years in business in 2020, currently galvanizes over 100 tonnes of products every week for Fastline, with the second line providing the opportunity for exponential increases. This, alongside the introduction of a Kanban system and a new approach to hanging work, will speed up throughput and allow both parties to meet growth expectations.

Mike Fellows, managing director of Fastline Steel Services, said: “This is a very exciting move for the business and will help support growth plans that will initially take turnover from £15m to £30m over the next eighteen months.

“There is significant interest in our core fabricated products, including steel palisade, rigid mesh, chain link, weldmesh and fabricated railing systems, with a host of new automated solutions also coming online. This means we require a strategic partner we trust to deliver the galvanizing capacity and quality going forward and Corbetts really stepped up when we gave it the challenge.

“It’s a galvanizing sector world first and, importantly, will safeguard 80 jobs and create many more in its first twelve months. There’s also a significant environmental benefit as we are reducing hundreds of journeys and minimising energy usage whenever we can.”

Corbetts the Galvanizers has been supplying world class hot dip galvanizing to thousands of customers across the UK and Europe for 160 years. This process is the most effective and environmentally friendly way to protect steel from the elements and provides a long-term solution to corrosion (rust) and maintenance free protection in excess of 100 years.

From its purpose-built facility in Telford, it operates a number of galvanizing baths that give it the opportunity to process in excess of 50,000 tonnes every year and the ability to double dip material up to a length of 14 metres.

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