Sapa Tibshelf takes centre stage
Sapa Profiles UK Limited continues to invest heavily in its manufacturing resources as they re-enforce their commitment to UK manufacture.
Sapa are convinced that, even during the latest economic down-turn, that investment and modernisation are necessary in order to maintain a competitive market position and give their customers the confidence of long term local supply partner. Their latest major investment is the installation of a new 2,000 tonne extrusion line at its works in Tibshelf, Derbyshire. This article provides an insight into this £2 million development and several other investment initiatives.
The Sapa Group, part of the Norwegian Orkla organisation, continues to evolve. It was only in March, 2007, that the company entered into a joint venture with Alcoa to set up the world’s largest soft-alloy extrusion business which resulted in a combined capacity approaching 900,000 tonnes per year. The group’s key strategy of moving from an extrusion supplier to a solution provider is strongly reinforced by their investment in Technicians and Engineers to help customers in all stages of product development. In addition, the group has invested nearly € 3.2 million in its new Innovation Centre, a development resource, based in Vetlanda, Sweden, accessible to both clients and Sapa companies worldwide.
Locally, in the UK, Sapa operates from two locations in Cheltenham and Tibshelf, Derbyshire. The Cheltenham plant is equipped with two presses, one employing 9-in billet, the other 8-in billet. The facility also includes an anodising surface finishing plant. This extrusion operation is mainly employed in the manufacture of high surface finish profiles in 6000 series alloys.
The Tibshelf factory also operates two presses — one processing 9-in dia billet, the other 7-in billet. In this case, the final product is largely destined for the general engineering and transport markets. The plant also houses the organisation’s re-melt/billet casting operation which re-enforces Sapa’s commitment to the environment in scrap recycling. Together, the plants have a capacity of approximately 50,000 tonnes per year.
The restructuring and modernisation of Sapa’s UK operation, which primarily supplies the United Kingdom and Ireland, places the organisation in a strong position to weather the current economic storm. The Tibshelf and Cheltenham plants can be considered as a single entity, with the flexibility of running dies on more than one press which, in turn, gives confidence to customers that the company always has a flexible lead time. This is seen as key to providing a local supply service at the highest possible level.