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Firsteel investment tops £250k after acquisition

Investment at the specialist coil metal coating company Firsteel has reached £250,000 following its recent acquisition.

Paul Didlick, commercial manager of Firsteel who have a £1 million investment plan for the site

What More UK, manufacturer of housewares brand Wham, bought the Walsall business.

Spending is being carried out on the site, people and machinery as part of a planned £1 million investment programme.

Firsteel in Brockhurst Crescent, Bescot ,is one of only two specialist suppliers of this nature in the UK. It supplies the automotive and bakeware industries, processing steel and coating it with non-stick paint including for baking trays found in every supermarket.

The company, which was founded in 1857, was formerly owned by British Steel and Tata Steel.

The markets it operates in require exacting standards of quality.

Specialist knowledge is passed on through generations, with the longest serving employee having worked there for 41 years. Apprentices are now being trained in the specialist skills required

General manager Paul Didlick said: "This is a large site and our speed on the very long line needs to be as fast as we can make, efficiently, to very high quality standards and with minimal down time.

"We're going through a period of investment and improvement, to make sure our efficiencies are as good as they can be, as we go through a period of rapid growth.

"70 per cent of our output is exported and China have dominated the steel supply market in the past. We're proudly part of the British manufacturing heritage, and we're investing to ensure we stay at the forefront of it."

Adrian Blakemoor from West Bromwich, who operates the trim to size machine for customers who require pre-cut materials, added: "The lines run at 60 metres per minute, which is fast. This cutting machine cuts at 100 strokes per minute, cutting to required length. My job is to ensure we keep to our very high quality standards. I inspect every piece to ensure it meets our standards – or it doesn't go to the customer."

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