Sheffield Forgemasters has received planning approval for construction of a building to accommodate the largest open-die forging press in the UK.

The new 12,700m2 structure will be located next to the current forge building on Brightside Lane and as well as house a new 13,000 tonne press. It will include offices and a water pumping station.

The £70m building is part of a recapitalisation programme, which will see up to £400m being invested in the site over a decade to upgrade the defence-critical assets.

Sheffield Forgemasters chief operating officer Gareth Barker said: “Securing planning permission for our new heavy forge line is a true landmark in the company’s history and will see work accelerate across the site as we move into 2023.

“In the early part of 2022, we undertook a major logistical exercise to ship the new press from Japan and place it in safe storage in the UK.

“The new facility will significantly improve our throughput of large, complex forgings and will enable us to push the envelope in terms of forging techniques and processes, as well as improving accuracy and reducing downtime.”

The target date for the completion of works has been set as 2025.

The new press will replace the company’s existing 10,000 tonne press, which was installed in the 1950s and upgraded in the 1980s.

Two enabling developments have been earlier approved covering temporary construction site access besides the partial demolition of the current forge building and erection of new heat shield walls.

Sheffield Forgemasters presently employs over 600 employees in the city, including about 100 graduates and 60 apprentices.

It was acquired by the Ministry of Defence in 2021.

The project team for the new forging line includes JLL, AEW Architects and Tetra Tech.


Image: An artist’s representation of the new forge building at Sheffield Forgemasters. Credit: Sheffield Forgemasters.