Network Connection Strengthened with Forging Capabilities

Britain’s Midlands Assembly Network added KimberMills Intl., seeing an avenue to new business in petrochemical, rail sectors

Manufacturers of precision-engineered parts understand the necessity of design excellence and process quality control. Lately, there is an additional sense of the need for collaboration — the instincts to find the resources and relationships that will ensure designs, production processes, and finished parts fulfill every expectation. In the British Midlands, a consortium of “sub-contract” manufacturers and a specialty design-engineering consulting group is in its tenth year of such collaboration, and now it includes a forging operation.

Earlier this year the Midlands Assembly Network welcomed KimberMills International to its membership, seeing it as an avenue to new business opportunities in the petrochemical and rail sectors. KimberMills itself combines multiple capabilities, including press forging, drop forging, upset forging, and coining, as well as CNC machining, tool and die making, and others. It has two operations in the Midlands, at Cradley Heath and Coventry, and exports a reported 25% of its annual turnover to buyers in Europe, North America, the Mideast and Southeast Asia.

KimberMills forges parts in carbon, duplex, and stainless steel, as well as aluminum, mainly for automotive, petrochemical, and railroad markets.

The addition of KimberMills means the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN) can access capabilities for forging parts up to 75 kg, along with all the mechanical, electrical, and electronic engineering processes related to developing parts for mining and petrochemical industries, and many more downstream markets.

“We are delighted to attract such a well-respected company and one that shares the same values that we do, values of continuous improvement, world-class performance, and innovation,” according to Tony Hague, MAN chairman.

“KimberMills has recently invested £1 million into a new forge facility,” Hague noted, referring to a reconditioned drop hammer installed in 2015. “This gives it the capability to produce oil-and-gas pipe clamps and brake/suspension parts for the automotive sector.”

Hague predicted “natural synergies” for the forging group with other MAN member firms, like Alucast and Muller Holdings, “and these clusters are already in the process of being developed,” he said.

The Network has eight other member firms, totaling 700 employees, and the group expects to surpass £75 million (est. $106.5 million) in combined turnover this year.

“MAN is a fantastic example of Midlands manufacturers working together to retain work and bring contracts home to the U.K.,” commented KimberMills chairman Larry Joyce, who added that his firm believes it stands to gain about £1 million (est. $1.4 million) of new orders via the affiliation, and increase its share of specialty markets, like performance automotive.

“I know there’s a lot of best-practice sharing we can benefit from and there’s significant savings we can enjoy from making the most of our combining purchasing power on common items,” Joyce concluded.

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