William Rowland invest in £10m expansion programme and relocation to Enterprise 36, Barnsley

Posted March 13th 2019

William Rowland 3d visual new plant


William Rowland has signed an agreement with Barmston Developments, a joint venture between Wilton Developments and Clugston Estates to acquire land and build a state of the art new manufacturing facility at Enterprise 36 in Barnsley.  This will involve relocation from the company’s current Meadow Street, Sheffield premises to a new 6.5-acre site close to Junction 36 of the M1 within the Sheffield City Region.

The company has operated from their current site since 1870 and are deemed to be one of the oldest metal trading businesses in the UK.

In line with their strategic direction and overall growth strategy, it was important to address the infrastructure to continue the current growth trajectory.  The company has added several new product lines in the last two years which sees them morphing into a manufacturing business, with the addition of several new processes across its refined metals, metal powders and speciality alloys segments.

The site selection, close to the AMRC corridor is strategic in nature and the 6.5-acre site being nine times larger than current ensures a strong element of future proofing.

“It was critical we removed the obstacles to our continued growth and put ourselves in a position to help our customers and suppliers grow their businesses.

‘’In selecting the site, we had to consider our strongest asset (employees) first as without them we cannot provide the outstanding levels of expertise and service our customers are accustomed to.  Additionally, we wish to become an employer of choice, and whilst we are renowned for service and stability, a modern place of work will help with that.’’ said Richard Lowe, MD for William Rowland.

William Rowland is owned by Amalgamated Metals Crop (AMC) who operate a variety of non- ferrous metals businesses globally and also offer a range of risk management services to the metals sector.

‘’Our parent company has a stable and balanced portfolio, and long term perspective which enables significant investments of this type, even when the economic climate is uncertain.

‘’The site will be fully operational in the first half of 2020, with the No.1 objective of no disruption to our valued customers.  I am really confident we can achieve a move with little disruption, we are in control of the disposal of the current site and have duplicate facilities in the West Midlands from where we can build buffer inventory.’’

“This move has been discussed with our customers and suppliers who have been really supportive”, said Lowe.

The company is being supported by Barnsley Council’s Enterprising Barnsley investment team, who has provided help and advice alongside specialist business coaching.

Cllr Roy Miller, Barnsley Council Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: “We’re delighted that the company has chosen to expand to Barnsley and look forward to supporting their future growth. Their decision to move to the borough is great news, and we welcome the new opportunities this will bring to our local jobs market and Barnsley’s economy.”

The expansion has also been supported through the Sheffield City Region, Business Investment Fund.

James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We are delighted to support this development with a grant of £250,000 to enable Willian Rowland to expand its business.

“This is one of the oldest trading metal companies in the world and we are proud that William Rowland has selected the Sheffield City Region to base and grow its business, capitalising on its home-grown expertise and local supply chain.

“The Local Growth Fund is transformative and a great example of how the Mayoral Combined Authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership are working together to create growth and sustainability in the Region.”

By 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund. There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England, which are investing LGF money in a wide range of projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.

Barmston Developments will also be delivering 77,000 sq ft and 41,500 sq ft industrial units in this phase at Enterprise 36, due for completion at the end of the year, whilst in addition fully preparing the ground for a 105,000 sq ft unit which could be started promptly.

The units are being built to a high specification and are being supported by Barnsley Council’s Property Investment Fund. The units are available To Let or For Sale and are being marketed by CPP Sheffield and the Leeds office of CBRE.

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Photo left to right: Nick Child, Barmston Developments; Bob Clark, Operations Manager William Rowland; Louise Brown, Management Accountant William Rowland; Simon Robinson, GM, Speciality Alloys; Neil Berry, Financial Director William Rowland; Paul Clifford, Head of Economic Development Barnsley Council; Richard Lowe, MD, William Rowland; Karen Tazzyman, Director William Rowland.

The environmental consequences of our smartphone addiction

Posted June 26th 2017

Most of us now use smartphones on a daily basis, but we give little thought as to the materials contained within them. All smartphones contain a mix of precious metals such as platinum, palladium, gold, silver and copper.

A typical iPhone, one of the most predominant smartphones on the market, contains a mix of 0.034g of gold, 0.34g of silver, 0.015g of palladium and a very small amount of platinum (under a thousandth of a gram). In addition to this it also contains 25g of aluminium and 15g of copper.

Around 40% of a standard smartphone is composed of metals and the unfortunately less than 10% of these handsets are typically recycled which means the materials contained within them are not able to be recovered and used again. When you consider the sheer number of people who own a smartphone – over two billion – and the fact that most people will typically upgrade their phone every 1-2 years, the amount of material going to waste is staggering. With the smartphone obsession looking more likely to grow rather than fizzle out any time soon, the implications of this are important. These are finite resources and cannot just be tapped endlessly – there is a limit to what is available.

One solution would be to decrease the frequency with which we change smartphones, although this is highly unlikely to work in practice. It is, however, important to make people aware of the implications of their behaviour and encourage them to consider this. Awareness could also help to recover some of the materials sitting in old smartphones if people are encouraged to return them. Just one million old handsets could be turned into almost 16 tonnes of copper, 350kg of silver, 15 kg of palladium and 34kg of gold.

Although there is no clear solution this is certainly a problem that needs to be talked about. Awareness can help to alter people’s behaviour and may help us to preserve and recover some of these much needed resources.

metals in smartphone


Cold Casting

Posted December 27th 2016

Cold Casting is the term used to describe the process of mixing metal powders in a resin to create decorative features, which look as though they have been cast in metal. The castings give the appearance of solid metal, but are cheaper to produce, and are popular for use in sculptures, decorative paneling and furniture fittings, to name a few. Cold casting is also a popular technique for restoring antiques, or older furniture/household items. For example, if have something with brass fittings and you are missing one, cold casting could reproduce the part without the cost and time of doing it properly.

Different metal powders can be used in the process of cold casting, including bronze, brass, copper, silver, aluminium, tin and nickel – which powder is used will depend upon the desired finish. Bronze, copper and tin are amongst the popular metals to be used, although other powders such as porcelain and marble may be used instead of metal in some cases.

In order to make a cold casting, the resin and metal powder must be mixed together to form a thick mixture. There is no set amount of powder that should be mixed with the resin, however, good results can be achieved by carefully mixing until you have a thick paste, that is still pourable. This is then brushed into the mold to be used, making sure every surface is thoroughly coated, and once filled it is left to cure.

Once the mixture is dried, it can be removed from the mold and shaped as needed. Some casting may need to be sanded down and polished afterwards in order to get the desired effect.

The benefits of cold casting are lower cost and ease of the process. Its suitability depends on what the finished product should look like. Something that needs to have a highly polished surface, for example, may need to be further treated with a coating but a brushed finish is very easily attainable. Cold casting parts also have the benefit of not being susceptible to rust, making them far easier to maintain than if they were made of metal. Interestingly, it is also possible to create a ‘rusty’ cold cast if needed, by artificially aging it (for decorative purposes of course!).