Week after week there’s a story in the national press about jobs in the UK steel industry being put at risk, layoffs announced or another steel mill to close. There’s seemingly no end to the negative slide of this critical industry and with it the jobs, skills and infrastructure are lost and won’t be replaced.
This affects us all. A solid manufacturing base is the foundation of any stable economy. Many of the communities impacted by these events are in areas of the country that most need growth, jobs and a positive future.
We’ve worked on a small project over recent months, which will hopefully encourage other UK businesses to consider how they can support our steel industry during these very challenging times. It’s down to us all to take action, contest the assumption that this decline is inevitable and breath new life in to UK steel.
In 2014 Glogg was set a challenge by Glastonbury Festival’s Green Initiatives Lead, Lucy Smith… could we develop a stainless steel pint cup to replace the huge volume of paper cups used and discarded at one of the UK’s largest music festivals? We then stepped up the challenge… could the cup be designed and made in the UK? The breakthrough came when we were introduced to APS Metal Pressings Ltd, Birmingham. A family company, established for over 45 years, APS have largely focused on making specialist steel parts for the automotive industry. Enthusiastic, innovative and keen to diversify in to new markets, APS accepted the challenge to partner with glogg in developing the pint cup and used their expertise to create a set of tools which can now manufacture up to 80,000 parts per month from their factory in Hockley.
The project received a further boost when Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis stepped in to lobby a number of UK steel producers to supply the project with recycled steel, smelted in Sheffield. This has allowed us to create a mass-market product; designed, developed and manufactured in the UK from Sheffield steel. We’ve achieved a development path, which would have taken far longer and been significantly more expensive if we were working with partners overseas. The quality of the product is exceptional and the pricing competitive.
We urge other business owners both small and large to take a fresh look at UK manufacturing. It’s ours to preserve.