Major investment as Alcoa hits milestone

4 November 2015

The Stafford Park-based company, which makes industrial fasteners, was set up as Huck Fasteners in 1985, before being acquired by Alcoa and renamed Alcoa Fastening Systems in 2002.

Last year, it became Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings (AFSR) following its parent’s takeover of jet engine part maker Firth Rixson.

Now, as the company celebrates 30 years of fastener making in the town, Alcoa is to bring new machinery into its site, allowing it to strengthen its position in the automotive, construction and civil engineering sectors.

To be completed by quarter one of 2016, the investment will includes an optical inspection machine, a collar header and a shoulder bolt cell.

The latest investments, along with increased demand for the company’s services, have brought about four new jobs, which have been filled, bringing the total workforce to 108 at Telford.

Operations director Jonathan Craven said: “Our aim has always been to provide world class fastening solutions for complex geometries, to fulfil challenging corrosion performance requirements, as well as providing safety-critical and multi-material combinations for hybrid structures across a variety of markets.

“These customer expectations are exceeded and delivered by a highly-trained, organised, happy and empowered workforce, with health and safety at the heart of everything they do. I see this every day and that’s why, 30 years on, we are still a company with ambition, potential and bags of ideas.”

Mr Craven added: “The new manufacturing machinery will give us greater capacity for existing markets and products, as well as the capability to develop more products. And the new inspection machinery will meet customer and market requirements.

“The future vision is for growth, to further meet existing market needs and to develop new markets while continuing to develop new innovative products.”

Last month Alcoa’s American parent company revealed third quarter sales of $5.6 billion (£3.7 billion), bringing its total in the year-to-date to $17.3 billion (£11.3 billion).

Headquartered in Torrance, California, Alcoa Fastening Systems & Rings has approximately 8,700 employees at 39 manufacturing and distribution/logistics locations in 13 countries.

Its Huck fastening elements are used in private cars, trailers, commercial vehicles and railway carriages, with its heavy-duty systems designed to solve problems created by tension and vibration between joined materials.

One of the more prominent projects undertaken by Alcoa’s Telford operation was a colossal steel sculpture of two horses’ heads – The Kelpies – at Falkirk in Scotland.

Andy Scott’s 300-tonne, 30m high public artwork pays tribute to the role played by horses in Scotland’s working life.

A big part of the company’s demand has been for shoulder bolts on cars, while demand in the green energy sector has also seen a spike, and it has been involved in a project on the London Underground.