Siddall and Hilton Products, one of Brighouse’s longest-established manufacturers and largest employers, has announced that its new £2m specialist welding machine is now fully operational after an extensive three month-long commissioning programme. Running over 40% faster than any of the company’s existing machines and producing up to 70% less process scrap, it will increase capacity and efficiency at the business which manufactures welded steel mesh for high-security fencing, general fencing and industrial mesh panels.

In March 2021, the new LGR102 welding machine travelled from Austria, having been manufactured by EVG in Graz, to its new home in West Yorkshire where it joined the welded steel mesh manufacturer’s existing fleet of four EVG machines.

Utilising the latest medium frequency welding technology, the new machine will focus on the production of industrial mesh, freeing up capacity on the other machines and enabling the business to increase through-put as it continues to grow. This year, it has added a further nine trainee mesh operators, including two apprentices to its now 59-strong team, and the 126-year-old company is currently seeking another three recruits.

The latest EVG machine marks Siddall and Hilton Products’ most significant investment for 12 years and was funded by the business’s primary lenders, ABN AMRO, supported by £100,000 of grant funding from Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP). It was officially ‘launched’ on Friday 23rd July when guests including the newly-elected Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin; Sir Roger Marsh OBE DL, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and NP11; and Andy Pascoe, relationship director at ABN AMRO Lease, joined chief executive Ian Thurley and the team on site in Foundry Street to see the new machine in action.

Ian Thurley commented: “The business is going from strength to strength and we’re proud of this, our biggest single achievement just two Covid-interrupted years since the MBO. This latest investment marks a major milestone in our world class journey as we continue to invest not only in the best machinery on the market, but also in building our workforce and developing our people to ensure we have the best skilled team for the future.

”Thanks to ABN AMRO’s continued belief in and commitment to our company, bolstered by the confidence shown by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership through investing £100,000 of taxpayers’ money in our latest development, I have been amazed by the level of excitement, energy and enthusiasm it has injected into our business. There’s a real buzz on the shop floor and this energy will be equally as important as the productivity gains we make with the new machine in driving the business to further growth and success.”

Dating back to 1895, Siddall and Hilton processes over 1,500 tonnes of wire a month and now employs 59 people. Following an MBO in August 2019, the management team, led by Ian Thurley, has undertaken a programme of operational improvements and the company is seeing sustained growth.