UNION Electric Steel UK Limited has been honoured with its third Queen's Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category.
The previous two being awarded under the company’s former name of The Davy Roll Co.Ltd in 1989 and 2007.
Union Electric Steel UK (UESUK), located in Gateshead and employing 275 people, is a manufacturer of cast rolling mill rolls used by the steel and aluminium industries throughout the world.
These rolls are used in hot and cold flat product mills, heavy section mill and universal beam mills.
Cast iron and steel rolls are used by Union Electric Steel customers to form steel and aluminium into products which range from girders for the largest buildings, to automotive body panels and fridge, freezer and cooker panels, as well as a host of other household uses.
UESUK is a subsidiary company of Union Electric Steel Corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Union Electric Steel UK has been owned by UESC since 1999 and changed its name last February to bring it in line with the rest of the group.
Its parent company is among the world’s largest manufacturers of forged hardened steel rolls.
Together the companies constitute one of the largest roll manufacturing groups in the world and between the two companies has a portfolio to supply the full range of roll requirements that our customers demand.
The award has been granted in the category of international trade in recognition of their export achievements over the last three years.
Despite the recession and tough trading conditions the company has managed to grow sales year on year with export sales now accounting for 85% of the company’s business, with products being sold to 40 countries worldwide.
From 1999 to 2003 the UESUK home market suffered due to the extensive restructuring of its main customers. The company reviewed the market and concluded that it would need to face this head on and export more if it was to fully utilise its capacity going forward.
To protect itself from local swings in the world’s steel industries it undertook to try to obtain a presence in every metal producing region.
The strategy involved protecting its existing customer base while increasing its position in the growing overseas metal-producing markets.
Shaun Mantle, director of sales and marketing, said: “When the world economies entered recession towards the end of 2008 our Asian business suffered greatly as, at reduced capacity, our customers moved to local supply.
“At this time we concentrated on opportunities we had from the weakening of Sterling, particularly in North America and Mexico.
“The success of the strategy is proven by the results which show our growth from £2.3m sales in 2009 to £12.6m sales in 2011 in this region.”
In addition overall sales increased by more than 75% between 2009 and 2011.
Steve Bell, managing director, said: “We believe that this award is recognition of the quality of our products and the dedication and skills of our workforce.
“Our greatest strength is our people and their dedication to excellence.
“They have a tremendous work ethic and are committed to supplying the highest value product in the industry.”
The company has been in business since 1843 and on its current site since 1870. It made its first rolling mill rolls almost 80 years ago at the same site on the edge of Gateshead’s town centre.
With the support of its parent company UESUK has invested heavily in capital equipment to improve productivity, quality and the environment over recent years.
Steve says: “Since 2005 the company has invested £12m on both new and refurbished plant and equipment to make this Europe’s most modern cast roll foundry, its state-of-the art two-bay melting plant having been opened HRH The Duke of York in February 2010.”
Further machining equipment is on order for delivery later in 2012.
The company is not about to rest on its laurels and continues to pursue business in all areas and in addition is currently developing a range of new products to ensure that it remains at the forefront of roll material technology.