Fabweld Steel Products (FSP) is making moves to capitalise on the lucrative offshore wind sector, believed to be worth up to £15 billion in the UK alone.
Best known for its innovative access covers for road, rail and major infrastructure projects, FSP has already this year made moves in to the biomass sector and now, thanks to two grants totalling in excess of £5,000, it plans to enter the off shore wind sector.
The grants have been awarded by the GROW:OffshoreWind service, which is supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund and delivered by industry experts from the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), RenewableUK, Grant Thornton and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
The grants will be used by Fabweld to further develop its management systems and staff training programmes, as well as diversifying its welding procedures to meet the bespoke needs of offshore wind providers. It is anticipated that two new jobs could be created as a result.
Work on the firm’s management systems is already underway, in partnership with Mercia QA Ltd, and for one of the standards (BS EN1090), it has been necessary for Fabweld to have a designated Responsible Welding Coordinator (RWC) in place. As a result, existing employee Craig Williams has been specifically trained up, by Weld Qual Ltd, and now holds full certification in this area.
The UK is seen as a global leader in offshore wind and has as much capacity already installed as the rest of the world combined. With further growth in the area anticipated, grant funding has been made available to ensure specialist firms like Fabweld, are best equipped to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.
Speaking on receipt of the grants, Richard Hilton, Managing Director of Fabweld Steel Products, said: “It is easy to assume that those working in the steel industry are a mile away from anything with green credentials, but as we have demonstrated already this year we have a very real and significant role to play in this area.
“The offshore wind sector is particularly strong here in the UK and we knew that if we were to have a realistic chance of gaining customers in this space, we’d need the very best management systems, training and procedures in place. The grants that we’ve received from the GROW:OffshoreWind programme will make a considerable impact on our ability to achieve this.”
Head of GROW:OffshoreWind Dominic Brown added: “With somewhere in the region of 40 new offshore wind projects currently being planned in waters off the UK, there is a huge opportunity for manufacturers in the West Midlands to become part of the supply chain that will realise these projects.
“Fabweld Steel Products demonstrated that it is in a strong position to diversify its offering, expand its business and successfully enter the buoyant offshore wind market. We wish the Fabweld team all the best as they make further progress in this mission.”