Rowecord returns to structural steel fabrication

Aaron Morby 8 years ago

The family behind Wales’ biggest steelwork contractor Rowecord Engineering is returning to structural steel fabrication.

New equipment has been installed at the Baglan factory
New equipment has been installed at the Baglan factory

Privately-owed Rowecord Engineering collapsed under heavy debts three years ago. But other companies owned by the Hoppé family in the group were left trading under Rowecord Holdings.

Now one of these companies – specialist water tank fabrication firm Braithwaite Engineers – is moving back into constructional steel.

New equipment being fitted at the Port Talbot works will allow the business to produce structural steel components up to 45m long.

Historically Braithwaite was a pioneer in heavy engineering, building railways, bridges, piers and steel framed buildings worldwide, including in India, where Braithwaite built much of the railway network and rolling stock.

The company has produced sectional water storage tanks since the 1920’s at its Neptune Works in Newport, which continue to be used in the UK and exported internationally.

It was taken over by Rowecord Holdings in 1987 and is now returning to its engineering roots by establishing a structural steelwork fabrication facility at a site in Baglan, Port Talbot.

Managing Director Ian Hoppé said: “We are looking to the future and investing in Port Talbot.

“We have taken on exceedingly experienced management and a core team of six highly skilled fabricators and welders and will build on this over the next few months.

“The jobs created have all been taken up by people local to the area and we expect to increase the number of fabricators and welders to 20 with additional management support staff.”

“The 25,000 sq ft factory, three and half acre secure yard and crane capacity to single lift 30tonne units gives us a workshop with exceptional versatility.”

He added: “New equipment currently being commissioned includes a new Ficep Gemini, a computer-controlled profiling machine which can cut, drill and scribe steel plates up to 16m long.

“This with other fabrication equipment gives us the capability to fabricate structural steel components up to 45m in length.”

“There is much uncertainty around at the moment but we are passionate about keeping skilled and quality engineering alive in South Wales and determined to drive the business forward” he added.

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