Shot blaster in £0.5m expansion

Andy Allen, Straaltechniek managing director, left, with Master Cutler Richard Edwards
Andy Allen, Straaltechniek managing director, left, with Master Cutler Richard Edwards

A Sheffield engineering company started by a farmer 17 years ago has just spent £500,000 on a new building as it prepares for further growth.

Shot blasting machine manufacturer Straaltechniek has bought the building opposite, almost doubling floor space, and hired six in the last six months.

The 30-strong firm, based on Valley Works, Grange Lane, Shiregreen, is riding high after sales of spare parts soared.

It has also had strong growth in service packages, for customers including JCB.

And while sales of machines dipped last year, the new building includes a showroom designed to drive them up again. It also houses larger stores, a spray booth and a larger plasma cutting area.

The firm recently sold a £1.2m machine to Rolls-Royce for its new facility in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

Straaltechniek was set up by farmer Graham Ward in 1999. Now aged 70, he became chairman last year and son-in-law Andy Allen became managing director. His wife Becky Allen is finance director.

Rob Wait, sales manager, said: “This expansion is a big thing for us, we’ve almost doubled in space.”

Andy Allen said: “From humble beginnings 20 years ago, the company has always pushed forward, putting us where we are today. But it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the employees, who I thank very much.”

Master Cutler Richard Edwards attended the opening of the new building.

He said: “It’s great to see local engineering companies investing in the future especially with the uncertainty of Brexit.

“It shows that companies do have confidence in Britain’s economy and are not afraid to drive forward.”

The firm opened offices alongside the worship in 2013 and later had an extension.

The new investment includes renovations to buildings and new machinery including a CNC guillotine, power rolls and high-definition plasma cutter.

Shotblasting and shot peening involve preparing surfaces by firing steel shot and grit at very high speed.

The firm also serves the medical, automotive and aerospace sectors.