#madeinsandwell Monday revisited: Barnshaws ploughs on to new market success

Our last #madeinsandwell Monday feature on Barnshaw Steel Bending Group, in November 2018, focused on its high-profile clients and projects – including Network Rail.

We explained how Barnshaws, with its headquarters in Tividale, supplied roof beams to Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering plant in Wolverhampton, and manufactured various curved sections for Bloomberg’s Stirling award-winning headquarters in central London, believed to the most sustainable office building in the world.

Barnshaws metal bending in progressNow we’re revisiting Barnshaws to learn how the engineering company has used its expertise in curved metal fabrication to come to the aid of the agricultural sector.

With a soaring demand for food, farmers are increasingly needing to adopt modern manufacturing techniques and smart farming technologies to boost productivity and crop yield.

Mindful of this, Sandwell metal bending firm Barnshaws has been working alongside industry OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and leading heavy agricultural equipment suppliers to explore ways to improve the durability and reliability of farming machinery such as spraying equipment, hay forage trailers, ploughs, harvesters, irrigation and crop processing equipment. The answer: to curve more metal rather than rely so heavily on welded material.

Matthew Pritchard, Group Project Manager at Barnshaws, said: “Towed agricultural equipment has a hard-working life. Shocks and loads are typical mechanical stresses associated with the welding process in all aspects of fabricating farming equipment, from ploughing to harvesting.

“As anyone in steel fabrication knows, welding takes time. While welds are required in most towed equipment, minimising them can expedite the fabrication process. A viable alternative is to instead use curved metals, which offer a comparatively fast production process. Using a bending machine, such as a press brake or a roller, metals can be precision-curved to design specification without employing multiple welds. As well as offering faster production and reduced mechanical stress, the bending process can be conducted with high repeatability and offer more value to the customer than multiple welds, as less operator input is required.

“Precision curved steel offers an advantage in this regard, as it offers a more organic look than a frame section with multiple welds. By specifying curved metal, manufacturers and fabricators can ensure their product offers a truly modern design aesthetic.”

Barnshaws is often touted as the UK’s most capable metal bending company, with a proven track record in the construction, civil, sculpture and transport sectors. While curved metal is a feature in many of these industries, it has been slow to catch on in the agricultural sector.

Matthew said: “The agricultural equipment market is potentially one of the most lucrative sectors with global food markets expected to witness significant growth owing to overall rising crop outputs and increased food processing quality”.

Congratulations to Barnshaws! We look forward to hearing about its growth through diversification into this vital sector.

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