Evenort Ltd acquire Alexander Comley

Evenort Ltd, the Sheffield based precision engineering company announced it has acquired Alexander Comley, the almost 100 year, midlands based manufacturer of large flanged product. The purchase will better serve the existing customer base across the UK and internationally by allowing the newly formed group to offer a single source for all product.

Over recent years Evenort’s guiding Kaizen, Core Values have taken the company onwards and upwards. The continued success culminated with CEO Craig McKay installed as the prestigious 2015-2016, 377th Master Cutler whose core role is to act as ambassador, representing the City’s wider technology and manufacturing interests. Sheffield has a long held tradition for metallurgy and steel making, with the Cutler Company founded in 1624, its first Master Cutler, Robert Sorby. At 45, Mr. McKay was one of the youngest to hold such an illustrious posting.

Alexander Comley’s diversification into tubesheets for heat exchanges, filter plates for the filtration/separation industries with significant, £500.000 investments in machinery provides a synergy for both companies that mean they are similar, yet different enough to complement one another. Glen McKay, Evenort MD, “We maintain a long term vision and strive to meet all challenges with the courage and creativity needed to realise that vision”

Craig McKay, Evenort CEO commented “Continuing the values on which Evenort is ran, the opportunity to acquire such a historic name from the British steel industry is one we feel will be of benefit to both existing and future customers. Alexander Comley and Evenort will, over the coming months, form a group which will continue to evolve the “can do – will do” approach our customers have come to expect. Very exciting times lie ahead for us all”.



The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) has invested £500,000 in a Sheffield-based company developing high performance motor-generator systems.

Libertine FPE Ltd will use the £500,000 investment to target growth in commercial markets and to advance its ‘Linear Power Systems’ technology.

It is the first investment by NPIF – Enterprise Ventures Equity Finance in the Sheffield City Region and Libertine FPE will set up a new headquarters in Sheffield with product development and testing facilities.

Libertine develops electrical power generator products known as free piston engines, in which the crankshaft is replaced by a linear electrical generator.

Founded by Sam Cockerill, an engineer with a background in the biofuels industry, Libertine currently employs four staff and expects to double its workforce in the year ahead.

Cockerill said: “This investment by the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund represents an important milestone for Libertine which will help us expand our customer base, build our team and further develop our core Linear Power Systems technology.

“In the past few months we have seen increasing demand for our technology from companies in the automotive, oil and gas and dynamic testing industries.

“With this new investment we are well placed to respond to this customer demand, and become part of the cluster of fast-growing technology businesses in the region. I look forward to working with Enterprise Ventures to deliver on this ambition.”

Ashwin Kumaraswamy, investment director at Enterprise Ventures part of Mercia Technologies, added: “We are delighted to support Libertine with its next phase of development as it gradually gains commercial traction and expands its premises in the North.

“Its innovative technology enables an improvement in the performance of electrical power generator products, which could potentially offer a cost effective, low-carbon alternative to conventional types of power generation.”

Ken Cooper, managing director at British Business Bank, said: “The response from the Yorkshire & Humber business community to the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has been exceptional with NPIF fund managers receiving hundreds of enquiries from both business introducers and SMEs in the region.

“Libertine marks the first equity investment in the Sheffield City Region, led by an expert management team, the company has the potential to take its class-leading innovation to a much larger customer base, and this funding will help them to achieve that.”

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Media, 27th July 2017

SCR online jobs board launches

A new Sheffield City Region jobs board which is designed for businesses to find it easier to recruit and retain local talent has been launched.

Companies in the Sheffield City Region are able to sign up and have their own landing page. The online service to advertise job vacancies is FREE

The jobs board will also enable companies to see the applicants profiles, CVs, contact details and process the candidates through to rejection or hire.

McLaren Automotive, which is set to create more than 200 new jobs at the Composites Technology Centre, and Barnsley based Melett, manufacturers of turbo charges, are just two of several big names to have already signed up to the service.

To find out more and to sign up to the platform please click HERE.



Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber Manufacturing Excellence Award – inclusive for all ‘S’ Postcodes

Manufacturing Excellence Award

 This award recognises local manufacturers with a proven track record for innovation, efficiency, sustainability and profitability. Entrants must be able to demonstrate the success of the products they manufacture, along with the strength of their presence in the UK and/or overseas.

The judges will be looking for evidence of the following:

  • Supporting new product development and use of new process technology, plus an understanding of/response to customers’ future needs.
  • A strategy around job creation, people development and engagement of all employees.
  • Successful processes and policies in both Lean manufacturing processes and Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • Strength of presence in the UK and/or overseas

To enter this award you can use the attached form or visit http://www.brawards.co.uk/award-categories/ to download a word or PDF document.

Sponsorship for this award is available, for further information please contact me on 01709 386200.

Entries close Friday, 1st September. The awards are open to all businesses with an ‘S’ postcode in South Yorkshire and to all members of the Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

It is FREE to enter the awards and you can apply for as many categories as you like, however we can only accept one application per award and we will accept your first application submitted.

The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 13th October, at Magna – Rotherham, in association with RNN Group

For further information please visit www.brawards.co.uk or email us at awards@brchamber.co.uk

Gripple celebrates the launch of its Quirky ‘Industrial Cathedral’

Staff and friends of the Sheffield-based world-leading manufacturer of the iconic wire fastener, Gripple were in party mood to celebrate the transformation of its riverside factory in true unconventional Gripple style and its official opening by Sheffield’s Master Cutler, Richard Edwards.

For thee full afternoon there was live music, entertainment and food stalls at the Attercliffe factory, in which employee-owned Gripple has invested £2m.

Fifteen more jobs have been created, with more expected this year. Production of a wide range of the company’s products has increased by more than 10 per cent using 35 high-tech cellular manufacturing machines capable of turning out 55 million Gripple wire fasteners annually to be sold across Europe, United States and Australia alone.

Providing 7,000 sq.ft more production space than the original building, the reborn building allows Gripple to cope with its current growth in the UK market particularly and dubbed by the company as the ‘industrial cathedral’ because of its ‘stained glass’ colour windows.

Designed to establish a pleasant workplace, the new building is also one of the ‘greenest’ buildings with £350,000 spent on 400 solar panels to heat water drawn from the river Don, a green wall of plants and a fish tank which is home to some sizeable koi.

The gardens surrounding the extended building, with its curves and walls set at an eight degree angle to avoid conventional straight lines, were created and are now tended by homeless people from the charity, Emmaus who were paid by the company.

After declaring the ‘Cathedral’ officially open and taking a tour around the exceptional building the Master Cutler said: “I have seen Gripple develop over the last 20 years and I am in awe of the team who have grown the company through product development and innovation. The new building is wonderful, unique and I am sure a great place to work.”

Gripple still has its head office in the Old West Gun Works on Savile Street East in Sheffield and one of its sister companies, Loadhog is on Hawke Street, also in Attercliffe.

For further press information please contact Margaret Laver at Proactive PR on 07723 010 752 or margaret@proactivepr.org.uk.

July 2017


Turnover has risen by 50 per cent at a Sheffield-based engineering specialist after securing contracts at Wimbledon and in the defence, nuclear, construction and manufacturing sectors.

SCX Group upped turnover by £10m to £30m during the year to 31 March 2017.

The order book for the 45-year-old family-run company, which specialises in crane and specialist mechanical handling and lifting services, currently stands at £60m, enough to keep it busy until 2021.

SCX Special Projects was responsible for the concertina-style roof over Wimbledon Centre Court and the company is now providing a similar roof for No 1 Court.

Street CraneXpress carries out overhead crane maintenance, repairs, modernisation and installation, with clients including JCB, Toyota and Hitachi Rail on its books.

SCX recently supplied ten specialised cranes for use on the Royal Navy’s two new aircraft carriers, and a growing involvement in nuclear handling contracts with the Ministry of Defence and SCX Special Projects is also working on another major sports stadium project.

The business hired an extra 12 employees this year for a total headcount of 150 and has developed its own training academy and apprenticeship programme.

Managing director Simon Eastwood said: “It is the best period we have ever been through, without a doubt [and] gives the SCX Group a very strong base to build from over the next two years.

“The group has made a major step forward in terms of the type of work we do and the size of the business, I have no doubt this will continue into the future.”

He added: “The current year’s strategy is in place and there are many new initiatives planned. The SCX academy at Tyler Street has further investments being made which will include an all-singing, all-dancing twin-hoist crane.

“There will also be a light crane system and jib crane to safely train new engineers and apprentices.”

Source: Joshua Hammond, Insider Media, 18th July 2017

Robson Handling Technology announces the appointment of Julie Kenny CBE as Chairman

Robson Handling Technology, specialists in providing end-to-end handling solutions are delighted to announce the
appointment of South Yorkshire entrepreneur Julie Kenny CBE as Chairman.

Julie brings with her a wealth of experience from an impressive working background. In her early years Julie forged
a successful career as a litigation lawyer before changing direction and founding £30m turnover South Yorkshire
manufacturer Pyronix Limited, which she sold in 2016. Along her journey, in recognition of her contribution to business
in the region Julie received a CBE and Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University.

Julie takes the reins from outgoing Chairman Bill Speirs, who made a significant contribution to shaping the future of
the business. Keen to build on this, Julie said “Robson is grateful for the contribution made by Bill and thanks him.
The outstanding customer focus, reputation for innovative solutions and unique group expertise with Robson Site
Service and RJD Engineering provide an exciting and excellent opportunity.”

Jeff Hudson, CEO of Robson welcomed Julie stating, “To attract someone of Julie’s calibre is testament to the
strength and potential of Robson in its markets. With a CBE to her name, along with being the Vitalise
Businesswoman of the Year in 2013 and PWC Private Businesswoman of the Year 201 4 Julie will be a great asset
to Robson, continuing to drive the business forward – further improving the solutions and services that we offer.”


Responding to insufficient opportunities worldwide for ambitious and talented job seekers, Gripple, the Sheffield-based manufacturer, has launched the company’s first career-dedicated web page to attract those looking for exciting and rewarding work.

The illuminating and dynamic web page has been developed by employee-owned Gripple’s five-strong global people and culture team and designed by its in-house marketing team.

The page features comprehensive company details, current vacancies, its work with the community plus several employee videos. Comprehensively covered is what employee-ownership means to every employee and makes the company different.

Sections of the web page are devoted to employees who have joined the company through multi award-winning Gripple’s annual graduate and apprenticeship schemes.

The new page is accessible not only through the company’s website but also via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visitors to the Gripple Careers page -gripple.com/careers – can also register and set up job alerts.

Emma Hibbert, the people and culture adviser, said: “To attract the very best employees to our unique business we need to raise its profile as an employer of choice and showcase what it offers. We are so excited to have launched the web page and the ‘Gripple Careers’ brand. Here at Gripple we truly do ‘own it’, our job, our career and our own part of the business!”

Further information can be found on gripple.com/careers or from Emma Hibbert on 0114 228 8629.


Emma Hibbert (r) with people and culture team member, Ewa Smerek


Industrial strategy ‘needs to look beyond south east of England’

A report released today (Monday 10 July) by researchers at Sheffield Hallam University questions the focus of the government’s industrial strategy.

The report shows that the strategy’s narrow sectoral focus targets (at best) only 10 per cent of manufacturing and one per cent of the whole economy.

The report also says that the focus on research and development (R&D) in this range of sectors is initially likely to benefit R&D facilities in affluent parts of southern England, widening divides in regional prosperity.

The new report, from the University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, looks at the location of the sectors earmarked for funding from the government’s new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The Fund has been allocated £1bn through to 2021 – by far the largest share of the new money to support the government’s industrial strategy.

The Fund is focused on six sectors – healthcare and medicine, robotics and artificial intelligence, batteries, self-driving vehicles, materials for the future, and satellites and space technology.

The report shows that many industrial cities, including Bradford, Leicester, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Nottingham, Stoke and Swansea, have few if any jobs in the targeted sectors that can expect to benefit from the new fund.

Britain’s older industrial areas – the places most in need of a successful industrial strategy – also have very few of the R&D facilities that are likely to be first in line for funding.

The report notes that even excluding its famous university, the Cambridge area (population 285,000) has twice as many jobs in scientific R&D establishments as the whole of the Midlands, more than Scotland and Wales combined, and only 2,000 fewer than the whole of the North of England (population 15.2 million).

Co-author of the report, Professor Steve Fothergill said: “It is Cambridge, Oxfordshire, the Thames Valley, Hertfordshire and London that have most to gain in the first instance from the government’s industrial strategy.

“The rest of Britain, and most of British industry, has good reason to be disappointed with what’s on offer. When it comes to financial support for R&D, much of British manufacturing is unlikely to benefit directly from the industrial strategy.”

 Please email tim.ward@shu.ac.uk if you would like a full version of the report.



  1. The Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) has a proven reputation for high-profile, authoritative and influential research on regional development, labour markets, welfare reform, cities & neighbourhoods and the voluntary sector.
  2. The new report, Industrial Strategy and the Regions: the shortcomings of a narrow sectoral focus, by Steve Fothergill, Tony Gore and Peter Wells, is the result of independent academic research initiated by CRESR.
  3. The attached map, taken from the report, illustrates the concentration of R&D jobs in places around London.

First glimpse of new £14m world leading research centre

The first images of Sheffield Hallam University’s new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) have been released.

Planning permission for the AWRC has now been submitted to Sheffield City Council and will form the centrepiece of Sheffield’s Olympic Legacy Park (OLP).

Delivered by Sheffield Hallam University in partnership with Legacy Park Ltd, the AWRC is set to become the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world. The key facility is supported by UK Government, who have committed £14million of funding to the project.

Designed by HLM Architects, the Centre will have facilities such as; a 7.5m high indoor laboratory, 3rd generation pitch with cameras and tracking instruments, 3D biomechanical and gait analysis and scanning, a manufacturing workshop, MRI, CT, ultrasound, body composition measurement and physiological testing and a technology demonstration hub.

The primary aim of the AWRC is to create innovations that will ‘improve the health of the nation’, tackling key issues such as static levels of physical activity, rising obesity and mental health whilst also attracting new jobs and investment to the region.

Building is expected to start later this year with the centre opening its doors in late 2018.

It will feature indoor and outdoor facilities for 70 researchers to carry out world-leading research on health and physical activity in collaboration with the private sector. It will form a key part of the City Region’s Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) – a 2,000 acre centre of excellence for innovation-led research and industrial collaboration.

The AWRC will undertake research focused upon taking services and products from concept to market, using the intellectual property, products and knowledge developed in the centre to generate both wealth and employment opportunities.

Sheffield Hallam’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Husbands, said: “Our vision to develop the most advanced research and development centre for health and physical activity in the world is coming to fruition.  What this means is that Sheffield Hallam will be leading work which has the potential to transform the nation’s well-being.

“The AWRC will revolutionise sport, health-care, physical activity and leisure. Working in collaboration with the private sector at the heart of the Olympic Legacy Park, our talented engineers and researchers will design new products and services from initial concept all the way through to market. This is a major step forward for the University, the city and the country.”

In 2015, Toshiba Medical – a Canon Group Company, and Westfield Health were announced as the first major, private sector partners of the AWRC and will provide cutting edge equipment and technology to assist with research. parkrun became the AWRC’s third major partner in 2016 and will work together with their two million registered runners to improve their health and wellbeing.

Professor Steve Haake, Director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC), said: “This will cement Sheffield Hallam’s global reputation for putting the science into sport and physical activity, but the AWRC will also be an exceptional asset for Sheffield and the wider region in helping to attract new jobs and investment.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP, said: “This world leading development will be an inspiring example of what can be achieved in our region, creating jobs and boosting our local economy whilst playing an important role in tackling global problems through innovation and research. The Sheffield Hallam University AWRC at the Olympic Legacy Park will play a key role in the growth and development of the city region.”

Councillor Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “We know that Hallam has a world-leading reputation for innovation in sport and healthcare and this fits perfectly with the council’s vision for a sustainable and healthy outdoor city.

“It’s exciting to see the new plans for the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre taking shape. This is another major investment bringing jobs and growth to the region and growing the reputation of our advanced manufacturing in the city.”

The Olympic Legacy Park will provide organisations with the opportunity to co-locate at the world-class centre of excellence and partner with Sheffield Hallam University to carry out collaborative research and development, sparking new innovations that link the health and wellbeing, sports and technology sectors.

Through the AWRC’s close links with the National Centre of Sports and Exercise Medicine, researchers will be able to work with the population of Sheffield and use local communities to explore and test the potential of new innovations and products developed at the OLP.


The Rt Hon Richard Caborn, project lead for the OLP, said “The Olympic Legacy Park is set to be an internationally recognised Innovation District for health and wellbeing research and learning, and the AWRC will play an integral role at the very heart of the site.

“Together with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine, this unique facility will make a vital contribution towards sustaining the health of the nation.”

The AWRC was recently highlighted as a key contributor in the Sheffield City Region vision launch which forms a cornerstone for the future of health and wellbeing in the region.

Toshiba Medical UK’s managing director, Mark Hitchman, said: “Our partnership with the AWRC forms a critical part of our strategy to invest and partner in research projects that will have considerable benefits to NHS efforts and UK population at large.

“Our imaging equipment and research and development capability will play a crucial role in identifying and understanding the positive effect of exercise on health and disease prevention, as well as faster rehabilitation of many chronic conditions.”

Westfield Health’s commercial director Dave Capper said: “As the major private sector partner, Westfield Health is delighted with the progress being made by the AWRC, a world leading research centre which will be core to a whole system approach to population health.”

Speaking from Texas, where Mr Capper has been profiling the AWRC to American audiences alongside representatives from the University and the NCSEM, he said: “We have been exciting American audiences with what we are doing in Sheffield. Everyone has been really impressed with the AWRC and its vision, particularly for workplace wellness.”

Tom Williams, chief operating officer at parkrun, said: “The AWRC plays a key role in supporting us with our mission to make the world a healthier and happier place, and it is great to be involved with them at this exciting time.

“We already have excellent insight into who participates in parkrun and why they do so. If we are to achieve genuine, worldwide impact, it is critical that we enhance our understanding of that participation and our partnership with the AWRC is a significant part of that.”

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email s.duce@shu.ac.uk


About the OLP:

The Olympic Legacy Park (OLP) is a 2012 Olympic Legacy hub for health and wellbeing research and learning.

On the 35-acre OLP site is the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS), iceSheffield, Altitude, Don Valley Bowl, the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) and offices, Oasis Academy Don Valley, UTC Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park campus, Park Community Arena, community sports pitch all within a park environment including running and cycling paths and open green spaces.