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BIAFD visits British Steel Wire Rod Mill  (06 November, 2016)

This October thirty managers from members of the BIAFD visited the British Steel Wire Rod Mill in Scunthorpe to hear and see first hand how the main raw material for fastener manufacturing is produced.

The visit was part of the British & Irish Association of Fastener Distributors’ on-going campaign to ensure its members are better informed. This was BIAFD’s first visit to the Scunthorpe mill since Greybull Capital acquired Tata’s Long Products Europe and created the new British Steel.

The BIAFD delegates received informative presentations on the wire rod production process from Sophie Day, British Steel’s Product Marketing Manager for Wire Rod and Semi-Finished Products, and Paul Cockram, Technology Manager, Wire Rod. These were followed by a guided tour of the Wire Rod Mill, allowing the BIAFD visitors to follow the complete process from the emergence of billets from the reheating furnace at up to 1200oC, through the series of roughing, intermediate and finishing mills, during which the wire rod accelerates to the pace of a 100 metre sprinter, before being coiled onto Stelmar conveyers for the critical process of controlled cooling. Finally the wire rod is compacted, strapped and stored in British Steel’s automatic coil warehouse.

For most BIAFD visitors it was a rare, first opportunity to see one of the largest scale industrial processes in the UK – a cogent reminder of massive precision engineering process even before the wire is manufactured into fasteners.

BIAFD vice-chairman and managing director of Bollhoff Fastenings Ltd, joined the tour. “British Steel’s welcome and organisation was excellent and provided us all with both a clear insight into the wire rod manufacturing process and a rare opportunity to witness its scale and drama. It is a remarkable and unforgettable experience and BIAFD is extremely grateful to British Steel for the substantial investment, not least in time and people, in welcoming and informing our members.”

BIAFD organises similar seminars and tours at cold heading and hot forging plants in the UK and is planning a full programme of educational visits for 2017. Members also have the full use of BIAFD’s Introductory Training Manual, which has become an invaluable tool for introducing new recruits to the industry and refreshing the knowledge of longer standing employees.

For more about BIAFD and membership visit or email
For more about British Steel Long Products visit

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