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Lifting the lid on engineering feat

Heavy engineering made a return to one of the Black Country's most historic industrial sites, when the 10-ton lid for a steelmaking crucible was delivered to a firm. 

 The six-metre diameter lid was so big it had to be transported overnight from Yorkshire to the Grazebrook Industrial Estate premises of Thermofax in Dudley, the company given the job of heat-treating it.

Thermofax is one of only two companies in the UK capable of handling such a large engineering fabrication, which will spend around 18 hours in a special oven to make the structure and its welds more stable so it can handle the high temperatures when it is used for steelmaking at the Tata Steel site in Scunthorpe.

It was manufactured by engineering giant Siemens, also based at Scunthorpe, and they chose Thermofax to carry out the heat treatment work.

A family firm employing six people, Thermofax currently processes around 1,000 tons of steel a month. Managing director Tom Bullock said: "This industrial site has been here since 1750. They made the Blockbuster bombs forthe Second World War. and very large scale boilers. They were a name known around the world. The Grazebrook beam engine used on this site from 1817 is re-erected at Dartmouth Circus in Birmingham."

The works closed in 1983 and the site was redeveloped by the Hulbert Group. "We have been on the site since 1985, but it has been about 25 years since a fabrication of this size has come into our works."

Mr Bullock added: "Business has been steadily improving since 2010 but over the last six months things have started to gain a bit more momentum. Now we are absolutely flying. We have even taken on another worker over the last year - we hadn't employed anyone new for 15 years."

This article is courtesy of the Express & Star. 

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