We are proud of our history at Barnshaws but we are always looking towards the future. For over 45 years we have delivered solutions for our customers. A family run business that has expanded and developed but keeps these founding values at the heart of the business.
Our history dates back to 1969 when our current chairman Russ Barnshaw started trading from a small rented factory in Oldbury, just north of Birmingham. We enjoyed early success in fulfilling a big demand for duct rings and flanges for ventilation, air conditioning and dust control. It was common to receive orders for 100 rings of 18 3/16" diameter rolled from 1 1/2x 1 1/2 x 3/ 16" angle.
We started with two machines that Russ Barnshaw made, using gears from a vehicle breaker's yard. The larger machine was capable of rolling 3 x 3 x 5 / 16 angle. This equipment paved the way to rapid growth and in Barnshaws' second year a larger machine was built that could roll 80x80x10 angle. We then purchased a used machine made by Craig and Donald, a Scottish shipbuilding machine manufacturer.
Our rapid growth in the early 70's was further empowered by the relationship we developed with Roundo, the Swedish manufacturer of rolling and bending machines. Roundo and Barnshaws were growing simultaneously and we took full advantage of their introduction of hydraulics into bending machine design to turn and move rollers. By the mid-70's our machinery could roll 8x8 x1" angle and 6" square bar.
The 1980-82 recession saw many companies folding. Barnshaws still managed to expand at this time, increasing our capabilities by rolling cylinders and cones from plate and beginning to offer a press braking service. We became the first sub-contract non fabricator plate bending company in the UK. In just a decade, we had risen to become the UK's largest metal bending company.
The introduction of heavier machines and machines to roll and bend plate enabled us supply plate work for tanks, silos and vessels. We established manufacturing facilities near Manchester to provide the most cost competitive service in the North West of England. We could now also bend large beams and columns across flanges for curved monorails, including Gatwick Airport Monorail.
Bending beams about their bigger, stronger axis is difficult due to the force required. Our solution utilised the same principle that was used on ship frame benders in the early part of the 20th Century - pressing between two posts with the centre tooling pushing on both the front and back flanges of the H column or universal beam.
Our ability to roll beams and columns about their major axis enabled structural steelwork engineers to design structures curved in plan and elevation. This revolutionised the economic use of curved steel beams, greatly contributing to our expansion, exemplified by opening the Hamilton, Scotland factory in 1993. In 1997 we installed one of the UK's largest press brakes (12m long x 1000 tonne).
Transporting rings and cylinders was always a factor in the cost to the customer therefore Hamilton, Scotland factory opened in 1993 to serve industry in Scotland and North of England.
In 1997 we installed one of the UK's largest press brakes (12m long x 1000 tonne) into our Midlands Centre.
In 2003 we installed equipment which enabled us to bend 1500x30mm Circular hollow sections, giving us the largest cold bending capacity worldwide. We have also re-introduced induction bending and have expanded into Europe with a new plant in Poland, enabling us to serve our European customers with significantly reduced transportation costs.
"I founded the company and worked hard in the business, there have been however many people who have made very significant contributions to the company's success and its growth. Some of these people have moved on, some have retired and many are still working in the business."
The founder's son Robert Barnshaw now runs the company and although we are no longer a small company he appreciates that it's only by continuing to give a good service and quality at a competitive price that can we provide the service needed by our customers.