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Steelwork company's expansion plans

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 01, 2014

AT WORK: A section for the roof of the new North Devon Chemotherapy Unit being manufactured by WM Ironwork.

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A MANUFACTURER of steelwork is expanding its operation as demand for its high quality construction products increases.

WM Ironwork at Newton Tracey was established in 1977 by Charles West to produce agricultural ironwork, mainly for animal housing, handling and feeding. As the market changed, the company has moved into products for the construction industry, although it continues to manufacture and export its Ewe-Turn Rollover Crate to farms across Europe.

"We started off in farming, making gates for farmers," said Stuart West, son of Charles West, who now runs the company. "Now we have moved into construction, from steel-framed buildings to railings.

"Everything is bespoke. We make what the customer needs, from a garden gate to balconies and structural steelwork."

With clients including national and local building companies, local authorities and highways departments, the company is now focused on growing."

It has invested £100,000 in extending its factory and has installed new equipment as well as acquiring new forklift trucks and lorries.

WM Ironwork's services range from design to manufacture and installation. The design department develops customers' concepts into detailed drawings needed for manufacturing.

Production includes stainless steel and aluminium products for high quality finishes and for premises where hygiene is vital, such as food factories, commercial kitchens and pharmaceutical laboratories. This capability has enabled WM Ironwork to develop working relationships with large companies such as Barratt Homes and McCarthy and Stone.

It also operates its own powder coating facility and offers a galvanising service to provide a longer life for products.

The workforce numbers 57 and includes a blacksmith, apprentices, design and manufacturing staff, as well as installation teams who install structures and products across the country.

"We're proud of where we are in North Devon and all our employees are from North Devon," said Stuart, who added that the company likes to be part of the community and sponsors local sports teams.

"Although WM Ironwork is a go-ahead company with very large companies among our clients, a lot of our success is down to the fact that we're still a friendly, family-run firm. We pride ourselves on giving customers big or small exactly what they want."

Clients with WM Ironwork's gates included Michael Eavis, of Glastonbury Festival fame, while it recently constructed structural components for the new North Devon Chemotherapy Unit.

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