Skip to Content

Category Archives: News

Navigating the UK Energy Crisis: Hallam Castings Joins Doncaster’s Sustainability Roundtable

Hallam MD Rob Pickersgill attended a Doncaster City Council Roundtable event on sustainable energy in manufacturing with presentations by Fhaheen Khan, Chief Economist at MAKE UK and Dr Pam Murrell, CEO of the UK Cast Metals Federation. Attendees included Ed Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero; Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster City Council and Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher. The event was hosted at the Ardagh Glass Group’s Doncaster complex.

Rob Comments “The discussions covered a wide range of issues highly relevant to the UK energy cost crisis including sustainable technology use and market pricing issues, the latter being extremely complex and another disastrous legacy of privatization. Long term contract prices for manufacturers include high risk premiums and inflated non-commodity costs, are the highest in Europe and 4 or 5 times higher than the prices that UK manufacturers’ competitors in China and even the USA are currently paying. The Government-commissioned REMA report (Review of Electricity Market Arrangements) doesn’t provide a solution to the pricing anomalies in the market, being focused on creating flexibility to accommodate sustainable power rather than alleviating domestic and industrial customer pain.”


Powder Coating Excellence at Hallam

However you travel, you’re never far away from a Hallam powder coated product!

Hallam’s powder coating process now uses Interpon Redox Plus as a powder primer protective barrier designed to give enhanced corrosion protection of mild steel, galvanized steel, zinc and aluminium.

Colin Woodruff, Operations Manager at Hallam, comments:-

“As well as exceptional UV resistance we can now offer market leading exterior environment resilience in products subject to severe weathering or heavy salt spray exposure. Redox Plus is a pure epoxy primer showing a high cross-linking degree reinforced with barrier effect agents to provide the best barrier protection. Redox Plus is over-coated with an Interpon powder and Hallam’s powder coated products benefit from a wide curing range, excellent retention of mechanical properties, outstanding edge coverage, good anti-gassing and good over coating as a result of using the Interpon system.”


Hallam is integrating Quality and Management Standards Documentation

Traditionally, UK manufacturers have tended to set up quality and business manuals for each area covered by the relevant standard e.g. ISO 9001 (Quality), 14001 (Environmental), 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety). Each manual has traditionally been set up and audited separately, but the structure of the ISO compliant manuals nowadays is exactly the same – the famous ten clauses beginning “About the organization” (1), “Normative references” (2), “Terms and definitions” (3), “Context of the organization” (4) etc.

The trend is to have one quality/business manual covering all areas to avoid duplication and drastically reduce audit costs. Outside the automotive and aerospace standards, the areas covered are typically the three cited above. Procedures across all areas are referred to in the integrated business manual and kept in linked subsidiary files for reference.

MD Rob Pickersgill comments “The certification bodies we have spoken to are all in favour of this approach and it is certainly a more efficient way to do this.”

If you would like more information on this, please speak to Rob at W Hallam Castings 01405 813006 or 07983315292 or contact him by email on


Hallam MD, Rob Pickersgill, attends a MAKE UK regional meeting at the AMRC

In March, Hallam MD, Rob Pickersgill, attended an important MAKE UK regional meeting at the AMRC, University of Sheffield, which included a tour of AMRC facilities exclusively for MAKE UK delegates. The meeting was held on the day after the Chancellor’s Spring Statement and MAKE UK’s Bhavina Bharkhada presented a summary of the Statement for attendees.

Rob comments “In my opinion, and I stress that this is a personal view, the overriding sentiment amongst delegates was profound disappointment with the content of the Statement. In particular, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a new Industrial Strategy emerging, setting out any kind of vision for the future of UK manufacturing and identifying areas for meaningful support. Areas such as energy costs, staff shortages, training needs and capital investment funding, for example. The feeling was that any improved help announced (e.g. investment zones, childcare support, support for over 50s returning to work) was not going to have a material impact.”


Hallam featured on BBC Breakfast News

In December, BBC Breakfast News visited Hallam to examine the effect of rising energy costs on a manufacturing business using energy intensively. Operations Manager, Colin Woodruff, explained that energy costs were now a major issue for UK manufacturing companies, with costs being much lower in the Far East and the USA. With hindsight, Hallam was fortunate to have secured 3 year contracts for electricity and gas supplies at the beginning of 2022, but would nevertheless be seeking to reduce consumption through innovative investment in advance of renewal in 2025.

Hallam’s MD, Rob Pickersgill, is a member of the Cast Metals Federation Net Zero panel taking part in national level discussions with Government on energy policy, including investment incentives for manufacturers.


Making Industry 4.0 a Reality Today!

Hallam’s Kyle Walker, IT graduate and automation engineer, presented a paper on “Industry 4.0 – Implementation in Practice” at Doncaster MBC’s Engineering and Manufacturing Forum at Unipart Rail’s headquarters in Doncaster on 11th November.

Other speakers were from the University of Birmingham and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, University of Sheffield.

Kyle’s paper identified the key benefits of adopting Industry 4.0 principles including system integration for improved management information, providing an information platform for “lean” and “agile” manufacturing models, and allowing “blockchain” techniques to be applied to supply chain monitoring for complete transparency.

Operational Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), through the generation of predictive preventative maintenance schedules, would also improve. Industry 4.0 pathways also lead to the worlds of Machine (artificial) Intelligence and Virtual and Augmented Reality.

A fascinated audience was keen to ask many questions at the end of Kyle’s presentation!


Kyle Walker: Industry 4.0 – Implementation in Practice



Strengthening dollar should encourage OEMS to look at UK sourcing

One aspect of the recent depressing Bank of England economic forecast for 2022/23 which may actually be good news for UK manufacturers is the US dollar’s projected strengthening against the British pound by 7-10% over the next 12 months.

Hallam’s MD, Rob Pickersgill, comments “coupled with shipping cost escalation and delays, the situation in Ukraine and Taiwan, together with other global supply chain difficulties, sourcing or re-sourcing in the UK must be an attractive proposition for UK-based manufacturers. Of course there are domestic supply-side problems, but at least we have a clear idea of what they are, and we have a better chance of resolving them than those that are completely outside our control overseas. The prospect of a strengthening dollar and consequent increase in sterling import prices for product components adds weight to the argument”.

The Hallam technical sales office can be contacted on 01405 813006 option 1, anytime.


Hallam is re-inventing the employment contract to attract older skilled workers

The “skills gap” in UK engineering is well publicised. The OECD has identified a gap in the UK in terms of the provision of intermediate and technical level skills and recent research by the CIPD has established that the apprenticeship system is not functioning well for younger people. Unemployment for 16–24-year-olds is over 10%, compared to 3.8% for the Economy as a whole (July 2022, ONS).

The ONS also reports that overall economic inactivity in the labour force has increased by 522,000 to December 2021 compared to December 2019, 493,000 of these “Inactive” former employees being over 50 years old with skills desperately needed by manufacturers.

According to Hallam HR Manager, Amie Birchall “In the circumstances, it is logical that our recruitment strategy is now based on attracting 16-24 year-olds to join high quality apprenticeship schemes based at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), together with flexible working schemes, particularly for the over 50s, who are simply fed up of rigid work patterns such as continental shifts. In older life many have developed outside interests, often during lockdown, and want to be able to continue to pursue these interests. Employers have to recognise this as the over 50s are voting with their feet at the moment”.

Subject to health and safety requirements contracts may be based on flexitime, part time working, job sharing, task-based assignments, compressed hours, annualised hours, increased holiday entitlement and even working from home if practicable. “For the prospective employee, any proposal for working arrangements will be considered” commented Amie.


Hallam joins Cast Metals Federation’s Net Zero panel

Hallam has been invited to join the Cast Metals Federation’s Net Zero panel, set up recently to explore ground breaking foundry technology and inform Government about industry challenges and responses.

The Panel is examining technologies using alternative energy sources and fuels (including green and blue hydrogen) and the potential for optimizing energy efficiency in manufacturing through technological innovation. Hallam’s Operations Manager, Colin Woodruff, is leading an IT-based project to conserve furnace energy use in Hallam’s foundry division. “Sensors will detect the approach of auto-ladles to each furnace and each furnace lid will automatically be removed to allow access to the ladle. As the ladle withdraws the lid will automatically be replaced over the furnace to conserve heat”.

Hallam estimates that 25% energy savings will be achieved by introducing this system alone.


Hallam MD joins MAKE UK National Economic Policy Committee

Hallam MD Rob Pickersgill has been invited to join the MAKE UK National Economic Policy Committee formulating policy and advising central government on a range of economic issues affecting UK manufacturing. Meetings are held in London near Westminster, convenient for senior civil servants and senior politicians to attend.

Rob comments:

We’ve tried to draw attention to UK manufacturers’ current supply side problems, including energy, raw material and wages cost escalation, increased lead times even for basic supplies but also for essential equipment, and worries about climate change, energy sources and carbon taxes. So far I have to say that we have not been able to draw much comfort from the responses we have had, but we will persist.”