Sheffield Refractories Limited is a UK based Monolithic Refractory Manufacturer and Installer based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. The company’s origins date back to the late 1890s when George Johnson Refractories was established in Sheffield. George Johnson Refractories traded until 1976 when the company name was changed to Sheffield Refractories Limited. The change of name coincided with the retirement of the final member of the Johnson family. The new owners were looking to re-launch the business and moved to a new manufacturing location in Dinnington which is on the North East side of Sheffield, near Worksop. The company is still manufacturing at this site today although a second manufacturing plant has also subsequently been established a few miles away.
Sheffield Refractories Limited continued to trade as a private company until the mid-1980s when it was acquired by Coated Electrodes, a previous British Steel Chemicals operation that had been purchased from British Steel by the Management Team. By the mid-1980s the Coated Electrodes Management Team had taken the company on to the Unlisted Securities Market and was looking for suitable local acquisition targets that were operating in the same Steel Market. Unfortunately shortly after the Sheffield Refractories acquisition the core business of Coated Electrodes collapsed, (water spraying electrodes replaced coating techniques) and the company, including Sheffield Refractories was purchased by Kembrey, an Electrical engineering Company who had a specific interest in two of the other Coated Electrode acquisitions. Subsequently, some seven years later, Chemring plc, a listed Electrical Engineering and Defence specialist acquired Kembrey plc. These were potentially volatile years for Sheffield Refractories with multiple changes of ownership. However, during this period the company operated as an autonomous unit and continued to expand and progress. Around 1996 Chemring decided that a Refractory Manufacturer did not really fit with their core operations and they agreed to sell the company to the Management Team. Sheffield Refractories then continued to operate very successfully as a private company for a 10 year period until the current management Team acquired the business.
By inviting a select band of reputable and extremely competent Materials Technologists to join them the new Management team have been able to build an extremely capable and experienced Materials Technology Department. With the new team have come new Laboratory facilities and the kind of positive working environment that facilitates the proactive development of new Monolithic Refractory Materials in a comparatively short period of time. Our Materials Technologists are all ‘Hands On’ Refractory Engineers who are not only directly involved in the manufacturing process but are also an integral part of our Installation/ Application Team. They also share responsibility for carrying out the Routine Quality Control Testing; the company does not employ any Laboratory Technicians. Our Material Technologists consider that they benefit substantially by having a day to day ‘feel’ for the products that are being produced. Sheffield Refractories can proudly claim to have probably the most competent and experienced Monolithic Refractory Material Development Team based within the UK. The company believes that success is achieved by having the right people with the correct resources operating in a relaxed working environment that allows them perform to their maximum potential while actually enjoying what they are doing. This is a company that proudly boasts that it is run by Materials and Installation Technologists; this company is NOT run, driven or controlled by a Finance Director. Sheffield Refractories is privately owned and profitable, the company is very pleased to be able to operate how it sees fit without being slaves to unrealistic, remote, shareholder aspirations.
Sheffield Refractories has an installation Team of 20 experienced Monolithic Refractory installers all who are Full Time employees of the company and all who have worked for the company for at least 10 years. This is a close knit team who are used to working together and whose individual skills have been honed to complement each other. The Team, which also includes specialist joiners, welders and Bricklayers, is run by a small management group who have extensive and wide ranging experience of the Refractory Installation Market. When not involved in Installation Projects these employees are seconded to materials manufacture. This system has played a major part in the parallel development of new monolithic materials and installation technology. There is a direct link between the manufacturing plant and the installation team so feedback is instant and issues can be addressed immediately. The company actively encourages the situation where a Shotcrete Nozzle or Pump Operator has actually manufactured the product he is installing. The Sheffield Refractories Manufacturing, Installation and Technical teams genuinely function as a Single Unit. This level of unified Teamwork is essential when dealing with the application of potentially sensitive materials such as Shotcrete, Self Flow and Pumping Grade Refractories. For these types of material attention to fine detail during the manufacturing process is vital in order to secure absolute consistency in terms of Service Performance and smooth application.
In summary, Sheffield Refractories strives to deliver a unique package for solutions to specific Refractory Applications. By developing a company manned by experienced professionals working within an extremely flat management structure in an enjoyable working environment. The company’s goal is to make profit but also to provide unmatched product service and quality while making sure that the latter of these objectives most definitely drives the former.