The Aldridge factory employed around 1,000 people between 1979 and 1987 whilst producing approximately 1,000 tonnes per week, with about 4 extrusion presses in use at any one time, producing around 480,000 extrusions per annum. These presses produced extruded rod, hollow bar & section, in various shapes, sizes & specifications of brass.
It supplied the building industry, the military, amongst others, & in the later years produced specialist wire for the railway industry. Raw material, such as swarf, brass in various forms, was bought from merchants, alongside all metal that was produced as scrap, during the factory process stage. This was all mixed into batches, ready to go into the foundry, starting the process all over again.
The profitable wire mill, produced brass, bronze & copper wire to many customers, including the car industry. The wire mill was closed around 2005, & work transferred to another UK plant. The factory had it’s own ballroom, medical surgery, conference facilities, clubhouse & sports facilities. Lots of heat & noise was generated and serious accidents were evident, including sadly, one fatality, severed digits, molten metal burns.
In 2011, there were only two presses running, one producing Standard Brass Rod, & the other extruding rod in ‘section’ form (specialist shapes, sizes & metal specifications. Trying to live with the ever upward spiral of scrap prices, lack of substantial investment, & excessive amounts of scrap created during the production process – made it difficult to break even, let alone make decent profits. To the very end, staff had not been given a pay rise in 8 years.