Firth Rixson: A Leading Aerospace Company

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Firth Rixson is a renowned manufacturer of critical parts needed in the aerospace industry. Find out where this company excels and how its Firth Rixson Sheffield branch is leading the manufacturing process.


What is Firth Rixson and what does it do?

Firth Rixson is a high tech engineering company that provides products and parts, primarily for the manufacture of aero-engines. The company boasts several sites across the UK, including Firth Rixson Sheffield and Firth Rixson Darley Dale. It supplies over 40 countries for the production of commercial and military aircraft, bizjets and helicopters.

Firth Rixson Sheffield is one of the most significant companies sites responsible for manufacturing seamless rolled rings, forgings (closed and open die) and speciality metals.

The company supplies three main market sub-sections: Aero Engine, Structural Components and Aero Bearing markets. It provides products to manufacture the following:

  • Landing Gear Components
  • Off-Highway Trucks
  • Gas Turbines
  • Oil Rigs
  • Armoured Vehicles
  • Commercial Trucks

Energy markets supplied by Firth Rixson

Firth Rixson’s engineered forged and metal products are in high demand in the aerospace industry, but also in other markets, particularly in energy. Its products are used by energy companies for power generation, oil and gas and mining explorations:

Power generation

Firth Rixson’s reputation has developed in large part due to its supply of forgings and metals for building steam, gas and wind turbines. It also supplies these products for mechanical and marine applications.

Within the global Nuclear Power supply chain, Firth Rixson manufactures critical rotating parts for carbon-free energy generation.

Oil and Gas

Firth Rixson supplied the oil and gas industry for decades and now plays a key part in the fuel exploration supply chain worldwide. The company manufactures cost-effective pipes and fittings, which are required to meet energy exploration needs.

Mining

Following Firth Rixson’s notable work in the aerospace industry, it has become a key provider for global mining markets. Its products, from extrusions to other types of forgings, are used in structural components for drill equipment.

The manufacture of off-highway vehicles is very time-consuming, which is why the mining industry has turned to Firth Rixson to produce their load-bearing and fatigue-resisting forged parts. These include:

  • Driveshafts
  • Suspension Mechanisms
  • Struts
  • Housings

Jargon Buster

Here we break down the technical jargon:

Forging and forged parts - Forging is a manufacturing process where metal is heated, deformed and shaped using localised compressive forces. The force of a die press can form customised shapes. The forging process creates parts that are more robust compared to those made by any other metalworking process.

Drive shaft - A drive shaft is a component used for transmitting rotation and torque. It’s typically used to connect other components that cannot be connected directly.

Suspension Mechanisms - Suspension is the system of linkages and shock absorbers and that connects a vehicle to its wheels. They create relative motion between the two. These systems must support the opposing “road holding/handling” and “ride quality”.

Struts - A strut is any member of a structure which is in compression, particularly where it’s likely to fail through buckling, rather than from compressive stress. In aeronautical structures, it can be used as a passive brace to reinforce the body. A typical example is found in lift struts which are still used today on small light aeroplanes.

Housing - A housing is an outer case used to protect an internal mechanism. Common examples are integrated fittings or brackets that keep internal components in place. It prevents the inner mechanism from being damaged or contaminated by outside debris.


Firth Rixson company details

Firth Rixson’s latest Annual Report and Financial Statement is that for the year ended 31 December 2018. This 32-page document is publicly available to download from Companies House. We’ve sifted out the main company details for you here:

Company information

Company name: Firth Rixson Ltd (Co. Registration No. 230737)

Company directors: L M Fargas Mas and K L Dowdall

Registered office: 26a Atlas Way, Sheffield, S4 7QQ

Staff: Employs about 870 people in the UK.

Principal activities: Those of an intermediate holding company.

Financial year results: Loss of £5,366,000 (2017: profit £12,782,000).

Group structure

  • Ultimate parent company: Arconic Inc*. (incorporated in the USA)
  • Immediate parent company: Forgings International Ltd (incorporated in the UK)
  • Subsidiaries of Firth Rixson Ltd:
Company name Principal Activity
Firth Rixson Forgings Ltd Production of press, hammer, upset forgings and extrusion in alloy and carbon steel, titanium and other special alloys.
Firth Rixson Metals Ltd. Stockholding of nickel-based superalloy bar and sheet.
JFB Overseas Holdings Ltd. Intermediate holding company.
Firth Rixson Hungaria KFT Manufacture of closed die forgings.

Shareholdings

Firth Rixson Ltd has 692,865 ordinary shares valued at £0.10 each. Its total shareholding is worth £69,287.

During the financial year, 500,000,000 Ordinary share capital, having an aggregate nominal value of £0.10, was allotted for an aggregate consideration of £500,000,000. These were all allotted in consideration for the preference shares in JFB Overseas Holdings Ltd.


Important update on Firth Rixson

  • 2014 - Alcoa, a US aluminium maker, took over Firth Rixson for $2.35bn in cash and $500m in Alcoa shares.
  • 2016 - Alcoa group split into two companies on 1st November 2016:
  1. Alcoa Corporation (specialises in bauxite, alumina and aluminium products).
  2. Arconic (provider of high-performance materials and engineered products to the aerospace automotive and other growth industries).
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