HRH York visit
Jamie Hardesty

£6m Sheffield precision factory given royal seal of approval

HRH The Duke of Kent gave the royal seal of approval to another of Yorkshire’s industrial leaders this week, touring the William Cook group’s new £6m precision factory.

The Queen’s cousin toured the factory with chairman Sir Andrew Cook and spoke with the new recruits about their training, development and future as the next generation of industry talent.

The Duke told guests: “It is a great pleasure to come to a thriving Yorkshire company and see how well you are doing.”

The state-of-the-art facility combines the latest 3D printing, investment casting and robotics technology to allow the rapid manufacture of complex components of unprecedented size and accuracy.

William Cook is pioneering the integration of 3D printing and investment casting technologies, which offers the advantages of additive manufacturing alongside the material, strength and integrity of a cast metal component.

Earlier this year, William Cook welcomed the largest intake of apprentices in recent history, who are gaining experience and mentoring under the guidance of skilled craftsmen.

The company is looking for new apprentices to join its Leeds rail plant, which has recently completed a £10m investment programme.

After the tour, the Duke unveiled a special plaque to commemorate the visit, produced using the group’s 3D printing and casting process.

The event was attended by local civic dignitaries including Councillor Anne Murphy, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, and Andrew Coombe, the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire.

In his address, Sir Andrew recalled meeting the Duke at the Cutlers’ Hall in 1986.

He said: “I am very pleased that His Royal Highness has come to see our Sheffield factory 31 years later.

“We have been through some trials and tribulations but we have prospered over that time and kept a lot of people in employment.”

Sir Andrew added: “William Cook has been in this city since the late 19th century and our investment means we will have an important role to play in the city region’s future as a high-value manufacturer of complex components for the energy, defence, rail and aerospace sectors.

“We were especially pleased to be able introduce the Duke to our apprentices, who have the potential to become the leading designers, engineers and technicians of the 21st century.”

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