Celebrating its 125th year in operation in 2014, Brown McFarlane has witnessed impressive growth since Albert Richard Brown and his son, Edward, founded it in 1889.
The company has progressed from its base in Glasgow to developing a global presence with offices and facilities opening across the UK, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Belgium and Brazil. However, it was when shipbuilding and manufacturing began to decline in Glasgow that the company began to diversify with value added services, such as profile cutting services, in the 1980s. Committed to continual machinery upgrades to ensure high quality products, Brown McFarlane installed its first state-of-the-art plasma machine in 2009 and modernised its UK Stoke-on-Trent facility in 2010. This led to the ISO 9001 accredited company becoming one of the first steel stockholders in Europe to gain the prestigious ISO 14001 Environmental Management accreditation.
To further strengthen its foothold in Europe, Brown McFarlane opened a new plate storage and distribution facility in the port of Antwerp in 2011; meanwhile, to expand its processing capabilities, the firm installed a second highdefinition plasma cutting machine in 2012 and invested £250,000 in Messer Plasma cutting equipment in 2014. Today the company has offices and facilities in the UK, and Belgium and Brazil with a developed supply chain in Singapore, and United Arab Emirates, more than 25,000 tonnes of highly specified steel plates in available stocks, technical expertise in all areas of steel plate manufacture and use, logistics, transport and shipping expertise to efficiently move steel anywhere in the world and financial strength from 125 years of successful operations.
Servicing industry throughout the world with an enhanced stock of high quality pressure vessel plate, an extended range HIC products was recently added to its portfolio of carbon steels and further development of its wide area stainless duplex and super duplex steels up to 100mm thicknesses. Furthermore, the company makes use of the steel processing capacity at the UK sites to fulfil demand for plate and profiled steel within other sectors for structural engineering, storage tank, bridge building and renewable energy industries.
With Brown family members still actively involved in the business, the company has become one of the world’s leading specialist steel plate distributors, processors and traders of high quality carbon, alloy, stainless steel, duplex steel and super duplex steel plate. Focused on supplying highly specified, quality steel plate products, it has one of the most diverse stock ranges in the world, this, alongside its expert sales team, ensures Brown McFarlane remains unchallenged in its core market sectors: offshore, oil and gas, energy, mining and quarrying and general engineering.
“With our accreditations and certifications (including from Rolls Royce) as well as our ability to supply diverse components, from innovative rig components to the managed project supply of ready-to-assemble tank farm shell kits, there is no aspect of on and offshore heavy engineering components that we are unfamiliar with,” says Tim. “On top of this, as part of our profiling services we often reduce the welding and design requirements of multiple parts as we can make weird and wonderful shapes through high quality precision cutting. For example, if a company requires drilling services, we can take a 35 hour drill job down to an hour and-a-half; this saves the company a weeks worth of work and can boost their capacity by up to 17 per cent, just by contracting some of the more time consuming jobs to us.”
Unique in the market due to the skills and experience of its staff in the design department, Brown McFarlane merges its ability to turn innovative ideas into real products with its cutting edge CAD department, which further optimises products to save customers time and money. As demand grows for highly corrosive resistant steels in corrosive environments such as offshore where reliability and longevity are vital, the company holds stock of super duplex stainless steel plates in S32750 and S32760. In comparison to other stainless steel products, the super duplex products not only offer high corrosion resistance, but also resistance to stress corrosion cracking and high yield strength and tensile strength. Used extensively for offshore oil and gas applications, super duplex steel can be found in risers, process vessels, flow lines, separators, coolers, process piping and manifolds.
Despite its strong reputation as a leader in stainless and high grade carbon steel supply, Tim notes that the company continues to develop its services to retain its competitive edge: “Our investment in profiling equipment at our Stoke site will exceed £3 million this year, with the addition of skew head plasma cutting, which will give our customers further design and fabrication options as a matter of routine. Plans are also in hand for a further £1 million investment in equipment later in the year to reduce our supply promise of any component anywhere in the world within nine days even further.
“Meanwhile, trading operations continue to grow in the far and Middle East and we anticipate further growth in stocks and product ranges, particularly stainless steels as we work with our customers to further develop stocks of wide area stainless steels at increasing thickness as well as our world-leading HIC products,” he concludes.
Brown McFarlane International
Services: Specialists in High Grade Steel Plate and Profile Supply