The heat is on
Hytemp Nickel Alloys was established in 1989 as a specialist provider of nickel alloys.
The company was acquired by the Hillfoot Steel Group in 1995 creating its strong presence in the metals industry; in April 2008 it was bought by the Murray Metals Group as part of its strategic development into the oil and gas industry, and the company is now a division of Premier Alloys Ltd. Hytemp employs over 30 highly experienced staff.
Stephen Hepplewhite, CEO of Hytemp, outlines the company’s history and capabilities: “Hytemp started over 29 years ago supplying nickel alloy for various applications. Over the years it has developed to supplying mainly the oil and gas sector and that is where our energy is focused today. We supply our customers by taking ingots weighing up to five tonnes that are bought from various suppliers around the world and converting them typically into bars or rings by a process route which may involve press forging, heat treatment, open die forging, GFM forging and testing. We can then supply an oil and gas company with a bit of metal, either in a bar or shape that they can machine down to create the components required for the internal mechanisms in valves or inside wellheads.
“The move from being part of the Hillfoot Steel Group, a family business, to being part of Murray Metals Group has been a great move for the company. The family decided they wanted to pursue other interests. The two groups proved to be an excellent trade fit. The Hillfoot Steel Group had two major interests, one was the general steel aspect; stockholding, carbon steels and lower grade stainless steels, and the Hytemp Nickel Alloy aspect produced the nickel alloys and some high-grade stainless steels. Similarly, Murray Group had two divisions, one was the general steels sector and the Hillfoot Stockholding side went into that part; whilst Hytemp joined the other sector that had its focus in the oil and gas industry. We have now integrated into Premier Alloys which is the major company in that sector – the two companies gelled quite naturally.”
Located in Sheffield, home of the UK metals industry, Hytemp benefits from the specialist regional skills of its employees and metallurgists. It also leans on the expertise of technical metals research and development organisations such as the National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC), the Special Metals Forum (SMF) and Sheffield University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.
As a result of this superior technical know-how, the company has a global presence within the oil and gas industry and is forever looking for new markets and product areas, as Stephen explains: “We supply all over the world but at the moment our strongest markets are Europe, the US, South America and the Far East, – Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. We are trying to develop into more country markets such as the Middle East, India and we’re looking to obtain better penetration into Europe. Because we supply the oil and gas industry it depends on where the manufacturing is taking place. We are using the supply chain route to find out where the potential customers are, for example it could be that one of our customers is based in Singapore but their machine shop is in India. My role in the company has evolved to investigating these new markets and looking at business development not only in country markets but in other sectors as well. We are looking at progressing into power generation and the marine industry where we feel there may be opportunities for us. We are looking at the long-term picture; the oil and gas industry won’t be here forever and we need to prepare for the future, and these developments may take months or even years to come to fruition, but we want to get it right.
“We are set apart from our competitors in that we are technical experts in nickel alloys and exotic materials – we’re specialists not generalists. We are also at the forefront for customer service, with a wide range of stock available. In response to customer demand we are currently expanding our product range, moving into different alloys and looking at the different grades that customers are requesting; this is a major development as we have to find new sources of ingots and some of these are in short supply.”
As the oil and gas industry remains quite stable and disconnected from the current economic crisis, Stephen believes that Hytemp will see further growth and improvements in the future: “We are looking for quite significant profitable sales growth of 20 to 30 per cent year-on-year, both in terms of the market itself growing and in terms of market share. We have a fairly aggressive strategy for obtaining that market share and we are responding to customer demand for more long-term agreements and partnerships. Our clients are also asking for supply chain management, which is a key area for our business. We are not just supplying bits of metal, we are providing a package solution, managing the whole process for customers and alleviating any problems.”
Hytemp Nickel Alloys
Products / Services Alloys and forging