British Steel helps inward-investing Harrison Spinks secure Queen's Award

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 23 Apr 2018

Inward investor Harrison Spinks has added two further Queen’s Awards for Enterprise as it prepares to open alongside Scunthorpe’s nods to the monarchy.

The bed-maker is investing £1.8 million in a new wire drawing facility at the steelworks, and has added accolades for Innovation and International Trade, with the former recognising work with British Steel.

Having previously received Queen’s Awards for Innovation and Sustainable Development in 2013, it makes Harrison Spinks the only company in its market to receive two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise in the same year on two separate occasions. 

The Leeds-headquartered firm is also one of just eight companies to win more than one award this year and the only organisation from Yorkshire and the Humber to receive two awards in 2018. 

Managing director Simon Spinks, left, and Richard Essery, components managing director on the in-house wire drawing line. 

Bosses said the consecutive wins – they last for five years – prove the pioneering leadership of the company and its quest to continuously innovate.

Simon Spinks, managing director, said: “To be granted two more Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is a huge honour and reflects the hard work and dedication of the whole Harrison Spinks team.

“As a proud British manufacturer we’re pleased that our place in the international market has been acknowledged by the Queen’s Award for International Trade. We feel that our British values of innovation and quality have set us up for success in a global marketplace.

“Since the company was established in 1840, we have always strived to innovate and go about our business in a slightly different way, whether that be creating new ways to manufacture springs or cultivating our farm so we can grow our own natural fillings. We’re delighted to be recognised by the most prestigious enterprise awards in the UK.”

The 2018 Queen’s Award for Innovation was granted in recognition of the development of novel manufacturing processes for sprung mattresses. Mattress comfort is improved as spring concentration increases, however, technical issues across the bed-making sector have meant that spring density is limited by the gauge of wire used. Harrison Spinks has solved a whole series of problems to reduce the diameter of wire used by 30 per cent to 0.7mm, the thinnest wire used in pocket spring technology.

Working in partnership with British Steel, where the Scunthorpe blast furnaces bear the names of queens, a unique grade of steel has been developed, along with a refined drawing process to create the required wire. Harrison Spinks has also developed patented spring making machines that work at five times the speed of traditional machinery. 

The ultra-fast high-density spring machines produce 600 springs per minute, equal to 36,000 per hour. They not only bring “unrivalled levels of comfort and support for our mattresses," Mr Spinks, said, “but have opened new markets such as car seats, running shoes and office chairs”. 

On the international front, Harrison Spinks is following a 296 per cent increase in exports. It trades in more than 50 countries with joint ventures in USA and China and now overseas sales make up 25 per cent of our total sales.

As reported when announced in February, the West Yorkshire team is taking on a 40,000 sq ft building on the works, with 22 jobs to be created in a phased launch. 

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