TR Perspective on UK Fastener Market
By Geoff Budd, Trifast Director and European Managing Director
With over 40 years’ experience in the fastener industry, we have witnessed numerous changes within the UK market and always strive to respond to the ever-changing requirements of the domestic manufacturing sector.
Among the most notable recent developments is the resurgence of the UK automotive manufacturing industry, especially in the Midlands and the North East, which currently account for 35% of our UK turnover. TR specialises in producing multistage complex fasteners for Tier 1 customers to go into products such as seating components, IP console, braking systems, airbag assemblies and highly engineered parts for engine and powertrain fastenings.
Lightweighting in automotive is also a key driver and we have seen a sharp increase in sales of plastic fasteners being used to replace traditional steel ones, along with a range of industrial drive systems for more sophisticated engineering applications.
In terms of the benefits and challenges of being a UK company, TR Fastenings is in the fortunate position of being able to offer local support whilst also being able to tap into a global network of resources. We still manufacture in the UK – we have been the market leader in the production and supply of rivet bushes in the UK for over 30 years – but most of our manufacturing takes place in the Far East, much of it in our own production facilities.
Looking ahead, underlying growth remains encouraging and this has been bolstered by the recent acquisition of new companies (such as VIC in Italy and Kuhlmann in Germany) and the opportunities these bring. We are also continuing to pursue opportunities that add product range and customers to the TR footprint. Moreover, as the fastener supply sector continues to remain highly fragmented, there is also ample scope for consolidation by acquisition.