British refinery wins Shingo Award

Vale's Clydach Refinery, one of the largest in Europe, has become the first company in the UK and only the second in Europe over in the 25 years since the awards were inaugurated, to be awarded the prize, dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Manufacturing" by Business Week. Named after Dr Shigeo Shingo, developer of the Toyota Production System, the Shingo Institute recognises excellence in organisations across the world, and its philosophy is that high-level performance in quality, cost and delivery can be reached through the application of tools for continuous improvement, and by core manufacturing techniques and business procedures.

Clydach produces high-purity nickel and subproducts for specialist areas, such as car components, batteries, nickel plates and nonferrous alloys. In operation since 1902, the factory produces around 40,000 tonnes of nickel products per year and supplies around 280 clients in over 30 countries across the world.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks and congratulations to all the employees and contractors who helped us to achieve this accolade,” said Phil Hayman, quality and continuous improvement manager at the plant. "This prize is a recognition of the many years of work performed by everyone at the site to improve safety, quality, productivity and efficiency," added Mike Cox, General Manager of Vale Europe. "This sets our refinery as an international benchmark in the industry and provides a solid base for our success in the long term.”