12 Jun 2017

British Steel employee secures prestigious scholarship

A Technical Account Manager from the Scunthorpe Rod Mill (SRM) visited the US after being awarded the Wire Link Travelling Scholarship.

The Wire Link Travelling Scholarship is offered in alternate years to UK and American wire and cable professionals to provide valuable industry insights. This year it was awarded to Technical Account Manager for SRM Bruce Jones, who commenced his career with British Steel on a graduate programme.

Bruce supports the account team with new product development activities and process enhancements for customers in Asia and America. He commented: “I originally applied for the scholarship to further develop my understanding of the process of steel to wire and to gain a deeper comprehension of customer requirements.

“When making decisions for new products and tailoring them for customer value, the knowledge of downstream processes is crucial, which is recognised by the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers Alias Wire Workers and the Wire Association International through the Wire Link Scholarship.”

To complete the scholarship, Bruce visited the USA for 2 weeks. John Drummond, Past President of the WAI, accompanied Bruce, providing a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Bruce said: “We journeyed across different parts of the USA to gain a thorough understanding from various establishments.

“One of the companies we visited in Waterbury was Luvata, which produces a wide range of special products. I was fortunate to be given a tour of their laboratory, showing me how product quality is ensured through rigorous testing, a consideration that is close to my role, as at British Steel we are continually making enhancements to ensure product quality that our customers can trust in.”

Bruce also had an insightful tour at Nucor Steel’s Wire Rod and Mesh plant, comparing with tour guide Jon Rowley the differences between British Steel’s four strand rod mill and the single strand mill owned by Nucor.

Bruce explained: “Companies and individuals within the wire sector can work together for mutual benefit, and the Wire Link Scholarship continues to play a crucial role in catalysing such relationships, ensuring that we collaborate to enhance the industry.”

Bruce had lots of opportunities to ask questions and benefited from various seminars, such as the one delivered on ‘The Mechanics of Wire Drawing’ at the World Congress Centre, Atlanta which was specifically relevant as wire drawing is fundamental to the majority of the downstream customers Bruce works with.

He commented: “Information gleaned from this seminar is invaluable to my role, allowing me to have open discussions with customers regarding all the influencing factors on effective product drawing, and is knowledge that I have already applied during my first week back at British Steel.

“Another highlight of the scholarship took place at Bridon Bekaert in Scraton Pennsylvania, where I was given a highly relevant tour which allowed me to get to grips with different cable processes.

“We went on to the wire drawing facility, where we arrived alongside a team of managers from Bekaert, who have recently become a shareholder in the company.”

Bruce expressed an interest to return in future. He concluded: “Overall, I found the InterWire experience incredibly useful and I genuinely hope to return. A massive thank you to the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers and the Wire Association International.

“I’d also like to extend my thanks to the team at British Steel for allowing me the time out of the department, and to all the plants and individuals that made the insightful tours possible.”

Click here to read more on Bruce’s journey.