2 minute read - 11th May 2023
Gripple reaches one billionth fastener milestone
Gripple, the Sheffield-based manufacturer of wire joiners and tensioners, is celebrating a significant milestone – producing its one billionth fastener.
A celebration event was held at Riverside, Sheffield, one of Gripple’s six manufacturing facilities in South Yorkshire to mark the milestone, which included current staff and retired employees, who had been involved with the production of the first generation of Gripple fasteners.
With 85% of Gripple’s fasteners going to export markets, its products have been used in a wide range of agricultural and construction applications, since production started at the original factory in Sheffield 35 years ago. This now includes such varied applications as viticulture, fruit growing, agricultural wire fencing, garden trellising, utility scale solar, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting and acoustic applications, to name but a few!
Kevin St Clair, UK managing director for Gripple, said: “Our one billionth Gripple fastener is a truly remarkable achievement. Our fasteners are used in such a diverse range of applications and it is testament to their high-quality design and our reliable quality production that they are renowned throughout the world – many of the original Gripple fasteners are still in use today!
“When I joined Gripple in 2002, we were based on just one site and manufactured around 15 wire joiner variants at a rate of 20,000,000 per year. Here we are 20 years later with six sites, and in 2022 we manufactured 70,000,000 units across 100 variants. I am very excited about what the next 20 years will mean for Gripple as we are constantly innovating to solve fastening and tensioning issues for people in different industries across the world.”
Over the past 35 years, production at Gripple has moved from hand assembly in the early days producing 800 per shift, to becoming semi-automated and making 3,000 per shift, with many variants now being fully automated and manufacturing 25,000 per shift. Gripple’s own automation division is currently developing an 80 fasteners-per-minute machine, which will further speed up production and the checking process.
From originally carrying out manual checks within the business, Gripple has advanced to 100% automatic visual checks carried out by state-of-the-art camera technology, ensuring the very highest quality standards. Employee-owned Gripple currently employs 90 people in the manufacture and packing of wire joiners and has over 900 employees globally. Gripple is committed to sustainable manufacturing and as part of its journey to climate positive, is set to achieve carbon neutral for its UK operations in 2023 and net zero carbon emissions by 2030.