RS Clare increasing its manufacturing capacity

Liverpool’s oldest trading business RS Clare is significantly increasing its manufacturing capacity at its Baltic Triangle manufacturing base with the “largest investment in its 275-year history”.

Addressing an audience of maritime businesses at the latest monthly Mersey Maritime Face-2-Face networking event, RS Clare business development manager Daniel Marsh said the business was “investing heavily” to expand its global footprint.

Based in Stanhope Street in the Baltic Triangle, RS Clare was founded by Richard Clare in 1748 at the start of the Industrial Revolution as a chemist, druggist and dry-salter. This year it celebrates its 275th anniversary.

In recent days the company has filed its annual accounts on Companies House for the year to December 31, 2022. They show turnover up 25% to £26.6m and pre-tax profit up almost 30% to £5.76m.

RS Clare is a specialist manufacturer of industrial lubricants. More than 70% of its sales are to overseas markets and it exports its products to around 50 countries. Its lubricants are used in sectors including oil and gas, rail, maritime, industrial and thermoplastics.

Lubricants were developed as a result of the first mineral oil being imported into the Mersey River in 1889. This was the year the Meadows family acquired the business and chief executive David Meadows is the sixth generation of his family to run the firm.

In January this year the firm acquired Swiss based railway lubrication business, Igralub Holding. The deal included subsidiaries in Switzerland, Germany and Austria, and its share of a joint venture in North America.

Daniel told those assembled at the Face-2-Face that the company’s vision was to be a “go-to solutions provider”. He explained: “What that means is that we are not just a lubricants manufacturer, but we understand the customers’ needs and provide solutions with innovative products and application equipment needed to apply it.”

“We want to provide niche products that actually offer something to the end user that improve the performance and extend the life of their assets. And we always look to be greener, safer and cleaner.”

Talking about the Liverpool manufacturing facility, Daniel added: “We are investing heavily in Liverpool. We have installed a new packing line that improves health and safety and makes things more efficient. And volumes have increased quite significantly.

“This is the largest investment we have ever made in our 275-year history, installing large new grease vessels with high tech automation to significantly increase capacity”

“A couple of years ago we invested quite heavily in a new technical centre in Liverpool. To the extent that we now do testing for other companies as well.”

During his presentation, Daniel put a strong focus on one of RS Clare’s fastest-growing markets – lubricants for wire rope.

Wire ropes are quite large and are used in multiple industries. They are a collection of wires wrapped into a strand and then this is wrapped around a central core. The lubricant RS Clare supplies goes into the wire rope and is critical to its safety and performance.

“When that wire is operating there is a lot of metal-to-metal contact,” said Daniel. “That is where a good lubricant comes in and helps the rope to last a lot longer.

“They go into a huge number of applications, they include industrial cranes, ship-to-shore and straddle cranes at seaports, construction cranes, mobile cranes, elevators in buildings and structures such as on bridges.”

He added: “In particular our lubricants are used on heavy lift offshore vessels. They can use wire ropes up to 16cm in diameter. They are multi-million pound investments hence why these customers look for a very good lubricant to protect that asset.”

RS Clare has supplied wire rope lubricants for over 45 years but as Daniel explained, RS Clare’s existing supply routes have led to a disconnect from the end user.

So now the company is making efforts to actively engage with end users to find out how well their products are performing and to identify areas for improvement.

“Engaging directly with end users allows for a greater understanding of their need and the supply of innovative products to solve critical problems.”

Those attending the Face-2-Face breakfast event in Birkenhead also heard from Mersey Maritime interim Chief Executive, Ruth Wood.

She offered an update on the forthcoming Mersey Maritime Industry Awards which has closed to entries this week. Ruth said: “We have received a number of really high quality applications.

“The awards are an amazing way to showcase your business. It is a great celebration of our industry. We will shortly begin the judging process but people can still contact us to buy tickets and tables for the awards which take place at Liverpool Cathedral on Thursday, November 2.”

To book a place at the Mersey Maritime Industry Awards 2023, please click HERE

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