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Following in footsteps but breaking new barriers

Bespoke refractory solutions backed by a heritage of competence and honour have helped a company in Scunthorpe win business at some of the UK’s leading foundries.
Trent Refractories is a dominant name in the steel sector but has hidden its light under a bushel in the foundry sector until now says the straight-talking managing director who is making a name for herself in an industry that rewards reputation and reliability.
“Trent has always been highly regarded for our quick turnaround and competitive prices but the company has been less successful at shouting about what we do,” said MD Katy Moss. “It’s a changing world and it’s time we started to tell foundries what we can do and how we can help them get what they need quickly and cost-effectively.”
At 33 years of age Moss has the energy and the passion to ensure the business her father Bob Crossland established in the 1980s emerges as a 21st century supplier of choice. Thrust into the business five years ago when her father passed away, Moss has been on a steep learning curve but she says her father’s legacy has remained an important motivating factor. “He was known as a ‘go to’ guy in the refractory world with a great reputation. He built Trent Refractories on personal service and commitment and we are remaining true to his original values. We produce quality products with a strong and experienced team and we are constantly growing.”
Despite the recent market downturn in the industry the company turnover has remained steady and is now at around three and a half million pounds - no mean feat considering the demise of the steel sector in recent times. The company’s strength is in its ability to adapt to change with enthusiasm and focus as demonstrated by the challenges of the past five years.

Big or Small – the Whole Range
Several foundries, including some large ones, have already turned to Trent because of its ability to supply high quality precast goods, monolithics and bricks. The company has a long and notable history in supplying precast refractory shapes specifically with EAF roof deltas – with technology it pioneered in the early 1990s to combat issues with existing technology, and they can cast from a few kilos up to 20 tonnes. They cast working linings for existing ladles, offering a full service of collection, wrecking, casting, drying and delivery back to the foundry. The company also advises foundries on how to cast their own ladles using Trentcast 1700LC and Trentcast 1750VLC materials, particularly relevant for smaller ladle production.
Products include: electric arc furnace delta roofs, tundish linings and lids, economiser rings, ladle linings and pre heater lids.

Monolithics
Made at the facility in Scunthorpe, Trent blends and bags all of its own range of products in-house, producing a range of monolithics to suit almost any application.
The company is also able to develop mixes using its experienced technical staff and external R&D support for bespoke solutions.
Products include: conventional castables, low cement castables, ultralow cement castables, lightweight castables, ramming materials, backfill materials, gunning materials, joining cement and EBT/olivine.

A Global Solution
Trent supplies refractories all over the world, with the company’s performance products earning them respect in various regions. Currently a third of all the company’s business is export.
As well as the UK other countries currently supplied are: Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and United States of America. The company has also recently joined the Made in Britain campaign #madeinbritainGB
In many ways Trent Refractories is a conventional company with the type of core values often associated with family-run businesses – long-serving members of staff, longstanding supply chain relationships and a friendly and recognisable approach. However, it is also unconventional in that the managing director is a 33 year old mother of two who is striving to maintain the benefits of the existing company whilst opening up a world of opportunities for development to pass on the legacy to future generations of her own and her employees’ families. “Of course the main factors for our customers are cost, speed of delivery and quality – we have to meet their expectations on all of these factors,” she told Foundry Trade Journal. “To survive in this business you have to be honest and flexible and we are proud to count these as important attributes. We are very good at what we do, we are competitive and our products perform.”
Her daily routine is a far cry from the world of banking where she migrated to after finishing her formal education but having responded to a family crisis by stepping up to steer the company forward, Moss says it’s time to “raise the bar”. Recent customer feedback showed that Trent is “friendly, professional, efficient, accommodating and understanding.” It seems that this company has set the “bar” pretty high already.

Recognised Amongst Peers
The managing director of Trent Refractories swoops the First Woman of Engineering and Manufacturing Award at the prestigious First Women Awards against high calibre candidates from a range of manufacturing disciplines.
Picking up the award at the glittering award ceremony in London in June amongst leading senior-level professionals, Katy Moss said: “Wow, I never expected to win this, just to be nominated and shortlisted was an amazing experience but it has made me reflect on the last five years and I feel proud and honoured, it is nice to be recognised by others.”
The timing of the award ceremony was particularly poignant on the eve of National Women in Engineering Day. “It was also nice to be able to have my twelve year old daughter at the event as I hope seeing and meeting such strong inspirational women gives her drive and belief in herself to forge her own future,” she said.
It is Moss’ fresh approach which has enabled Trent Refractories to move forward during challenging times: “I try to engage with people on all levels and make them feel part of the bigger picture, helping them realise they can affect the outcome of everything they do,” she said. “Integrity, honesty and openness are important to me.” 
In a week that also saw the outcome of the EU Referendum, her focus is to continue to build a business that echoes her values and supports British manufacturing. “We have done an excellent job with locally produced food and British meat but we need to try and think about everything we buy and make ethical and considered decisions that secure the future of our country.”
The First Women Awards is the UK’s leading programme for senior-level businesswomen and professionals created by Real Business and supported by the CBI (Confederation of British Industry).
Contact: Rebecca Kennedy, sales administrator, Trent Refractories Ltd, Menasha Way, Queensway Industrial Estate, Brigg Road, Scunthorpe DN15 3RT, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0) 1724 858684, email: Rebecca.kennedy@trentrefractories.co.uk web: www.trentrefractories.co.uk