Sheffield heavy lifting specialist, Mechan, has its sights set on expansion in the nuclear sector, after receiving official recognition of its skills.

The manufacturer has secured Fit 4 Nuclear status, demonstrating its operations meet the strict standards required to supply the industry.

Run by the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the scheme helps members secure work from civil nuclear firms at home and overseas by confirming their suitability as potential suppliers.

Richard Carr, Mechan’s chief executive, said: "Currently, the majority of our business comes from the rail sector, but we believe there are opportunities to extend our reach into the nuclear supply chain. We have taken tentative steps already, providing a set of jacks for a nuclear flask lifting operation and our Fit 4 Nuclear success now demonstrates we have the skills, experience and drive to become a valued trading partner."

To complete the Fit 4 Nuclear programme, Mechan’s operations were benchmarked against standards demanded by the industry’s top tiers, before business improvements were identified and implemented. To retain its membership, the firm will be required to submit bi-annual action plans and in return, it will receive continued support from the Nuclear AMRC.

Geoff Shaw, commercial manager at Nuvia, recipients of Mechan’s lifting jacks, added: "We procured four units for use on a nuclear licensed site, which were designed and built to our specification and delivered within the required timescale. They have successfully passed all commissioning requirements without any issues and will now be deployed on an installation project. Accordingly, we are pleased to see such a competent firm secure this important industry accreditation."

Fit 4 Nuclear is open to companies with ten or more staff with a turnover in excess of £1.6m and its members range from established suppliers to those taking initial steps into the sector. Scheme organisers, The Nuclear AMRC, is a collaboration of academic and industrial partners, owned by Sheffield University and based on the city’s advanced manufacturing park.