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Janet retires after nearly 30 years

An experienced female manufacturer has retired after 28 years’ loyal service at Alloy Wire International (AWI).

Janet Smith had dedicated nearly three decades of her working life to the Black Country wire specialist, starting as a part-time wire technician responsible for annealing precision flat wire and re-spooling in 1991 and playing an instrumental role in the firm’s growth to a global supplier of alloys to 55 countries across the world.

Respected for her knowledge of everything AWI, she cites her favourite memories as being part of the team that supported the management buyout in 1999 and assisting in the relocation to its current premises in Narrowboat Way in Brierley Hill.

“I never thought I’d spend 28 years at AWI when I first started, but I’m so glad to have been part of its journey and getting to work with such great people, who I’m now proud to call close friends,” said Janet.

“There’s not many companies like Alloy Wire International with its employee-owned approach meaning we all have a share in the success of the business. It certainly made us appreciate where we worked and encouraged us to always try our best for our customers.

“Over the years I’ve had to learn all aspects of the annealing process and furnace controls, utilising a range of machines from older in-house built equipment to the latest in cutting-edge technology. I was even asked to use my experience to develop a new multi-head winding machine that is now an important part of our factory’s production processes.”

Alloy Wire International is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of round, flat and profile wire, with its 60-strong range featuring a number of medical suitable materials including Phynox, MP35N, Stainless 316LVM, Nickel 200 & 201 and Inconels.

The company worked around the clock to meet the requirements of existing and new customers during the Covid-19 pandemic, with 200 tonnes of material always available to be converted into wire from 0.025mm (.001”) to 21mm (.827”) in small batches or medium/large volumes.

This included AWI producing more than 5 kilometres of material for crucial parts that went into life-saving equipment used in the London Nightingale Hospital.

Mark Venables, managing director at Alloy Wire International, said: “Janet was a real ‘mother hen’ figure to everyone in the factory and her loyalty, enthusiasm and sense of humour will be deeply missed."

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