Our History

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Laying the foundation
for excellence.

Our history is a testament to our dedication to progress, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Take a look at the milestones that have shaped Key Plant Automation into the industry leader we are today.

A Promising Beginning.

In 1956, our journey commenced with the establishment of Courtburn Welding. At that time, we operated as agents for Yates & Macobe Positioning Equipment, sowing the seeds of our future success.

Expanding Horizons.

In 1980, we took a significant step forward by acquiring Murex Positioning Equipment from BOC, broadening our expertise and product range.

Murex Positioning Equipment brochure

A New Home in Liverpool.

The year 1995 witnessed a pivotal moment as Key Plant relocated to a spacious 25,500 sq ft facility on Regent Road in Liverpool. This move set the stage for further growth and innovation.

A picture of Key Plant Automation's Liverpool facility

Expanding Our Footprint.

In 2001, we acquired Bode facilities and factory—an expansive 6-acre site boasting 70,267 sq ft of factory space—in Leek, Staffordshire. This strategic acquisition empowered us with enhanced capabilities.

An old aerial photograph of Key Plant Automation's Leek site - circa 1999

Strengthening Our Presence.

Our commitment to excellence led us to expand our Liverpool facility in 2003. We purchased an additional 47,571 sq ft from Huntleigh Healthcare, reinforcing our dedication to growth.

Huntleigh Healthcare site in Liverpool prior to Key Plant purchasing to expand our capabilities

A Global Headquarters.

In 2005, a significant milestone was reached as all Key Plant manufacturing operations were consolidated and relocated to our Leek, Staffordshire site, which proudly became our Global Headquarters.

A view of Key Plant's Global Headquarters site entrance

Expanding Our Reach.

In 2006, Key Plant made a bold move by acquiring the entire rental fleet from Sneep Industries (formerly Traffo Rent) in the Netherlands, expanding our global footprint.

Sneep Industries logo

Investing in Excellence.

In 2017, Key Plant continued its quest for excellence by investing in its in-house capabilities. We acquired not one, but two polyurethane (PU) production facilities in the UK, further enhancing our product quality and innovation.

Polyurethane chemical solution

Transatlantic Expansion.

With a burgeoning global customer base, especially in North America, we expanded our horizons. In 2020, we established the Key Plant USA office and a cutting-edge manufacturing & assembly facility in Houston, Texas, reinforcing our commitment to the welding automation market.

A photograph of Key Plant USA's facility in Houston, Texas

Advancing in Leek.

In the same year, we extended our in-house factory capabilities at our global headquarters in Leek. We built an additional bay dedicated to robotic welding and fabrication solutions, pushing the boundaries of innovation.

A drone view of Key Plant Automation global headquarters in Leek, Staffordshire

A Strategic Move.

In 2023, Key Plant reached a significant milestone by acquiring N&N Plant Hire Services Ltd. This strategic move not only marked an expansion but also reinforced our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional solutions to our valued customers. As part of this acquisition, N&N Plant Hire was relocated to a new and improved facility in Sheffield, further enhancing the customer experience.

A photograph of the front of N&N Plant Hire Services new facility in Sheffield

Red-D-Arc European Entities.

In 2024, Key Plant Automation achieved a significant milestone by acquiring Red-D-Arc’s European entities – Red-D-Arc UK, Red-D-Arc France, and Red-D-Arc Netherlands. This strategic move solidified our position as an industry leader and integrated a wealth of expertise and resources into the Key Plant family. Committed to excellence, this acquisition enhanced our offerings and ensured our customers have access to cutting-edge weld automation and positioning equipment solutions, driving efficiency and success across diverse industries.

Red D Arc European Entities

Key Plant Welderentals.

Established in 2024 through the strategic acquisition of Red-D-Arc European entities, Key Plant Welderentals is a premier provider of welding equipment rentals. Based at new facilities in St. Helens (UK), Le Havre (France), and Stellendam (Netherlands), our services encompass top-tier rentals for welders, heat induction kits, welding equipment, and electric power generators. Additionally, we offer our usual diverse range of welding automation and positioning equipment, solidifying our commitment to seamless solutions.

Key Plant Welderentals logo