Based in Scotland and part of Jacob Metal Group since 2014, Ireland Alloys (IAL) is among Europe’s largest recyclers of complex metal alloys and superalloys used in aircraft, aerosopace, power facilities and petrochemical plants.
‘You’re absolutely right, “Ireland Alloys in Scotland” is quite confusing. Let me explain: “Ireland” is the company founder’s family name.’ From Ennepetal in Germany, Uwe Dierkes leads JMG’s UK operations business, a job he shares with Stuart Douglas, the managing director on the spot. A major part of the business at IAL depends on the aircraft industy, a sector that was heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
‘Demand for new planes shrank and so did demand for superalloys,’ says Dierkes. This prompted the company to temporarily shift its focus to more engine teardown, the dismantling of aircraft engines. ‘We’ve done 15 units in the past 12 months or so.’
Not an easy job
It takes a couple of weeks to take apart one engine. Engine tear-down requires expert teams and fully equipped facilities. Dierkes: ‘We have the expertise and tools.’ The company not only offers an engine tear-down service but also purchases engine components for destruction.
‘These parts are brought in-house and are mutilated or destroyed according to official guidelines. All items are recorded, photographed and full certification is provided upon completion.’ All records are kept on file for up to seven years to guarantee that no parts return to the supply chain and the materials are processed at the IAL’s facility.
Meanwhile demand for superalloys is expected to grow and JMG is keen to boost its share in the market. The group has recently acquired a French company, Aciers Inoxydables Speciaux (AIS), whose activity is superalloys recycling and trade.
Dierkes: ‘We were already doing business with them. Since we’re always looking for growth opportunies the next natural step was to take them over.’ This move gives JMG better access to the French market for superalloys, described by Dierkes as ‘very big’.
‘France has a major aircraft manufacturing industry making it very interesting not only to source products and production scrap but also to supply materials.’ AIS is a collection hub, limited to rough checking and sorting of materials to be sent on to the Ennepetal and Ireland Alloys plants for further processing. French operations are led by Julien Gaudin.