The James Durrans Group was founded in the British town of Penistone in South Yorkshire 150 years ago and the headquarters of this independent family-owned and family-managed business remain there today.
Ever since its foundation, the company has never strayed from its manufacture of carbon-related products. Carbon is such a versatile and multi-faceted material that it is found almost everywhere in the world. The materials sold worldwide by James Durrans, from Australia, India and China to Morocco and Argentina, South Africa and Germany, contribute towards or form part of many things we take for granted in our daily lives. Durrans products have played a part in producing everything from basic iron and steel castings to the brake linings and brake pads used in millions of cars and trucks to filters for cooker hoods, white paint pigments and even jet engines.
The progress of the Group since 1863 has been a story of hard work, determination, innovation and expansion. For the first 125 years the Group drew most of its business from the iron and steel industries of the UK, although it gradually began to look overseas, developing a distribution centre in Germany in the early 1970s, and venturing into China long before many other similar businesses. With the decline of its traditional UK markets, the Group has grown over the last 25 years by rationalising and improving UK production, adding manufacturing facilities in Europe and key emerging economies, and developing specialised carbon products, used by a wide variety of industries around the world.
Today the Group has annual sales of nearly £68 million, employs some 200 people and has nine manufacturing sites worldwide. Four of the latter can be found in the UK, at Penistone in Yorkshire, Bilston in the West Midlands, Brancepeth in County Durham and Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire. Each site has a particular specialisation and together they make a range of products, including recarburisers and refractory coatings, metallurgical and petroleum cokes, coal and anthracite blends, synthetic and natural graphites, forging lubricants and machined graphite components. Overseas manufacturing facilities are located in Germany, China, South Africa and India, the last two as joint ventures with local partners. A global network of agents and distributors is backed up by the support of experienced manufacturing and technical staff. Today the Durrans Group is one of the world’s leading producers of carbonaceous materials.