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Widnes Galvanising celebrates Hill & Smith landmark anniversary

It’s been 200 years since Hill & Smith PLC founded, so the team at Widnes Galvanising joined in the celebrations with good food and (thankfully) good weather.

Hill & Smith was founded by Edward Hill in 1824 and was known as Hill’s Ironworks, based in Brierley Hill in the West Midlands, UK. Widnes Galvanising was acquired by Joseph Ash Galvanizing in October 2022, who in turn joined the Hill & Smith group of companies back in 2000.

Widnes’ site celebrations involved a retro burger van arriving to the site, serving delicious gourmet burgers and topped pancakes.

The burgers were certainly very unique, with buns in all sorts of different colours. The pancakes came loaded with fruit and chocolate spread, perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Activities are also set to take place across the other Joseph Ash Galvanizing and Premier Galvanizing sites throughout the remainder of June. We can’t wait to see what the other sites have got planned, and we can’t wait to continue to be part of Hill & Smith’s incredible history!

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We’re excited to announce that we have just launched our new environmentally-friendly passivation process!

An alternative to hexavalent chrome passivation, our new non-chrome 6 passivation is a fantastic step towards keeping the galvanising process environmentally friendly, as well as making sure we deliver only the best quality finish for our customers.

What is passivation?

After hot dip galvanising has taken place, items (on request) are “passivated”. Passivation causes a chemical reaction to occur, where a thin transparent layer of metal oxide coats the galvanised steel to help reduce the effects of wet storage stain and cool the items so they can be handled safely.

Our new passivation process does not use hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) compounds within the process. Instead, it relies on compounds which are considered less toxic and more environmentally friendly. Our new method of passivating is a safer alternative to traditional Cr(VI) passivation, while delivering only the highest-quality finish for our customers.

Benefits of non-chrome 6 passivation

The main difference between hexavalent chrome passivation and our new non-chrome 6 passivation is its environmental impact; Widnes Galvanising’s passivation process is more environmentally-friendly than traditional Cr(VI) passivation. Both we and the wider Joseph Ash Group are dedicated to protecting the environment, so this is a fantastic change to make.

Other benefits of passivation include:

  • Increased corrosion resistance: Passivation significantly improves the corrosion resistance of zinc-coated steel. This is particularly important in outdoor and industrial environments where exposure to moisture, chemicals, and pollutants is common.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Passivation can enhance the appearance of the galvanised surface by providing a smoother and more aesthetically pleasing finish.
  • Extended lifespan: Galvanised products with passivation tend to have a longer service life, reducing maintenance and replacement costs.
  • Improved adhesion: Passivation can improve the adhesion of paints and coatings to the galvanised surface, making it easier to apply and more durable.

Contact us today to discuss your hot dip galvanising and passivation requirements.

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Widnes Galvanising, a leading provider of galvanizing services within the Joseph Ash Group, can now bring shot blasting and powder coating services to customers. These new offerings bring Widnes Galvanising, which was acquired by the Joseph Ash Group in 2022, up to speed with other plants within the Group. Customers now have access to a wider range of finishing options, and can expect to save time and money on transportation and service fees.

Shot blasting is a highly effective process for removing rust, paint, and other contaminants from metal surfaces. It is essential for maximising the effectiveness of galvanizing and powder coating. Our other new offering, powder coating is a popular coating technique that provides a durable finish. It allows metal to be coated in a range of colours and textures while retaining the strength of galvanizing. Widnes Galvanising’s new offerings are perfect for making your steel fabrications stand out from the crowd.

We are committed to delivering the highest quality steel treatment services. With our new shot blasting and powder coating capabilities, we are well-positioned to maintain our reputation as a leading service provider within the Joseph Ash Group. If you’re near the North West area, we are ready to strengthen your steel.

For more information about Widnes Galvanising and our services, contact Gavin Jones at

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The annual Lily Mae Foundation Charity Golf Day and Dinner Dance took place on Friday 14 April.

The Lily Mae Foundation supports parents and families after a stillbirth, neonatal death, miscarriage or medical termination. Joseph Ash Galvanizing has supported the charity for over a decade, regularly attending its annual golf/dinner dance event and helping to raise in excess of £150k.

There were 32 teams who took part this year, made up of clients, suppliers, and team members across the Joseph Ash Group. Team Widnes Galvanising, pictured below, were proud to take part and played brilliantly!

Attendees were greeted with a charity gift bag containing goodies and snacks for the day. They then fuelled up with bacon baps and coffee before teeing off. Teams concluded the day with the evening dinner dance, where there were fewer bogeys, and a lot more boogie!

Team Widnes Galvanising

Well done to Lily Mae Foundation on another successful event!

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Another new face to the Joseph Ash Group, keen to introduce themselves! Paul Williams has joined our team at Widnes Galvanising as Maintenance Manager for the branch. We took the chance to speak with Paul and find out all about him and his new role.

Meet Paul Williams:

Role: Maintenance Manager

Branch: Widnes

Started: 2023


Food: Love a Chinese banquet

Film: A good action film like the John Wick series is always a winner (I was lucky enough to use the Kiltech shot gun from the film while in the States). I’m also a big F1 fan and love watching the race on weekends.

Pastime: I try and keep fit, attending my local Men’s Hub facility in Warrington 3-4 times a week, running and cycling now and then. I also enjoy meals out with my wife and kids, and long beach walks with our border collie Rosy.

Can you give a brief overview of your role?

My role as Maintenance Manager is to keep production running smoothly. I liaise with contractors, management, and staff to keep the daily operations of the plant working as they should. Basically, if it breaks, it’s my job to fix it.

Can you give us some history on your career?

My previous job was as an electrical contractor working on all manner of sites, from hospitals to petrochemical sites. This came to an end in 2009 when I took up a maintenance role for another galvanizing company, which was my introduction to the galvanizing industry.

What drew you to the company?

I saw the job advertised at Joseph Ash and saw there was potential to grow, improve and challenge myself in my first management role. I love a challenge and felt that my skillset very much matched the job advertised, and I wanted to progress.

What is your favourite/most memorable project to date?

Being so new to the company I’m just starting to get my teeth into our first round of improvement works over Easter. I actually enjoy the planning stages and seeing the various works come together to reach the common goal.

What projects are you looking forward to in the coming year?

I’m generally looking forward to improving the site, how we operate, working as part of a larger team and increasing production.

Tell us something that people might find surprising about you.

People normally double take when I tell them I’m a professional wrestler (WWE style) and have worked on shows up and down the country. I have also been lucky enough to wrestle internationally in Belgium, Australia and the United States. I even had a small part in the Hollywood movie “Fighting With My Family”, starring The Rock.

I’ve also completed a few marathons – one ultra marathon and a century bike ride (not on the same day though!). I also help coach a local football under 16 team (Cromwell Thunderbolts) which my son plays for too, so I’m quite busy generally.

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We’re shining a light on Jessica Ramanouski, Office & Sales Administrator, as the latest face to join Widnes Galvanising. We hope our current (and future) customers will look forward to interacting with Jess in the coming months!

Meet Jessica Ramanouski:

Role: Office & Sales Administrator

Branch: Widnes

Started: February 2023

Can you give a brief overview of your role at the company?

I am brand new to the company, being here just over a month. I have a dual role of Office & Sales Administrator. I am learning new ways of inputting information and data, as well as learning about galvanizing in general. I am also dealing with supplier queries, which has introduced me to the financial side of the company.

Jessica Ramanouski

As well as the admin side, I have started to work with our Commercial Manager, Gavin. Gavin is teaching me the sales part of the company and I am working alongside him to improve our techniques and find new customers.

What was your career before joining the company?

When I finished school, I did an apprenticeship in Business Administration. I worked in a forklift training centre for seven months and loved every minute of it. Due to my age, I decided to complete my A-Levels to save complications with funding as I got older. After this, I spent four years at Liverpool Hope University studying for a BA in History & Media and Communication, and an MA in History. During this time, I worked for a supermarket as a Team Leader, and also qualified as a makeup artist.

I met amazing people and learnt many transferrable skills. I enjoyed my time there; however, I was always yearning for a graduate job where I could put my knowledge and skills to good use. So, you can imagine my happiness when I got this job. I felt like I was coming full circle, starting this job exactly 10 years after my apprenticeship.

What drew you to the company?

Widnes Galvanising is a local business to me. It’s where my dad worked when I was a child, and my little brother is currently a manager here in the production office. I heard a lot of positive things about the company and people after it had been taken over by Joseph Ash. I did some research and liked the sound of the ethics and eco-friendliness of the company so I decided to apply.

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?

I’m looking forward to working with new people and developing an ever-growing customer base. I’m also looking forward to getting more involved in sales and marketing, and developing my knowledge.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.

I am a huge fan of makeup and the art of drag. I am a qualified makeup artist and I will often have a face full of makeup on, including rhinestones. I am obsessed with RuPaul’s Drag Race and when I am not in work, I will spend time binging episodes.

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