Dates: 1976 until the present day
Location: Thelwall, Warrington and Runcorn
Specialities: knitted wire, anti-vibration mounts, clear mesh, grease filters and framed filters, knitted wire mesh rolls, mist eliminators, reinforcement mesh.
Eric and Audrey Forber founded Knitwire in 1976 with their son, Stephen, who is the Managing Director in 2021. It was started in Thelwall and still uses a site formerly used by the Sankey Green Wire Weaving Company.
The company was founded to provide jobs for the Forber family and since then has grown to a team of 60 people in the United Kingdom and over 20 people in Cape Town, South Africa.
Wire knitting is quite a unique product and there are very few experts in the world capable of doing it. Knitted mesh, as its name implies, is a metal wire knitted into an interlocking looped mesh structure which is the form of rectangular openings of parallel wires. Knitted wire mesh is more flexible than most woven mesh, because the loops are able to move relative to each other, giving a two-way stretch. This flexibility gives knitted mesh a unique advantage for many industrial uses.
Knitwire Products have the unique advantage of an in-house engineering department that builds, maintains and modifies all of its machines and tooling, meaning it can meet its customers individual requirements quickly and cost effectively.
Aside from engineering jobs, Knitwire employs many factory operatives, fork-lift drivers, salespeople, marketing staff, managers as well as an admin team in the office. Their most exciting challenge is decreasing their impact on the environment in the belief that all companies should be aiming for a sustainable future.
This article was written for the Wire Works Project 2020-2021, a National Lottery Heritage funded project aiming to highlight and celebrate the legacy left by the wire industry, which dominated Warrington’s employment structure for over 170 years, putting the town at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.