Steel pipe has a long history in the UK, and there are more than 30,000 steel pipe companies in the country, with the majority in the north of England.
But in the past three years, the pipe industry has seen a major drop in its sales.
Steel pipe companies have made a big comeback in recent years, and now they say the time is right to get back on the pipe market.
The industry is facing the same challenges that other industries are facing, according to Peter Whitehead, who heads the Pipe &Steel Business Association (P&SA), an industry body representing pipe manufacturers.
“We are getting more competitive,” he said.
“The UK is in a pretty good position as a global market, so we can get on with it.”
But it’s not just the pipe trade that’s been hit.
“In the last three years there has been a drop in pipe sales across the board,” he explained.
“In some cases there have been significant losses, and the downturn in the economy has really hit the pipe companies.”
It’s the only sector that’s really in the market where there’s a lot of competition, and we’re not getting any of that.
“The pipe companies are going through tough times and need a strong and stable economy, so I’m sure they’ll get that.”
For example, the National Transport Authority (NTA) is cutting its budget for the pipe business by £250 million.
It’s not the first time the NTA has faced budget cuts in the pipe sector, and it will only make things worse, because of the severe downturn in business.
“With so many other sectors getting hit in this downturn, we’re going to see a significant impact on our economy,” Mr Whitehead added.
“I’m really hoping that the NMA and the National Treasury can find a solution to ensure that they’re keeping the sector afloat.”
The pipe industry is in dire straits, so how do you make the pipe your own?
One of the most effective ways to get your pipe into the UK is to make your own pipe, using recycled steel pipe from overseas.
The pipe industry uses reclaimed steel from mills around the world, but there’s one particular manufacturer that can make it.
“A company called Steel Works is the biggest in the world for recycled steel, and they’ve got a range of pipes that they sell to the public,” Mr Brown said.
“It’s all done in their factory, and I know that they are getting the best price out of the steel, but they are also the only company in the industry that actually does this.”
Mr Brown said that when he got into the pipe manufacturing business in 2004, he knew he wanted to start a pipe company.
“So when I heard about the pipes coming in from China, I just wanted to get in there and get started,” he recalled.
“My first thought was, ‘What’s the point of it?
I don’t want to spend money on machinery and pipe’.”
But then the other thing I found was, you know, it’s the UK and we have a lot in common, so why not do something different?
“And then I just got on with the business.”
The pipes have changed from the old, old-fashioned style to the modern, modern-style, and Mr Brown says the pipes have been successful.
“That’s the main reason I started Steel Works,” he continued.
“There are many other brands out there, and many other companies have come out and made pipe.”
Mr Whitehead believes that the pipe makers are in a good position to make a comeback, and he’s hopeful that the industry will return to its former glory.
“Steel Works is a very successful company, and that’s because of their pipe.
He also hopes that the UK can continue to grow its economy by making the pipe its own.””
So they’re a very strong company.”
He also hopes that the UK can continue to grow its economy by making the pipe its own.
“For the pipe manufacturers, the UK could be a very good market to do business in,” he concluded.
“And the pipe and steel industries are so important to our economy, we have to continue to do the things we can to continue attracting foreign investment and keep our economy going.”