Our History

Founded in the 1930s, we bring almost a century of expertise into the design and construction of can making machinery. We are proudly based in West Yorkshire, UK, the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

CMB Engineering is world renowned for our innovative can making machinery.  Founded in the 1930s, in the cradle of the European Industrial Revolution; the company has been developing and designing leading technologies, in Shipley, for almost a century.  During this time, a merger formed between Carnaud, a French manufacturer; and a further acquisition by Crown Holdings Incorporated, one of the world’s leading producers of metal packaging; have defined the innovative and customer driven company that you see before you today.

When designing and creating CMB Engineering’s first can making machine, the company simultaneously focused on harnessing  a century’s worth of engineering excellence, in order to develop a solution that would meet the needs of can makers.

This resulted in the invention of the Bodymaker; hence providing a unique solution that combined both can making and trimming, in order to bring manufacturers a convenient and efficient machine with a reduced footprint.  Launched over forty years ago; you can still find our original Bodymaker machines running like clockwork across can production plants around the world.

Through Time

Today, we draw inspiration from our proud history of engineering excellence.  We are responsible for developing advanced can making; in addition to necking and decorating systems and technologies, which can help can makers meet the challenges that the future holds.  Harnessed on behalf of our customers, is decades of industrial knowledge and technical prowess which is channelled through our designs.

Timeline - Website - Imagery 1853 – Established
Established by James Denby Lee and James Crabtree, at Crag Mills, Windhill manufacturing textile machinery.
Timeline - Website - Imagery 1930 – Becomes Metal Box
The business is bought by Metal Box Company and begins building can making machinery.
Timeline - Website - Imagery 1964 – Dockfield Road, Shipley
Metal Box moves to its current home, a purpose-built site at Dockfield Road, in Shipley.
Timeline - Website - Imagery 1986 – Queen’s Award Winner
Winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – Technological Achievement, awarded for developing the technology to spin a shaped neck onto a two-piece can. A process since used throughout the world
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1988 – Expansion
Office opens in Norwalk, US
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1989 – Becomes CarnaudMetalbox
Metal Box merges with Carnaud SA of France to become CarnaudMetalbox Engineering
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1991 – Bodymaker Launch
Launch of the 5000 Bodymaker
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1994 – Can Trimmer Development
CMB begins development on a Can Trimmer machine, a four-head rotary machine capable of handling all standard DWI can sizes
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1995 – 5500 Canmaker Launch
Launch of the 5500 Canmaker an Integration of the 5000 Bodymaker and 550 Trimmer
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1995- Acquisition by Crown Cork & Seal
Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc. (Now Crown Holdings)
acquires CarnaudMetalbox Engineering
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 1997 – Launch of MK2 Bodymaker
Launch of Mk2 5000 Bodymaker, an advanced, horizontal, double-action press for production of aluminium or steel DWI cans at high speeds and efficiencies
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2006 – 3200 Spray Machine Launch
Launch of the 3200 Spray Machine, a high-speed internal lacquer coating machine for aluminium or steel cans
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2006 – Die Set Launch
Launch of the Die Set, a cupper tool for all press types for both aluminium and steel cups
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2007 – 3400 Die Necker Launch
Launch of the 3400 Die Necker, a multi-stage die necking machine capable of producing cans at speeds of up to 3400 cans per minuted
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2009 – World Skills UK
A team of young Engineers from CMB Engineering win Gold in the manufacturing team challenge category at the World Skills UK competition
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2010 – Queen’s Award Winner
2nd Queens Award for Enterprise awarded in the International Trade category, the highest official award for British businesses. Presented by Princess Anne
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2012 – Sterling Necker Launch
Launch of the Sterling Necker, a multiple-stage die necking system for two-piece aluminium or steel can production speeds up to 1,800 cans per minute
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2013 – World Skills
A team of CMB Apprentices form part of Team GB representing the UK in the Manufacturing Team Challenge at the World Skills competition in Leipzig, Germany
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2014 – The Academy Launch
Launch of The Academy, a first in the industry – offering in-depth practical and theoretical understanding of canmaking and seaming
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2014 – Queen’s Award Winner
3rd time winners of the Queens Award for Enterprise – International trade
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2014 – 50th Anniversary
Celebrating Dockfield Road as the home of CMbE and the heart of our UK manufacturing heritage
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2015 – World Skills
A team of CMB Apprentices form part of Team GB representing the UK in the Manufacturing Team Challenge at the World Skills competition in São Paulo, Brazil
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2015 – reformat™ Spray Machine Launch
Launch of the reformat™ Spray Machine, a servo driven internal spray machine, developed to improve the speed, efficiency and process control for evenly coating the inside of beverage or food cans
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2015 – Expansion
Office opens in Shanghai, China
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2016 – Milestones
1000th Bodymaker sold. 100th Trimmer Sold
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2016 – Awards
CanTech – Innovation Award.
Winners of the 2016 CanTech Innovations award for the reformat™ Spray Machine 

2016 Crown’s Social Sustainability Award
Received for the employee safety program “Cool To Be Safe”

Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2017 – World Skills
A team of CMB Apprentices form part of Team GB representing the UK in the Manufacturing Team Challenge at the World Skills competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2018 – 1000th Trimmer Sold
Eric Middleton and Andy Goldsbrough presenting the 1000th Trimmer Plaque
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2019 – World Skills
A team of CMB Apprentices form part of Team GB representing the UK in the Manufacturing Team Challenge at the World Skills competition in Kazan, Russia
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2020 – Queen’s Award Winner
4th time winners of the Queens Award for Enterprise – Innovation, for the reformat™ Spray Machine
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2020 – Expansion
Expansion into Unit 9. 20,561ft2 facility at Hirstwood Works, Shipley, West YorkshireExpansion into Unit 6.
1,991ft2 at Hirstwood Works, Shipley, West Yorkshire
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2021 – Unit 12 Expansion
150,000ft2 manufacturing facility in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Timeline - Website - Imagery5 2021 – Strengthens presence in the US
HV Industries & Wissota Tool form part of CMbE USA alongside Norwalk.