Spółdzielnia Inwalidów “METAL” (Disabled Workers Co-operative “METAL”) was established in May 1951 under the name: “Spółdzielnia Inwalidów w Bytowie” (Disabled Workers Co-operative in Bytów). The purpose of its activity was the vocational and social activation of the disabled, who accounted for a large percentage of the population in post-war years. At the beginning of its operation, the co-operative employed a dozen or so members and several dozen candidates for members. In the initial stage of the activity several service points were activated: shoemaker’s, tailor’s, hairdresser’s, linen production. In the following years the scope of services was extended e.g. by the points: saddler’s, carpenter’s, brush production, well making, metal, stove-fitting and painting, glassmaking.
At the beginning of the 1960s the plant intensively develops a network of homeworkers who perform work for it in their own workshops. The company specializes in the production of wooden boxes, handles, brushes, buckets, hangers, latches. Also the first locks are made.
The co-operative invests in its machinery park (e.g. presses and drills) and starts to implement further own products from the metal sector: hinges, energetic manual drives, buckets, metal baskets, simple cylinder brass inserts and building fittings. The company’s operation includes the entire former Słupsk voivodship.
In 1966 the plant changes its name into the present one, i.e. Spółdzielnia Inwalidów “METAL” (Disabled Workers Co-operative “METAL). In the same year construction of the new building lasting eight years comes to an end (Plant no. 1 in Miła Street in Bytów).
In 1983 the company buys the former base of the Agricultural Cooperatives Association which it extends and equips with machines within th next three years (it is the Plant no. 2 in Wybickiego street in Bytów – the current registered office of the Co-operative).
The 1980s is a period when the plant employs over 300 staff and realizes approximately 80% of domestic production of patent locks. Daily it produces as many as half a million hinges. The company makes its contribution to many local projects e.g. it patronizes the local school and education centre and supports an orphanage. The plant starts to make its first steps on foreign markets i.e. European and Asian.
At the beginning of the 1990s the co-operative produces a wide range of building and furniture fittings. It has its own products protected by patent law e.g. racks, mortise locks, door shields, rodent traps, pallet hinges. The plant provides hypermarkets with locks, padlocks, handles and portable suitcase grills.
In 1992 the plant gains the status of a Protected Labour Enterprise. In 1994 it registers a new trademark.
In 1995 a galvanizing plant is put into use in the Plant no. 2, intended for applying zinc galvanic coatings on small steel elements.
In 1994-96 an Italian technological line is activated in the Plant no. 1 for the production of a cylinder profile insert.
In 2006 growing problems connected with debt collection, competition of cheap goods from China and commitments to PFRON (State Fund for Rehabilitation of People with Disabilities) (related to a loan for the purchase of a technological line for production of a cylinder insert) force the company to sell the Plant no. 1 (on Miła street).
Now the co-operative is located in one plant – on Wybickiego street. The company searches for new solutions to remain operating. Purchase of Bystronic laser, LVD and later a Mazak laser and two bending brakes is an effect of this search. Introduction of the new technology enables the co-operative to open a new branch. The company begins its expansion in the sector of steel and aluminium constructions and components of machines. It provides services in making elements for aboveground and sea wind power stations, elements of bus and excavator constructions (e.g. for VOLVO, MAN, TEREX, BOMAG) and components for the machinery industry. The plant invests in modern software for designing. In 2009 a non-certified quality management system is implemented, consistent with ISO 9001.
At the end of 2012 implementation of the IT system of ERP class starts (advanced resources management) including the entire process of sale, purchase, production and accountancy.
In 2012 the trademark is renewed.
In 2016 the trademark is renewed again and certified quality management system ISO 9001 is implemented.
Currently, the Disabled Workers Co-operative “METAL” possesses land with a total surface area of 2.8 ha, office building, company rehabilitation clinic as well as production and warehouse halls of a total surface area of 5,500 m2. The company employs approximately 140 staff, including nearly 70% of the disabled and is the sole Protected Labour Enterpise in the territory of Bytów Municipality. The co-operative’s offer includes own metal products for the sector of building and furniture fittings (mainly mortise locks and brass cylinder inserts). The plant also provides services concerning prefabrication of small details and small-size constructions, galvanic services and services including neutralization of chemical waste. The co-operative has a broad machinery park consisting e.g. of laser cutters, bending brakes and eccentric presses, automatic lathes.