CUTTING-edge technology developed by a world-leading engineering company is set to help businesses carrying out hazardous work save time, money and lives.
Forth Engineering (Cumbria) Ltd has developed a range of technologies successfully used in the UK nuclear industry.
Now the pioneering company is looking at ways to help businesses and organisations in other parts of the world, or in other sectors, to use its innovations as a cost-efficient solution to their challenges on land or at sea.
Forth has been chosen to work on some of the UK’s most complex industrial challenges as part of the Government’s Innovate UK scheme.
These include developing a robot which will travel hundreds of miles down an oil pipeline to find and fix any defects while the oil is still flowing.
This solution has the potential to save the industry millions of pounds, but also save lives by negating the need to send people into hazardous areas.
As well as being at the forefront of such innovative technology, Forth has already successfully designed and manufactured a range of robots used to provide solutions to the UK nuclear industry.
These robots have a range of capabilities - all tried and tested in harsh environments - all aimed at reducing the need to put people at risk.
They are able to access any given location - on land, or underwater - and through pumping, cutting, digging, or holding, remove or move objects without human intervention.
Fitted with state of the art cameras and lighting, they can be remotely controlled from a safe location.
Now Forth wants to offer those technologies to other businesses, and organisations across a range of sectors including nuclear, oil and gas, renewables, and agriculture.
Businesses have the opportunity to have the technologies and the robots adapted to provide solutions for their own bespoke needs.
Mark Telford, managing director of Forth, said: “We have developed a range of robotic solutions for harsh environments which have been successfully used in the nuclear sector in the UK.
“There’s a fantastic opportunity for other businesses and organisations in the UK and across the world, whether that’s other nuclear operations, or oil and gas, renewables, agriculture, and perhaps areas we haven’t even thought of, to make use of that technology.
“These tools have already been developed for, and used by, Sellafield, to successfully solve challenges in the nuclear industry. So they are tried and tested in harsh environments.
“There are industries all over the world which face their own similar issues.
“At the moment, they may see their only solution as sending a person into that extremely hazardous area. But that costs a huge amount of money, takes a lot of time, and is, by the very nature of the situation, putting people at risk.
“We are very keen to talk to any businesses or organisations who are faced with that type of challenge and discuss with them that there might be a better way.
“All the products we have manufactured can be adapted to provide a solution for a business’ particular challenge.
“So we would far rather those businesses talked to us and shared what their own particular issues are. That way we can see if we can help them.
“Because at the end of the day, that business might be able to save time, money and potentially save lives, just by talking to us and sharing with us the issue they face.”
As part of its mission to share its knowledge, expertise and facilities, Forth is also keen to hear from businesses and organisations which would benefit from using its pond for research and development.
At 22.5 metres long, 10 metres wide and six metres deep, and holding 1.2million litres of water, it is one of the largest wet test facilities in the UK.
The covered, freshwater pond, built as part of a £1.25m investment, allows businesses from a range of industries, including nuclear, oil and gas, marine and renewables, to carry out their research and development.
It is used by Malta-based EM&I group, an industry-leading global organisation providing support services to the oil, gas and energy industries - which has offices in Malta, France, Germany, UK, South Africa, China, Australia, Brazil, USA and Canada.
Peter Gresty, Equipment and Training Manager for the EM&I Group, said: "The pond at Forth in Maryport is ideal for us. We use it to carry out many aspects of our technological development. The facilities at Forth are unique and we really value being able to use the pond as it helps us to be innovative and stay ahead of the game when it comes to our technical development. The team at Forth are also very accommodating and great to work with."
And Mark says there’s scope for other businesses and organisations to be making use of the facility. “As well as wet work, there’s an area for a dry work as well, so it’s ideal for companies and organisations to use for testing equipment, or for divers, or any business or organisation involved in underwater operations. It is the perfect place to test new technology.
“We also have conference rooms for companies to use while they are here testing their equipment so it means they can be time-efficient while they are on site.”
All the developments being made at Forth are in line with the strategy of Sellafield and those driving the wider Cumbrian economy to ensure a diversification of businesses in the supply chain which will bring long-term sustainable benefits.
Mark said: “We have made that transition. We firmly believe that collaboration is the best way to do business.
“The ‘no man technology’ we have developed for the nuclear industry has been about removing the need to put people into hazardous environments and providing a cost-effective solution.
“There is an opportunity for a whole range of industries, businesses and organisations to use that technology.
“We would encourage businesses to come to us, to contact us, with their problems and we will look at providing a solution.”
*For further information contact Forth Engineering (Cumbria) Ltd +44 1900 81600; firstname.lastname@example.org, www.forth.uk.com