CNC machine tools and sheet metal machinery
Education and the low carbon economy

Education and the low-carbon economy

The ambitious Energy Island Programme — officially launched in Anglesey in June last year — aims to establish a world-class centre of excellence for energy developments, create opportunities for Anglesey to benefit from a range of energy related projects, attract considerable new investment to the island and generate high-quality employment.

When the project was launched, the leader of the County Council said that Anglesey is well placed to become a hub for low-carbon energy generation, given its location, wealth of natural resources and skills base. The island could promote and benefit from a broad energy mix including wind, tidal, bio-mass and other microgeneration projects, as well as a possible new nuclear build'.

The Energy Island Programme, which has the potential to bring more than £5 billion to Anglesey and North West Wales over the next 15 years through a range of energy-related projects, will focus on maximising the local employment and socio-economic opportunities from major energy investments on the island; these will include a new nuclear build' at Wylfa and major offshore wind-farm developments by Centrica and RWE. Construction activity could account for up to 5,000 new jobs, as well as additional jobs from supply chain demand and other employment spin-offs between 2013 and 2025. A further 2,500 operational jobs could also be delivered by 2025.

Environment award
Anglesey is already preparing for these jobs with Coleg Menai's new £6 million Energy and Fabrication Centre one of just seven projects to be awarded a Welsh BREEAM Award 2011 (BREEAM is a leading environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings). In order to achieve this high sustainability rating, all aspects of the building's environmental impact had to be considered; the building includes a number of low/zero-carbon solutions, including solar hot-water panels, ground-source heat pumps, rain-water harvesting, high levels of insulation and energy-efficient lighting.

College Principal Dafydd Evans said: Coleg Menai is delighted with the new Energy Centre; it is truly inspirational and forms an essential part of the college's mission to provide outstanding education in the best possible surroundings. The building provides training facilities for students looking to gain employment in three main parts of the energy sector. They will be able to gain specialist welding and steel fabrication skills of the type needed for nuclear decommissioning at the nearby Wylfa Power Station, and also for the construction of new plant. There are also facilities for training students in a range of renewable/sustainable-energy technologies.

The Energy and Fabrication Centre is now home to a comprehensive range of new equipment associated with fabrication and welding, much of which was supplied by Milton Keynes based Axe & Status Machinery Ltd (Tel: 01908 647707 The college heard about Axe & Status when apprentices from Campbell Grindlay Engineering (CGE) attended courses there. A local sheet-metal sub-contractor and fabricator, CGE had recently installed a guillotine, bandsaw and bending machine from Axe & Status, and the apprentices were able to confirm both the quality of the equipment supplied and the high level of service and support provided.

Government tender
Islwyn Williams, a lecturer at Coleg Menai, visited MACH 2010 to discuss the college's requirements and subsequently got three companies to tender for the contract (as per Welsh Government requirements).

He said Axe & Status offered the best solution for the college's needs, as well as good value for money; there was also the added benefit of dealing directly with a UK supplier. I had seen similar equipment from Axe & Status in action at Deeside College, so it was more a case of try before you buy' from a trusted source, which I found very reassuring. The package bought by Coleg Menai included a press brake, a guillotine, an ironworker, a horizontal bandsaw, a mechanical shear, a profile-bending machine and a three roll motorised bending machine all within the college's £100,000 budget. Moreover, much of the equipment has a particularly high specification.

For example, the Durma AD-R 20-60 three axis Synchro press brake a 60-tonne machine with a 2,050mm working width is fitted with the manufacturer's Advantage 2D CNC system, Sick guarding, motorised back-gauge, and back-gauge fingers with height adjustment. It was also supplied with top and bottom tooling. Meanwhile, the Durma SB 3010 NT hydraulic swing-beam guillotine has a 3,100 10mm capacity, ballscrew-driven back gauge (1,000mm stroke), digital read-out, a 1,000mm-long squaring arm and two 1,000mm-long support arms.

Also included are stroke-length control and single-point blade clearance adjustment. The Durma IW iron-worker is a twin-cylinder model that can process both flat and angles via punching (up to 40mm), notching and cutting. The Durma MS 1303 mechanical shear features a manual backgauge, squaring arm, two support arms and a portable foot control. The Durma MRB 1004 three-roll motorised bending machine, which has a moveable command' panel and a gearbox-driven main roll, can undertake conical bending.

Tony Jones (programme area manager at Coleg Menai), who works closely with local schools and businesses, says: The Welsh Assembly has shared in the vision of the college and helped Coleg Menai to achieve it aims with funding and practical encouragement. Anglesey is one of the major areas for energy development in Wales both nuclear and renewable and the Welsh Assembly has helped the college with the infrastructure required to train the type of skilled workforce welders, fabricators and pipe fitters that will be required by these industries in the future.

Local sheet-metal sub-contractor

Llangefni-based Campbell Grindlay Engineering Ltd is a sheet-metal sub-contractor that undertakes specialist manufacturing for the power-generating industries. The 11-employee company was formed in 1996 by Campbell Grindlay. Its primary role is the supply of specialist structural steelwork and secondary steelwork; it also provides fire protection systems (cladding) for power stations and undertakes both core-drilling and shotblasting.

In the spring of last year, CGE installed a Durma SB 3006 NT hydraulic swing-beam guillotine, a Durma HB-S 330 horizontal bandsaw and a Durma RB 1203 three-roll manual bending machine all supplied by Axe & Status. This equipment allows CGE to bring in-house much of the work it had been sub-contracting; it also allows the company to retain control over delivery times and quality, while at the same time minimising costs and providing full traceability.


Article reproduced with kind permission from Machinery Market - November 2011

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