Engineering Update - November 2023

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McGinley extends NIS partnership as HS2 apprentice milestone reached in the Midlands [click here to Read More]

November 2023 ENGINEERING


Electronic loads in the TME product catalogue Axiomet, Aim-TTi and B&K Precision solutions Specialist equipment for operating electronic devices constitutes a vital part of the TME product catalogue. This product range also includes electronic loads with various power ratings and features. Although electronic loads are devices with a very wide range of applications, they are utilised almost exclusively in professional settings. They are primarily applied in electronic equipment design and testing processes. They have also been deemed indispensable for quality control operations in the electric engineering industry, where they are used for repeatable, precise and controlled test performance. Such a wide range of applications results in a wide assortment of products being available, as precision electronics service technicians require loads demonstrating different capabilities (and sizes) than manufacturing facilities. Therefore, this article presents an overview of the product range available at TME, i.e. products offered by three different brands, varied both in terms of parameters and prices. This article covers the following issues: • • •

Affordable low-power solutions Functional units demonstrating a wide range of capabilities Electronic loads for labs and manufacturing facilities

Axiomet solutions Electronic loads offered by Axiomet include affordable devices with 150 W and 300 W power ratings. These units are designed primarily to work with low-power consumer electronic equipment, mobile device batteries, etc. Nevertheless, in addition to current rating limitations, these products demonstrate a full range of functionalities required for conducting complex tests. These include: constant AX-EL300W current, voltage, resistance and power modes, battery A compact size is one of vital advantages of products offered by discharge programme and short-circuit simulation mode. Axiomet. They can also run in an instantaneous operation mode, which involves switching between two setpoints (using an external trigger or internally generated signal). During operation, such a load protects the connected power supply source from damage in line with adjustable parameters. Such products come with a 10-record memory plus the option of being remotely controlled via a serial interface (RS232).

Aim-TTi loads The Aim-TTi LD400 series devices are characterised (as the name suggests) by the 400 W maximum power rating, although they are capable of reaching even 600 W during 60-second periods. Therefore, they are extremely useful for testing a wide range of energy sources, batteries, solar cells, power supply modules, inverters, etc. One of their advantages is the capability of operating at very low voltages (below 0.5 V) and currents as low as 80 A at 2 V DC, which is particularly important when testing precision electronic equipment such as stabilisers and filters. Similarly to Axiomet units, the LD400 series equipment facilitates obtaining variable loads oscillating between two setpoints with adjustable edge time and frequency ranging from 0.01 Hz to 10 kHz. It is particularly important while simulating circuits of controllers supplying additional consumers (e.g. motor drivers, LD400 illumination system controllers, pulse converters). Note that Backlit graphic LCD display ensures interface legibility the wide parameter range is obtained while maintaining high measurement resolution, i.e. 1 mA, 1 mV and 1 mW (accuracy equal to 0.1% for voltage and 0.2% for current). Additionally, these units come equipped with the Current Monitor analogue output designed to observe the current strength variation curve using an oscilloscope. A large, backlit LCD display enhances the comfort of using an Aim-TTi device.

ENGINEERING PDATE November 2023 B&K Precision electronic load series B&K Precision specialises in designing professional solutions ranging from loads for lab equipment to units designed to operate manufacturing quality control systems. The TME product catalogue includes a wide assortment of such solutions, i.e. small, table-mounted devices and high-power rack-mounted units. All of them come with a wide range of functionalities and a high degree of automation, which ensures comfortable working conditions and the repeatability of test results. The B&K Precision product capabilities are best illustrated by the 8600 series characteristics. The power rating of the devices in this group reaches 6 kW. They facilitate programming multi-stage tests and storing their results, including various voltage, current and increase

rate values. Each step within a programmed sequence has an adjustable length (at least 20 µs), and a single list of steps may include 84 items. Settings can be made via the front panel interface (with a clear, legible display) or remotely via a serial interface (RS232), USB or GPIB (IEEE-488 parallel bus). Connectors located on back panels make it possible to connect a switch, trigger switch or strength sensor (0–10 V DC proportional signal at the BNC connector). Obviously, these devices come with integrated safety circuits, selftesting functionalities and a range of other convenient solutions. Simultaneously, they ensure high precision of measurements taken via 16-bit A/C converters with guaranteed resolution of 1 mV and 0.1 mA. Such extensive and automated functionalities fully meet production process requirements and help ensure consistent quality of equipment manufactured.

BK8550 8550 series

BK8540 BK8540 model +44 1675790026

BK8500B 8500/B series

BK8610 8600/B series

REMBE® Pressure Relief and Explosion Safety.

© REMBE® | All rights reserved





ICL Boulby Upgrades Magnetic Separators


Signalling systems for the chemical industry. Avoid unnecessary downtimes with intelligent signalling systems


McGinley extends NIS partnership as HS2 apprentice milestone reached in the Midlands

Low Earth Orbit Satellite Lenses

UK Connector manufacturer Weald Electronics reduces Carbon Footprint

To speak to a member of the team please call 020 805 09659 or email


November 2023 ENGINEERING


Titan Enterprises Goes ‘Back to Basics’ with Flow Meter Sensors Liquid flow meter specialist Titan Enterprises, has published a technical review of pulse sensors for flow measurement devices and applications. “Deciding on the best flow meter for a particular application can be problematic,” states Neil Hannay, Senior R&D Engineer with Titan Enterprises. “There is such a wide array of sensing and output technology combinations, each with its advantages and disadvantages. We wanted to pull together a technical explanation of flowmeter sensors and pulse output types so users can choose the one that will give them the most efficient system operation.” Flow meters have developed into many forms over the years, from mechanical devices – such as a turbine or rotating gear - which rely on measurement of a rotational component, to devices that use ultrasound and other advanced technologies. These meters generally use a sensor to relay the flow measurements to a reading device. Nearly all types of flowmeters, from ultrasonic to turbines, are offered with pulse output flow signals. Sensing components used in a flowmeter measure the movement or flow rate of the liquid or gas passing through the system. The pulse output signal from these devices is, in essence, an on/off switch which changes state at a frequency related to the fluid flow.


As well as discussing the different sensors primarily used in today’s flowmeters and drawing on examples of application, a detailed review of the semiconductor sensor components is also included. Titan’s technical review touches on advantages and disadvantages of each sensor type, along with best practice for connecting sensors to the desired readout device. Defining some of the key functions and recommended applications of these sensors provides a useful comparison to guide the user’s decision as to the optimum output for their flow measurement requirements. Visit Titan Enterprises’ website for further information on flow measurement or to discuss your specific OEM application, please contact Titan Enterprises on +44 (0)1935 812790 or email


SICK Launches Industry 4.0 On-Premise Data Intelligence Platform SICK has launched an Industry 4.0 on-premise data intelligence platform that empowers manufacturing and logistics organisations to optimise their operating performance. SICK Field Analytics can be quickly and easily set up to provide meaningful, application-specific condition monitoring and process insights, independently of an organisation’s existing machinery and systems. SICK Field Analytics is a evendor-agnostic digitalisation platform that collects and aggregates data from any source, including sensors, machine controllers and other IIoT devices. The software can be configured to display real-time data, to provide timely alerts and alarms, and to visualise historical trends through powerful dashboard graphics. Data Insights for Improved Performance Using the SICK Field Analytics software solution and a dedicated computer, users can aggregate data from disparate machines and automation systems or augment legacy automation systems to provide additional data insights. The solution is highly scalable, enabling users to adopt it on a project-by-project basis or at a wider organisational level. Charlie Walker, SICK UK’s Digital Solutions Consultant, says the SICK Field Analytics platform can support users to progress towards greater Industry 4.0 digital maturity: “Operators who want to gain more insights across a production floor, factory or warehouse may feel quite daunted by the prospect of collecting and comparing data from many different machines or applications. “Faced with a sea of information, it can be difficult to isolate the specific factors that are affecting operating efficiency. The data could come from all sorts of sources that use different communications protocols. Information could even still be recorded manually, be stuck in silos, or bogged down in bottlenecks. “Even if operators already extract some data from their existing automation, they can find themselves locked out of PLCs or other systems, such as “legal for trade”. So, they cannot increase the amount of diagnostic data from their legacy systems, even when they replace switched devices with IO-Link sensors, or configure edge integrations using IO-Link Masters.” Interrogate Operating Efficiency “Field Analytics can solve these problems easily by collecting data from all these disparate sources without costly and timeconsuming adaptation of existing systems. Operators can extract more information about the health of their machines, while interrogating their operating efficiency in new, and sometimes surprising, ways.”

Field Analytics: compressed air monitoring dashboard

The SICK Field Analytics software platform can be used in combination with data extracted from a wide variety of existing sources, including sensors from any vendor, PLCS, and smart IIoT edge devices such as Sensor Integration Machines. Where necessary, SICK can work with a customer to add smart sensors and edge devices to machinery or automated systems as part of a dedicated Field Analytics project. Powerful Dashboards and Alerts SICK Field Analytics incorporates a user management module to manage access rights. The data collected will depend on each organisation, but could range from the service status of sensors through to key data about the health of machinery, such as vibration, temperature, or shock. Organisations can configure their Field Analytics package to better understand the condition of their machinery using powerful dashboard graphics and visual alerts. Operators can set up and trend Key Performance Indicators both historically and in real time. Through real-time alerts, they can react more quickly to production or process anomalies that might otherwise lead to machine downtime. Field Analytics can track overall operating effectiveness. The dashboard features can be also trend other measurements important to an organisation’s profitability and efficiency. For example, it could monitor compressed air usage or calculate and track production costs, for example of energy consumption. SICK Field Analytics can also enhance the data already available from legacy automated systems, including those that operate at a higher organisational level. SICK Field Analytics is compatible with most common communications protocols, including Rest API, OPC UA and MQTT.


Supporting UK Manufacturing Supply Chain Solutions








For further information about GTMA, and how we can assist with supply chain requirements, please contact A wealth of precision engineering supply chain partners


Low Earth Orbit Satellite Lenses Resolve Optics is a leading European designer and supplier of application optimised lenses for satellite developers seeking to operate optical instruments in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). A LEO satellite operates relatively close to Earth’s surface. LEO satellites orbit at an altitude of 160 -1000 km – which is low compared to other orbits, but still very far above the Earth’s surface. Most LEO satellites are used for observation and science as being nearer the Earth’s surface allows optical instruments to take higher resolution images. Customer support manager of Resolve Optics – Rob Watkinson said “Optical instruments for use in space are designed to survive a specified total absorbed radiation dose (expressed in Rad) over the lifetime of a mission. Standard glass types will turn dark as they absorb radiation and although the radiation levels in LEO are relatively

low, over an extended period of time a standard lens will still deteriorate until the point it is no longer useable”. He added “Generally, we recommend that any LEO mission lasting a year or more, should use radiation resistant optics to guarantee good transmission for the entire length of the mission. However, sometimes there may be a performance criterion that is considered more important than longevity. Recently a customer asked us to produce a custom lens able to operate over a very wide bandwidth. Using only radiation resistant optical materials in the optical design would have been limiting as there isn’t enough variety in the glass types available to provide good colour correction over the full bandwidth. In a situation like this, the customer opted for good performance over the full bandwidth for a limited time, to be more important to them than having poorer performance over an extended operating lifetime. Other optical design situations that may warrant the use of standard optical material rather than radiation resistant glasses are when the LEO application requires high resolution or athermal performance over a very large temperature range. He concluded “The key considerations when designing lenses for use in LEO satellites is how they react to the vibration and shock of launch, extremes of temperature, high vacuum and the cosmic radiation encountered in space”. For further information please visit our online presentation ‘An introduction to space ready optics’ at or contact Resolve Optics on +44-1494-777100 / Over the last 20 years, Resolve Optics has built an international reputation for designing and supplying high performance lenses that enable high resolution remote sensing from LEO satellites.


November 2023 ENGINEERING


LiftEx 2023 is a must visit for anyone in engineering LiftEx 2023 is the global showcase for the Lifting Industry, the ideal show for anyone who uses lifting and height safety equipment. Taking place at the Exhibition Centre, Liverpool on 21-22 November 2023, it is the annual flagship event of LEEA (Lifting Equipment Engineers Association) and is free to attend. Registration is open now at: This is an essential event for the engineering sector. Lifting products are vital to engineering projects across offshore, construction, manufacturing, materials handling, rail, automotive, aerospace and defence. It is safety that is paramount in any lifting operation. One of the best ways engineering operations can mitigate the risk of an inspection by Health and Safety authorities is to ensure that when procuring lifting equipment or supporting services, they look for the LEEA logo. This shows that the equipment or service provider is an Association member and has therefore undergone a rigorous auditing process to uphold LEEA’s ‘gold standard’ and provide customers with the assurance of excellence. LEEA members are driven by quality and commitment to the highest possible practices. The Association is established across the globe as the leading representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide and contributes to the development and dissemination of legislation, regulation and ‘best practice’ guidance. Through its rigorous auditing scheme, LEEA gives assurance that members’ equipment and procedures are both compliant and safe. Training is promoted and LEEA assesses experience and qualifies by examination to indicate that people are competent to specify, maintain, inspect and take responsibility for the safe operation of lifting equipment of all kinds. Safety underpins everything LEEA has been doing throughout its almost 80 year history and will continue to do going forward. Zero accidents and injuries from working at height is the Association’s prime goal, with members around the world united in the desire to make industry safe.


Best practice abounds at LiftEx Celebrating its 18th year in 2023, LiftEx offers the best opportunity to find the LEEA logo on a whole host of lifting equipment, products and services from its member companies. They operate in a forward looking Lifting Industry that is always innovating, with constantly developing technologies – including AI, virtual reality simulation, condition and load monitoring, remote control and anticollision systems – spreading throughout the sector to reduce risk from working at height. The dedicated event addresses many different challenges, solutions, regulations and best practice advice under one roof. This makes LiftEx the ideal venue for anyone involved with, or responsible for, lifting equipment in the manufacturing sector to join over 1,500 industry professionals in catching up with suppliers and exploring their latest innovations, viewing demonstrations and gain valuable lifting knowledge across two days. Expertise and industry insights will be shared through informative speaker sessions and specialty programmes designed to help visitors in their everyday role and delivered by the LEEA team and industry experts. Topics on the agenda include the latest in safety regulations, technology innovations, recruitment strategies and industry best practice. The event will also welcome careers advisors, teachers, universities, colleges and regional boards. They all make a vital contribution to the Lifting Equipment industry’s sustainability by engaging with the next generation of talent and attracting them into the Lifting Sector. With CoreRFID, the provider of Lifting Inspection software and RFID technology, as Headline Sponsor of the event, joining other sponsors: Rope and Sling Specialists, Green Pin and Delta, this year promises to be the best LiftEx yet. Among over 100 exhibitors on the show floor, over 20% will be appearing at LiftEx for the first time. A show full of lifting innovation On display will be a broad array of lifting equipment solutions from companies such as Atlas Winch & Hoist Services, Cromax, Delta Hoisting Equipment, Foster Cranes, George Taylor Lifting Gear,

Green Pin (Royal Van Beest), Hird, JD Neuhaus, Mipromet, Modulift, Nautilus Hooks, Pinpoint Manufacturing, Rope and Sling Specialists (RSS), TTC Lifting, Tusk Lifting and Worlifts. Visitors interested in materials handling equipment will find Davinder Technical Services, GGR Group, Lift Turn Move, Probst, Prolift Handling and Tracked Carriers. Chains, ropes and accessories will be featured by companies including Bridon Bekaert, Codipro, European Management & Marine (EMM Corp), Ferryl, Hendrik Veder Group, Latch and Batchelor, Lift Turn Move, Lift-Tex Heavy Lift Slings, RUD Chains, Sahm Splice, Talurit and William Hackett Chains. There will be slings and rigging from Aberdeen Web, Crosby, Dolezych, Hendrik Veder Group, Petersen Stainless Rigging, PMS Industrie and Suhbo Industrial Co. Exhibitors displaying height safety equipment include Guardian Fall, North Sea Lifting, RidgeGear, SafetyLiftinGear, Safehold, SpanSet, Tiger Lifting, TransWeb and YOKE Industrial Corp. There will be load monitoring equipment from DLM, Load Monitoring Systems (LMS) and Red Rooster Lifting. A range of IT solutions will be shown from companies including CoreRFID, Formability, Onix Work, RiConnect and Tele Radio UK. Stands featuring load moving and transport include Liftket UK. Test machinery can be seen from Structureflex and there will be administrative services exhibited by IBS Industrial. There will be organisations such as the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), the MoD’s official provider of Armed Forces Resettlement for over 13,000 skilled and experienced individuals leave the military. The military trains and employs many personnel with direct experience of lifting engineering – think of swapping an engine out of an aircraft, or a tank, or changing a propellor shaft on a ship. Many service personnel therefore have the qualities craved by the Lifting Industry. Through its Military Transition scheme, LEEA is connecting those transitioning from the armed forces into civilian life and their potential employers. Employers visiting LiftEx can find out how to access this pool of service leavers with a wide range of transferable skills. For more information on LiftEx, and to register for a free ticket, visit


21-22 November Exhibition Centre Liverpool

 Live Demos

 Innovation

 Discussion

 Training

The exhibition for people working in lifting and height safety Headline Sponsor:

Sponsors and Partners: #liftex2023

Hosted by:

November 2023 ENGINEERING

Fluid Carrying

Ultrasonic Flowmeters

Innovative Liquid Flow Measurement Solutions

Turbine Flowmeters

Titan is a leading design and manufacturer of innovative end user and OEM high-performance flow meters, used within a wide range of environments and applications.

Flexibility Articulated Torsion Pipework In Hoses

• Compact, robust, reliable • Excellent accuracy and repeatability

Oval Gear Flowmeters


Rotating Cylinders

Swivel Joints Swivel joints allow pipework to pressure 1/4” to 40” and beyond. Vacuum to over 20,000psi. Stock and bespoke production.

• Measure low to high flow ranges

Unique bearing/seal design for longer life.

• High chemical resistance

ISO 9001 CE marked where applicable.

• OEM bespoke design capability




+44 (0)1935 812790

Tel: +44(0)1663 735003

Bingswood Trading Estate Whaley Bridge | High Peak | SK23 7LY | UK



Signalling systems for the chemical industry

Avoid unnecessary downtimes with intelligent signalling systems Rupture discs and safety valves have become indispensable for manufacturing companies in the chemical industry. However, there is a need to catch up in terms of signalling. The opportunities offered to operators here are both diverse and economically interesting. With non-invasive signalling that can be integrated into the rupture disc, even processes with critical pressures and demanding media can be reliably monitored. Processes involving high temperatures and highly corrosive media are widespread throughout the chemical industry. In the past, conventional signalling was not always compatible with such extreme conditions, which is why it is now often overlooked as an additional process monitoring system. The use of modern signalling equipment not only helps to improve productivity and safety but is also helpful in terms of addressing environmental concerns. The German manufacturer REMBE is a European leader in the production of pressure relief devices, explosion protection systems and the associated signalling devices. The company’s product range includes some of the most robust rupture discs and signalling systems available on the market. These solutions create significant operational added value in the chemical industry by reliably monitoring safety systems and critical pressure relief devices. In processes involving potentially harmful media, the risk of leakage can be reduced via a quick and safe shutdown. REMBE’s well-designed signalling systems comply with

Signalling NIMU (non-invasive rupture disc monitoring)

both industry-relevant standards for explosive atmospheres and the intrinsic safety standards. Highquality signal transmitters can be easily integrated into the existing control systems in order to transmit a visual or acoustic signal when the rupture disc bursts and to shut down the system if necessary. Avoiding unnecessary downtime through non-invasive signalling The NIMU (non-invasive rupture disc monitoring) signal transmitter is suitable for systems exposed to harsh operating conditions. This reusable monitoring system is explicitly designed to provide rapid notification of a burst rupture disc. The REMBE NIMU sensor does not

come into contact with the process itself, so it is not affected by harsh process conditions or corrosive media and ensures maximum tightness even for systems containing extremely corrosive chemicals. The NIMU is mounted in a blind tap in the outlet on the rupture disc holder. Thus, the signal transmitter is completely isolated from the process. Potential leakage after the rupture disc has burst is also prevented – this is essential for customers in the chemical industry where leaks cannot be tolerated. |11

November 2023 ENGINEERING


Embracing Innovation:

Tennent’s Brewery Partners with SEEPEX Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery is Scotland’s oldest brewery, tracing its roots back to the 1500s. Since its establishment in 1885, it has consistently produced award-winning brews. The brewery’s fascinating story revolves around Hugh Tennent, who defied skeptics in 1885 to create Tennent’s Lager, initially dubbed a ‘madman’s dream’ by newspapers. Today, Tennent’s Lager dominates the Scottish market, accounting for every second pint of lager consumed in the country. Upgrading Brewery Operations for Enhanced Efficiency

Improved Efficiency, Productivity, and Energy Savings

As part of their process, spent grain is transferred from two mash filters that drain the spent grain to 24%DS. Originally, the spent grain fell from the mash filters into an expeller unit from where it was conveyed over 64m with a 20m elevation to the silo. With the expeller, the grain transfer took ~90 minutes after each brew and used 1,125Nm³ of air.

Together with SEEPEX, Tennent’s explored the benefits of SEEPEX’s cutting-edge Smart Air Injection (SAI) technology. This ground-breaking solution combines an open hopper progressive cavity pump and pneumatic dense-phase conveying to efficiently transfer 15-40%DS spent grains, draff, and hops in plugs. Controlled air pulses enable seamless conveying over long distances.

Tennent’s Lager, part of leading drinks manufacturer and distributor C&C Group, is committed to a robust sustainability strategy, exemplified by ambitious carbon reduction targets. These targets aim to achieve a 35% reduction in scope 1 & 2 emissions by 2030 and have been validated by the Science Based Target initiative.

SEEPEX established the optimum operation point with minimum air consumption to reduce the original air consumption and carbon footprint, and also assessed the energy efficiency in comparison with the initial system. SEEPEX was able to calculate all the consumptions eliminating the need to carry out a trial.

In recent years Tennent’s has made significant investments in various carbon reduction projects, including carbon capture and anaerobic digestion plants. Additionally, Tennent’s has partnered with SEEPEX to improve energy efficiency in its spent grain transfer process, which is the most air intensive process on site.

A Path to Sustainability: Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund The demonstrated energy efficiency from SEEPEX Smart Air Injection (SAI) enabled Tennent’s to access the Scottish Industrial Energy Transformation Fund (SIETF), designed to support the development and deployment of technologies that enable businesses with high energy use to transition to a low carbon future. Through this, the government funded 30% of the project. Decreased Air Use and Transfer Times Air consumption has decreased by an impressive 56%, dropping from ~1,125Nm³ to 500-700Nm³ per brew. Furthermore, there is a decrease in spent grain transfer time associated with the SAI system. The reduction in air use contributes to Tennent’s carbon reduction plan by reducing electricity use within the site. Seamless Maintenance and Uninterrupted Operation

Tennent's Brewery achieves 56% air savings with SEEPEX SAI technology.


As Tennent’s embraces the future of brewing, it benefits from SEEPEX’s plannedCARE package. This comprehensive service ensures proactive, on-time planned pump maintenance, guaranteeing uninterrupted operation. This includes diagnostics to identify potential

ENGINEERING PDATE November 2023 issues, enabling planned proactive maintenance for increased uptime and lower total cost of ownership. Tennent’s commitment to innovation, efficiency, and sustainability shines through its partnership with SEEPEX. With enhanced efficiency, substantial energy savings, and a focus on seamless maintenance, Tennent’s continues to set the benchmark for excellence in the brewing industry. Join Tennent’s in improving your efficiency and success story. Contact SEEPEX today to explore our innovative pump solutions for the brewing industry and distilleries, addressing your unique pumping challenges. Tennent’s Brewery embraces innovation with SEEPEX Smart Air Injection, revolutionising spent grain transfer efficiency.

UPTIME IS EVERYTHING PLANNEDCARE FOR PROCESS CRITICAL PUMPS Ensure pump reliability with SEEPEX PlannedCare: a service designed to keep your critical pumps running smoothly, maintain pump availability and provide regular updates on your assets to prevent costly issues. y Planned maintenance prevents breakdowns

y Tailored-training for your team

y Increased uptime and productivity

y Expert pump refurbishment at our workshop

y Lower total cost of ownership Contact us for a complimentary site survey.

SEEPEX UK Ltd. | |


November 2023 ENGINEERING


Choosing the Right AODD Pump Can Help Decrease Energy Consumption AODD pumps possess the operational capabilities to optimize air usage and satisfy the tenets of the sustainable manufacturing movement. There is no aspect of human existence that can function properly or reliably without energy produced from refined crude oil, natural gas, and coal. Therefore, it is imperative that companies that rely on energy to power industrial-manufacturing operations create and implement systems that are as energy-efficient as possible, especially as energy costs continue to rise. By Tom Zuckett, AODD Business Development Manager PSG & Wilden. To aid these companies in creating both sustainable manufacturing regimes and battling increasing energy costs, several companies that supply energy through the electrical power grid have created rebate programs. Industrial companies that can demonstrate methods of operation that require less energy and more sustainability can be eligible to receive monetary refunds. Knowing this, many industries are commendably attempting to develop new manufacturing and production methods – known as ʽsustainable manufacturing’ – that are more environmentally and socially friendly. The caveat, however, is that while these methods can have long-term benefits for the future, they can also have higher upfront implementation costs. The Challenge Air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps are powered by air, and air compressors are ultimately run by electricity. Prices for a kilowatt/hour (kWh) of electricity have been significantly influenced in recent years. In 2017, the average national price for a kWh was USD $0.07. In March 2022, that price had more than doubled to an average of USD $14.47 per kWh, which was up from USD $13.33 per kWh a year earlier. The lucky residents of Montana, Oregon and North Dakota saw a decline in electricity prices from 2021 to 2022, but average costs (USD $10.03 to USD $11.01 per kWh) were still higher than 2017’s national average. On the other hand, the state of Maine had seen its average kWh price jump more than 40% to USD $23.03 per kWh in 2022, making it one of eight states – with Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island being the unfortunate others – to have a kWh average higher than 20 cents. Although this might look like a slight increase of a few pennies, these higher costs can quickly add up, not just for homes and businesses trying to stay warm in the winter, but for industrial operators that are the backbone of the global manufacturing chain. The Hydraulic Institute revealed the importance of electricity in industrial manufacturing in a study that showed industrial pumping systems can account for nearly 20% of the world’s


electricity demand and that energy consumption can be up to 90% of the total cost of owning and operating a pump. At the same time, it has been estimated that 30% to 50% of the energy that is consumed by pumps can be saved through the implementation of equipment or controlsystem upgrades. This makes pump systems an easy target for developing operational improvements that can lower energy consumption which will help optimize operating costs and create a more environmentally friendly mode of operation. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable manufacturing is designed to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the capability of future generations to meet theirs.” This can be accomplished by manufacturing products via economical means and utilizing components that reduce waste and negative environmental impacts. The claim that this altruistic mindset is being adopted by many of the world’s largest companies is backed by KPMG’s 2020 Survey of Sustainability Reporting which showed that 80% of the world’s leading companies are now reporting on sustainability efforts and are incorporating sustainability programs into day-to-day operational goals. There are six elements that must be optimized to

ENGINEERING PDATE November 2023 earlier, has been increasing in price in recent years. For example. Jim Wilden, the creator of AODD pumps, was an innovator and this mindset has been ingrained in his company’s DNA from the start. This has led to a pursuit of excellence that has resulted in a number of innovative improvements to the design and operation of AODD pumps over the years. The engineers at Wilden invented the Pro-Flo® SHIFT Air Distribution System (ADS) to help reduce the overall amount of compressed air needed to operate the pump while simultaneously optimizing the air that is used. These types of air distribution systems were not just an incremental improvement in ADS technology, it was a true game-changer, one that represented an entirely new way of looking at how pneumatic pumps operate. The inefficiency in the operation of traditional ADSs is the time delay that AODD pumps experience when pressurized air is switched from one air chamber to the other. This results in overfilling of the air chamber, with the excess air vented into the atmosphere without having any beneficial effect on the pumping process. create a reliable, sustainable-manufacturing process, and pumps that are capable of operating effectively, while contributing to at least four of the six elements: manufacturing cost, power consumption, operational safety, and environmental friendliness. In order to overcome the challenges of energy acquisition and consumption while still being able to live up to the tenets of the growing sustainable-manufacturing movement, operators of industrial-manufacturing facilities must find ways to improve their pumping systems and processes. The Solution Pumps are required pieces of equipment in many applications within a manufacturing facility, from loading and unloading raw materials and finished products to the transfer of critical fluids and waste products. While the pumping landscape is rife with different technologies, all of which must be powered through some type of energy source, AODD pumps have proven over the decades to be one of the top choices for pumping applications. AODD pumps are reciprocating, positive-displacement pumps that are driven by electricity-generated compressed air. AODD pumps are an ideal solution for many industrial liquid-handling applications because of their simple design, which simply features two diaphragms that are connected by a common shaft, two inlet ball valves and two outlet ball valves. The diaphragms are driven by compressed air, which removes mechanical stress from the pump’s operation, leading to a longer and more reliable service life. While the AODD pump’s features and benefits were an undoubted revelation when introduced to the market nearly 70 years ago, the pumps required large amounts of compressed air to operate properly. This compressed air is delivered to the pump via electricity, which, as noted

To combat overfilling, the design and operation of certain ADS equipment restrict the airflow into the air chamber near the end of each pump stroke so that only enough air is introduced to keep the pumping process functioning. The key here is the incorporation of a specialized air control spool that automatically meters the air to prevent overfilling with no reduction of product yield. The result is reduced air consumption while still maintaining maximum operational efficiency and flow rates. In fact, this air distribution system can operate reliably and efficiently with up to 60% less compressed air when compared to other AODD pump technologies while still being able to achieve flow rates that are up to 34% higher. Whether it is for an existing installation using older ADS technology or the upgrade of a pump, manufacturers and its distribution partners have developed tools and usage calculators that can provide proof that AODD pumps are more energy efficient and can be used in a sustainablemanufacturing system. Conclusion With energy costs continuing to increase and companies encouraged to make manufacturing operations more sustainable, finding the right pumping technology has never been more important. AODD pump technology has been proven to ease energy consumption and contribute to more sustainable manufacturing processes. With documented reductions in air consumption and simultaneous improvements in flow rates, implementing AODD pumps is a reliable strategy for pumping solutions many of the world’s most significant manufacturing operations can utilize. You can find more information on Wilden at and on PSG at


November 2023 ENGINEERING


Unlock Precision Monitoring and Efficiency with T&D’s TR7A Datalogger Series and Thermo App In today’s fast-evolving world of industrial processes and environmental monitoring, precision and efficiency are crucial. For those who need to navigate the complexities of data acquisition and analysis, the combined use of T&D’s TR7A data logger series and the Thermo app makes these tasks so much easier. The simplicity of T&D’s devices means they can be flexibly adapted to individual requirements for the creation of tailor-made solutions. TR7A Datalogger Series: Guardian of your data The TR7A Datalogger Series, designed by T&D, is highly effective and efficient for real-time data capture in industrial applications. It offers models like TR71A, TR72A, TR72A-S, and TR75A with various communication interfaces. It measures temperatures from -199°C to 1760°C and humidity from 0 to 99% RH, depending on the sensor type. The series can display maximum/minimum values and has upper/lower limit alarms. TR71A and TR75A have a “Vaccine Mode” meeting CDC requirements for vaccine temperature monitoring. TR75A is suitable for ultra-low and high-temperature environments with thermocouple sensor connections. Thermo App: Management and analysis made simple To complement the TR7A Series, T&D offers the Thermo App, an easy-to-use mobile application that simplifies data management and analysis. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Thermo App allows you to wirelessly access and evaluate your data in real time. Its intuitive interface also enables you to make informed decisions in the field to optimize processes and resource allocation. The T&D Thermo App allows TR7A logger users to access T&D’s free WebStorage service and enables direct wireless communication via Bluetooth between mobile devices and TR7A loggers. Another feature of the Thermo App is


the report function, which allows the user to quickly create graphs and summaries in the field and email them as PDF files. Seamless integration for ultimate efficiency What makes T&D’s solution unique is the seamless integration between the TR7A Datalogger Series and the Thermo App. Data synchronization could not be easier, providing an all-encompassing solution for the monitoring and analyzing of critical data points. Imagine effortlessly managing temperature variations in your manufacturing process to ensure optimal product quality and safety. Or how about tracking environmental conditions in a laboratory, thus guaranteeing the preservation of sensitive samples? With the TR7A Series and Thermo App in your toolbox, precision is assured. Cutting-edge Innovation In the realm of modern technology, the TR7A Datalogger Series and Thermo App by T&D are true pioneers of innovation. They equip you with the tools to embrace datadriven decision-making, enhance operational efficiency and uphold the highest quality standards. So step into an error-free future with T&D’s TR7A solutions - reliable data management that is precise, efficient and 100 per cent reliable.

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HRS takes just FIVE days to complete heat exchanger conversion project More than 40-years’ experience, combined with great teamwork, paid off earlier this year when HRS Heat Exchangers met an extremely tight deadline to convert an existing heat exchanger for a key client. The project involved a standard BEM-type heat exchanger which needed converting to make it suitable for high pressure chemical use. The unit had to be collected from the client’s site, 1,300 km away from the HRS factory in Murcia, Spain; the necessary materials had to be procured; and once the modifications were complete, the unit had to be tested and returned to the client. And all in just five working days! A BEM heat exchanger consists of a bundle of fixed tubes within an outer casing. The product passes through multiple tubes in order to maximise heat transfer, while the service fluid circulates around the tubes in the outer casing. An expansion joint allows for differences in the expansion of the tubes and the casing.

The upgrade work included modifying the heat exchanger’s 20-inch header to SCH 80S specification pipework and reinforcing the nozzles. Antonio Guillermo Jara, Sales and Process Engineer at HRS Heat Exchangers, commented: “Although the actual engineering involved in this project was relatively straightforward, the extremely tight timescale created a significant challenge. “In order to accomplish it, various functions within the HRS team had to work together, across procurement, logistics, manufacturing and quality control. The team effort was incredible and ensured the project went without a hitch – in fact, we delivered the upgraded heat exchanger to the client with four hours to spare!”

The modified heat exchanger being pressure tested

Antonio Guillermo Jara, Sales and Process Engineer at HRS Heat Exchangers


November 2023 ENGINEERING


Sprint Electric announce unveiling of landmark Generis AC regen drive at SPS Sprint Electric will unveil a new AC regeneration drive at the SPS 2023 exhibition in Nuremberg in November. The Generis AC drive is described by the company as the next generation of AC drive technology, delivering cost effective and highly reliable AC motor control combined with energy regeneration and low input current harmonics. Generis uses a unique patented switching technology that does not require a DC link. This means Generis gives full four quadrant control as standard, as well as unity power factor and minimal input current distortion. Four quadrant control removes the need for active front end drives or braking resistors, simplifying control of AC motors in complex applications. Removing the DC link in an AC drive also massively reduces harmonic distortion to the mains supply as well as improving drive efficiency. The new Generis regeneration AC drive The drive will control all AC motor types with both open loop and closed loop available to maximise “This release has been a long time in the making, and the team has worked its range of application. exceptionally hard to produce this leap in drive technology. Generis represents a new level for AC drive technology,” said Gary. Generis drives will be available from February 2024 up to 22kW with Ideally suited for traditional industries such as converting, metals, print, packaging, additional sizes being introduced presses and test rigs, Generis has been designed to simplify control without over the next three years to cover a compromising performance. Four easy to use pushbuttons can be used for commissioning with a two-line, 40-character display that entirely negates the need range up to 200kW. to keep referring to a manual. The simple setup means that Generis can be running Gary Keen, managing director at within minutes with full autotune capability to maximise motor performance and efficiency. Sprint Electric, comments: “Generis boasts simplified mechanics and does not use electrolytic capacitors, so it has no life limiting components which degrade with time and temperature. This results in exceptionally high levels of reliability as well as minimising total cost of ownership.

There will be a graphical programming software platform available which will be familiar to customers who are used to using and programming the Sprint DC drive range. This proven software platform will allow the drive to be easily connected in multiple drive networks with advanced application features that reduce the need for a PLC.

Sprint Electric has manufactured variable speed controllers since 1987, specialising in the control of DC motors. For the past five years they have been partnered with Nottingham University designing the new Generis variable speed drive to control “Constant torque and variable AC motors. torque profiles are easily selected so offering full energy efficiency Generis will be displayed for the first time on the Sprint Electric stand (Hall 4, with short payback periods. Generis 340) at the SPS exhibition, 14-16th November 2023 in Nuremberg. It will also be also includes extended frequency introduced via a series of technical presentations to be given each day of the output, a feature often sought in show. For more details, please contact Neill Drennan at Sprint Electric Ltd. constant power applications.


Efficient corrosion surveys without the need to remove coatings Cygnus 4+ Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge The Best Affordable All-Rounder • Extremely robust and simple to use • Multi-measuring modes for accurate through-coat measurements - even for heavily corroded metals • Sunlight readable display with Live A-Scan for visual verification • Data logging with Auto-Log • Deep Coat function ignores coatings up to 20mm thick •


November 2023 ENGINEERING


PULS acquires wireless charging specialist Wiferion Contactless charging and energy systems for Autonomous Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Mobile Robots (Cobot) and Industrial Trucks etaLINK Inductive power systems available from 1kW to 36kW PULS, technology and market leader in DIN-Rail power supplies, has acquired the business of wireless charging specialist Wiferion. Wiferion’s leading technology will now be further enhanced by the capabilities of PULS, a technology-driven power conversion company based in Munich with a revenue of 250 million euros in 2022. Wiferion customers will now benefit from a global presence in production and application support. The current operational Wiferion team will remain in Freiburg as the PULS Wireless business unit. PULS has taken over all existing contracts, trademark rights and patents of Wiferion but nothing will change in the operation of the business for customers. In the medium term, users will benefit from PULS’ global manufacturing capacities. With its own modern production lines in the Czech Republic, China and Germany. Large quantities of product can be produced in the highest quality and scaled up as required. In addition, PULS can procure more cost-effectively due to its purchasing volume and global sources, securing the supply chain and product life. There are great synergies between Wiferion and PULS: Both companies manufacture power electronics, where efficiency and reliability are key. Wireless power transmission is a special form of power supply where the transformer in a power supply is replaced by spatially separated coils. The similarity in technology will allow PULS developers to quickly familiarise themselves with Wiferion’s products and topologies. And since

PULS already has a strong presence in intralogistics, the wireless charging solutions are an excellent addition to the existing product portfolio and address a similar customer base. “As a pioneer, Wiferion has successfully established inductive charging for the energy supply of mobile robots and forklifts in the market and gained a leading position. With the additional capabilities of PULS, we want to make this system the global market standard and will invest significantly for this purpose,” says Bernhard Erdl, Managing Director and Owner of PULS GmbH. “PULS employs more than 100 of the best developers in the industry and has global production and sales locations that take our charging technology and scalability to a new level,” enthuses Julian Seume, former CSO of Wiferion, who together with Matthieu Ebert forms the management team of the PULS Wireless Business Unit. “In the area of new product development and application support, we are now in a much stronger position and can offer our customers an even better service.”

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ICL Boulby Upgrades Magnetic Separators ICL is making significant upgrades to their magnetic separators at their mine in North Yorkshire, England. The company has decided to replace an existing single air-cooled Overband Electromagnet with four modern ElectroMax Overband Magnets that have been designed and built by Bunting-Redditch.

electromagnetic block and transports captured ferrous metal away from the magnet face and into a separate collection area. The underground location of the Overband Magnet meant that any replacement had to be air and not oil cooled. Even the switchgear had to be oil-free. Bunting’s applications engineers assessed the project and compared new designs of air-cooled Overband Magnets with the installed unit. At a suspension height of 450mm, the new Overbands would have over double the Gauss, the unit of measurement of magnetic induction, also known as magnetic flux density. However, the Force Density Factor, which relates to the rate of change in Gauss and the ability to lift a ferrous metal part, was over four (4) times higher.

ElectroMax Plus Overband Magnet

The ElectroMax Overband Magnets are a major improvement over the previous model, providing a more efficient and effective way to separate magnetic materials from non-magnetic materials. This upgrade will help ICL improve their mining operations, resulting in higher quality minerals and a more efficient production process. Bunting-Redditch is a trusted and experienced provider of magnetic solutions, and their expertise in designing and building the ElectroMax Overband Magnets will ensure that ICL’s upgrade is a success. With this upgrade, ICL is taking a proactive approach to improving their mining operations and ensuring that they remain competitive in the marketplace. ICL Boulby is the largest employer in the East Cleveland and the North York Moors National Park and will continue to be part of the region’s economic and social landscape for decades to come. In 1968, ICL Boulby, then known as Cleveland Potash, started underground mining of potash and salt. By 2017, the mining company had mined 1 million tonnes of polyhalite at Boulby.

Bunting’s engineers concluded that the optimum solution was to install four (4) air-cooled ElectroMax-Plus Overband Magnets instead of a single large unit. Three (3) of the ElectroMax-Plus Overband Magnets would remove tramp ferrous metal on the three (3) feed conveyors, with the fourth replacing the existing Overband where the conveyors merged the material into a single stream.

ElectroMax-Plus with an armoured belt

The suspension height of all four (4) ElectroMax-Plus Overband Magnets (model EMAX-X-140) is between 400 and 450mm across a 1400mm wide conveyor belt. Each Overband weighs 3.3 tonnes and measures 950mm long, 1641mm wide (with the motor to drive the self-cleaning belt), and 764mm high. The ElectroMax Overband Magnets also feature bearing rotation sensors, belt tracking switches, and bespoke guarding.

The project to upgrade the magnetic separators at Boulby started in May 2023 when Bunting’s Technical Sales Engineer, Tom Higginbottom, undertook an onsite review of the existing installation. Material transported on three (3) feed conveyors converged onto one conveyor where the in-situ Overband Electromagnet, installed many years previously, was failing to capture some tramp ferrous metal including small bolts and heavy steel bars. The tramp metal damages processing equipment such as crushers and screens, resulting in significant repair costs and costly production downtime.

“Working closely with the engineering team at ICL Boulby and understanding the application and installation was the key to determining the best solution,” explained Tom Higginbottom, Bunting’s Technical Sales Manager.

In operation, Overband Magnets sit over conveyors to magnetically attract and remove tramp ferrous metal from the mined material. A heavy-duty rubber belt rotates around two large pulleys mounted either side of the central

Bunting-Redditch –

The order for all four (4) ElectroMax Overband Magnets was placed in September 2023 with delivery agreed for January 2024. For further information, please contact us on or visit our website:


November 2023 ENGINEERING


UK Connector manufacturer Weald Electronics reduces Carbon Footprint

63kW PV array will provide expected carbon savings of 13.9 tonnes CO2e Weald Electronics, a major UK manufacturer of electrical connectors and accessories for defence and demanding industrial applications has completed the installation of a 63kW solar PV installation at its Slinfold Lodge HQ. Working with the Brighton Energy Cooperative they received a grant towards the costs from the Community Solar Accelerator programme and were the first business applicants in their area to complete such an installation. Simon Hammerton, Managing Director of Weald Electronics, says, “We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint and achieve our environmental goals while finding ways to mitigate the ongoing cost concerns of our customers. We were very pleased to have been able to take advantage of the Community Solar Accelerator grant programme and expect our solar power installation to be a great benefit to our carbon footprint, cost base and product competitiveness. The current, exceptionally high electricity prices and predictions of further increases made us decide that this was a good time to intervene and install solar panels.” The Weald Electronics site uses energy intensive manufacturing processes and consumes a great deal of peak time electricity. For day-time business operations, the use of solar panels is a particularly attractive option as the electricity can be used as it is being generated, making cost savings on electricity that would otherwise have to be imported from the national power grid. The new PV installation means that they are now benefiting from reduced electricity bills and making carbon savings. Their South, East- and West-facing pitched roof aspects were suitable for solar panel installations, and they maximised the number of panels for these favourable elevations.


Solar Impact of the Weald Electronics Installation: • 63kW Size Solar PV array • Predicted production of electricity: 60,000 kWh per year • Energy percentage covered by solar: 50% of total electricity cost. • Predicted cost savings are expected to increase in following years with ongoing increases in the cost of electricity. • Return on Investment: 3-4 years. • Expected lifetime of the solar PV system: 25-30 years • Carbon Savings: 13.9 tonnes CO2e Hammerton continues,” We are making every effort to improve our green credentials, having already replaced 50% of our company car fleet with hybrid/fully electric vehicles and installed our first on site EV charging point for staff use.” Established in 1976, Weald Electronics is part of the privately-owned Lodge Group which includes the connector distributor FC Lane Electronics Ltd and its Autosport Division, Lane Motorsport. Weald products are available exclusively from Lane Electronics, a leading franchised distributor for many of the industry’s major electrical and optical connector manufacturers. Standard products are normally stocked for next day delivery, while non-stocked items are available with surprisingly short lead-times. For more information call +44 (0) 1403 790 661, email or visit


Flowmeter Software Driver for Chromatography Data Systems TESTA Analytical announce a powerful new software driver that allows control and collection of data from any of its AB-4XXXX Series liquid flowmeters using a chromatography data system (CDS) which supports the Agilent Technologies rapid control framework (rc.NET). Software developer – Carlo Dessy said “Including real-time flow rate data with each chromatogram is a valuable aid to achieving total quality assessment of any HPLC, UHPLC, LC/MS or GPC/SEC system. Chromatography data systems are widely used in labs around the world because they include functionality that enables timesaving in the analysis, interpretation, and reporting workflows while technical controls ensure work quality, effective records management, and enhanced data security. Easy integration and full compatibility of our flowmeters with chromatography data systems is a vital requirement for them to be routinely used with liquid chromatographs by analytical labs that need the highest level of data integrity”.

TESTA Analytical Solutions is a leading specialist supplier of liquid chromatography instruments and detectors. Drawing upon over 30 years’ experience, TESTA Analytical Solutions has established itself as a respected creator and supplier of top quality, innovative, high performance chromatography instrument kits, and detectors with OEM clients around the world.

Using the new software driver multiple flowmeters may be connected and supported on a single CDS, each connected to a USB Port. The driver supports stand-alone, networked and Client-Server configurations. Virtual servers are supported as well, as long as they meet Testa Analytical liquid flowmeter hardware requirements. The rapid control technology used by the TESTA Analytical flowmeter software driver is supported by popular CDS including Agilent Technologies OpenLab, WinGPC UniChrom and Clarity systems.

For further information on the new flowmeter software driver please click here or contact Testa Analytical Solutions on +49-30-864-24076 /


November 2023 ENGINEERING


McGinley extends NIS partnership as HS2 apprentice milestone reached in the Midlands One of the UK’s leading recruitment and support services for the infrastructure markets has extended its long-term partnership with National Infrastructure Solutions (NIS). McGinley Support Services, which sits on three labour desks on HS2, has successfully used the Wolverhamptonbased training provider to train 50 apprentices in the Midlands and is planning to double this figure over the next twelve months. The two companies have developed bespoke rail engineering operative and rail engineering technician apprenticeships that lead on to specialist training to help the individual develop and grow throughout the duration of the landmark project. Importantly, the wraparound support provided by both organisations has successfully helped attract people who traditionally do not work in the sector, with the latest intake made up of 14% females (compared to 3% nationally), 51% from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (BAME) and 6% prison leavers. “We are determined to use HS2 to change lives for the better and are passionate about opening up new opportunities for individuals who may need a second chance or may never have considered a possible career in the rail and civil engineering sector,” explained Fiona Burke, HR Director at McGinley.


Matt Wright (Operations Director at NIS) with four of the McGinley apprentices

ENGINEERING PDATE November 2023 “This vision is fast becoming a reality, especially in the Midlands where we are maximising the strategic relationship with National Infrastructure Solutions to successfully recruit over 50 apprentices and upskill 100 existing workers.”

coming through the programme and about to start. It’s especially pleasing that we have been able to use our relationships in the Midlands to get individuals from care, prison and those who have suffered mental health issues engaged and looking forward to a more positive future.”

She continued: “They share our social values and have been instrumental in helping us deliver what we have so far. Before we engaged, we were really struggling to find a training provider that offered us the pathways to get individuals ready for the apprenticeships and, importantly, the content in the courses that would give them workready skills.”

McGinley, which has recently been named as a Top 100 Apprentice Employer, will need to recruit a further 100 apprentices over the next twelve months in the Midlands as HS2 moves into the next phase.

NIS was already running employability courses to help people to move into rail and civil engineering when it was approached by McGinley Support Services to help it with the flexi-apprenticeship agency arm of its business. The initial focus was on getting the balance right between theory and practical hands-on training, so crucial to ensuring candidates pass their NVQ Level 2 and that they are ready to work on the project. Bespoke training pathways have been created, whilst National Infrastructure Solutions has been able to maximise its dedicated rail training centre in the Black Country. Davie Carns, founder of NIS, added his support: “Our sector is at a tipping point when it comes to labour, with the workforce getting older and in urgent need of new blood. That’s why the apprenticeship scheme is so important and why we need to attract people that may never have considered working in our industry.

There is also a strong focus on developing specialist training for the apprentices once they have gained their NVQ Level 2, with NIS finalising an offer around signalling and telecoms. Fiona continued: “We don’t just want a training provider that delivers the same course for everyone, we want creativity and a willingness to come up with solutions. “That’s what NIS does in abundance, whether that is helping us complete job-ready sessions in prisons, delivering confidence building sessions to help with interviews or coming up with unique content for advanced skills. “HS2 in instrumental in providing jobs in the Midlands and, when it is complete, we want to look back at the role McGinley and NIS played, and say we’ve helped positively change the lives of hundreds of people through expert training and sustainable employment opportunities.” For further information, please visit or

“The relationship with McGinley is really starting to pay dividends and we’ve got a strong pipeline of apprentices

(l-r) Zahid Stevens, Julius Condison, Louie Baggott and Salihou Sillah (all apprentices at McGinley)


November 2023 ENGINEERING


NEXT GENERATION PHOTO-CHEMICAL ETCHING PROVIDES HIGHER TRANSMISSION, IMPROVED FLOW, LONGER SERVICE LIFE, AND SYSTEM DESIGN IMPROVEMENT FOR FILTERS Karl Martinson, Director of Business Development – North America, micrometal Etching Group The next generation photo-chemical etching (PCE) process from micrometal GmbH has refined an already precise metal fabrication technology into a disruptive and game changing technology that is promoting design freedom throughout numerous industrial sectors. One such is in the design and manufacture of high transmission filter in industrial applications based around fluid flow and filtration. The unique characteristics of PCE enhanced by micrometal allow the production of very thin filters with variable hole geometries that can be varied within a single pattern, all of which enhances the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and longevity of filters used in often harsh or high pressure environments. As such, PCE has emerged as compelling process that offers advantages in terms of precision, flexibility, and reduced material waste, when compared to traditional filters made from porous ceramics, woven mesh, wire mesh, polymers, or fabric. In this article we examine the advantageous attributes of filters made using micrometal’s PCE process, and the application areas that can benefit from its use. PCE OF HIGH TRANSMISSION FILTERS The utilization of light-weight compact thin metal filters allows them to be seamlessly integrated inline within a system without the need for extensive external plumbing or additional support structures. Their lightweight and space-efficient nature make them ideal for applications where minimizing system footprint and weight is crucial, such as in aerospace or portable equipment, streamlining the overall system design and installation process. Producing thinner, lightweight high-transmission filters with improved filtration efficiency and versatility in hole patterns offers several significant advantages in industrial applications. Firstly, thinner and lighter filters reduce the overall weight and size of filtration systems, which can lead to cost savings in terms of material usage and transportation. Moreover, these filters are easier to handle, install, and replace, reducing labor and maintenance efforts. PCE is an ideal process for manufacturing hightransmission industrial filters for several compelling reasons. Firstly, it allows for precise and intricate designs with micro-scale accuracy. Intricate filter patterns and shapes can be etched onto various substrates, enabling the creation of highly efficient filters with well-defined openings. This level of precision is challenging to achieve with traditional methods and ensures that the


filters effectively capture and remove contaminants while allowing a high flow rate of fluids or gases. Thin metal filters produced through the PCE process offer exceptional strength and durability, allowing them to withstand significantly higher pressures compared to traditional filters made from woven mesh, polymers, or fabric. This strength arises from the inherent characteristics of metals like stainless steel or aluminum, which have superior mechanical properties such as high tensile strength and resilience. The precise control and etching of metal filters enable manufacturers to create filters with consistent and uniform pore sizes, ensuring that the filter material can withstand substantial pressures without compromising its structural integrity. This advantage is particularly critical in applications like the automotive sector, heavy equipment, and aerospace hydraulic systems, where filters may be exposed to extreme operating conditions and substantial fluid pressures. Thin metal filters not only offer longevity and reliability but also provide a lightweight solution, minimizing overall weight in aerospace applications and improving fuel efficiency in automotive systems. Their ability to endure high pressures while maintaining filtration efficiency makes them indispensable in these industries, where safety and performance are paramount.

ENGINEERING PDATE November 2023 micrometal’s PCE process is very different from conventional PCE processes. Uniquely, the company uses a special liquid resist system to obtain ultra-thin (2-8 micron) photoresist layers enabling a higher degree of precision in the chemical etching process. It allows the achievement of extremely small feature sizes of 25 microns, a minimum hole diameter 80% of the material thickness, and single digit micron tolerances repeatably.

The ability of micrometal’s PCE process to make filters with higher transmission rates (up to 90%) than can be achieved with woven mesh and even conventional PCE processes is advantageous because they allow for increased fluid or gas flow while maintaining effective filtration. This enhanced transmission can boost process efficiency and reduce pressure drops, ultimately leading to energy savings and improved system performance. It can also increase the filter life between changes or backflushing with obvious cost-saving results and reduced downtime. Additionally, the ability to vary hole patterns, including angled or conical through-holes, in a single filter design offers adaptability for diverse industrial needs. This versatility allows manufacturers to tailor filters to specific applications, optimizing filtration performance while minimizing production costs and inventory management complexities. PCE is also a highly repeatable and cost-effective process. Once the photo tool is created, it can be used repeatedly to produce identical filters with consistent quality, reducing production variability. Additionally, this method is well-suited for high-volume production, making it costeffective for industrial applications. The elimination of the need for intricate tooling or costly molds, as seen in other manufacturing processes, further enhances its cost efficiency. PCE offers versatility in terms of material selection. It can be applied to a wide range of materials, including metals like stainless steel, copper, and aluminum. This versatility allows manufacturers to select materials that suit the specific requirements of their industrial applications, whether it’s for chemical resistance, temperature tolerance, or other factors. Overall, the process proves to be a superior choice for producing high-transmission industrial filters due to its precision, repeatability, cost-effectiveness, and material flexibility, making it an ideal process for meeting the stringent demands of modern industrial high transmission filtration.

Traditional PCE uses relatively thick dry film resist which compromises ultimate part precision and the tolerances that are available, and it is only able to achieve 100-micron feature sizes and a minimum hole diameter of 100-200% material thickness. The micrometal PCE process enables ultra-precise contours to take shape, and as such the company can produce metal parts with unique features and a level of complexity that cannot be matched. In addition, whereas most PCE service suppliers use digital photo tooling created on films, micrometal uses photo tooling created on glass, which can achieve tolerances in the range of 1-2 microns, and negates issues with distortion due to environmental factors such as humidity that are a constant problem when using film tooling. NEXT GENERATION PCE STIMULATES INNOVATION micrometal’s PCE process allows the manufacture of thinner lightweight filters, and filters that promote higher transmission than traditionally made filters. The process also allows variable hole geometries with angled or conical through-holes which can be varied in a single pattern. SUMMARY Traditional methods of manufacturing high-transmission filters have their limitations, such as restricted precision, limited hole geometries, and material wastage. In contrast, the photochemical etching process emerges as the method of choice for creating these filters, offering superior advantages. micrometal’s next generation PCE enables the production of highly precise, lightweight filters with intricate hole patterns, capable of withstanding high pressures. This versatility and precision make photochemical etching particularly well-suited for industries like automotive, aerospace, and heavy equipment, where efficient filtration and space-saving designs are critical. Therefore, the use of photochemical etching for high-transmission filter production strongly stands as a reliable and innovative solution for modern industrial filtration needs.


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