22 October, 2017

Atlas Copco opens custom engineering workshop

01 February, 2015

Atlas Copco’s Systems Hemel Hempstead custom engineering workshop was officially opened in January following the completion of a £680,000 (€870,000) upgrade. The workshop at Systems Hemel Hempstead – one of Atlas Copco’s six global competence centres that design and assemble bespoke compressed air and nitrogen generation packages primarily for the oil and gas industry – has more than doubled in size and been equipped with a range of new facilities in order to meet growing international demand for its services. Visiting the UK to open the expanded workshop at Systems Hemel Hempstead, Nico Delvaux, president of Compressor Technique at Atlas Copco, said: “As one of the first competence centres in our global Systems network, the Hemel Hempstead site was established in 1972 to serve customers operating in the North Sea but, since beginning to fulfil orders from oil and gas operators internationally in 2008, this facility has taken on even greater importance and the investment we have made is a testament to that. Today we have a custom engineering competence centre with staff, expertise, products and capabilities that are truly world-class. This will help us meet the long-term needs of the oil and gas industry and other industries for many years to come.” Expanded floor space The upgrade of the workshop in Hemel Hempstead has seen the total floor area expanded from its original 850m2 to 1950m2. A new mezzanine level has been built above a section of the workshop to accommodate, alongside some new offices, a dedicated viewing area for customers to witness product testing. An external 12m x 15m covered test area has also been built, adding a valuable additional space for testing large engineered packages in any weather. These packages can now be moved around in the workshop more easily thanks to the provision of two new 5-tonne cranes, trackways and controls, which complement three existing cranes. These additions increase working capacity and throughput, shortening lead times to the customer. The fluctuating man hours required to handle this type of work is done using a core of 45 Atlas Copco employees, with some work sub-contracted when necessary to handle peak demands. This represents approximately 20 more employees than a decade ago. Paul Frost, manager of Systems Hemel Hempstead, explained that, in addition to the new cranes, Atlas Copco has also renewed the paint facility, the grit blast facility and added a brand-new external facility where we air-cooled machines can be tested in the outdoor environment whilst also protecting the workforce from the elements. “We now do everything on site; we design, assemble, test, pack and deliver from Hemel Hempstead,” he said, adding that the company is proud to be investing in this local competence centre for custom engineered compressed air and nitrogen packages. 'Plug and play’ The majority of Systems Hemel Hempstead’s end products are modular ‘plug and play’ packaged solutions, custom-built and shipped with all components, such as compressors, dryers, filters, air receivers, nitrogen generators, instrumentation and control systems, on a single base frame for integration with land-based or offshore process installations. Frost explained: “Each project is different because customer requirements tend to be unique for the intended environment. We have recently supplied compressor packages which must operate in a range of temperatures from -40degC to +45degC in Russia and to an oil company in the Middle East where reliable operation at +55degC is required to withstand regular sand storms.” Bespoke solutions As the most technically advanced of Atlas Copco’s six strategically located custom engineering competence centres, the Systems Hemel Hempstead workshop plays a major role in the supply of bespoke solutions across the globe meeting the needs of demanding applications within the worldwide energy, industrial power, pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical markets.





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