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Hoist & Winch elevates success of large construction project

Hoist & Winch Ltd has recently completed a challenging project for one of the UK’s biggest construction companies involved in large-scale new home development projects. Faced with a demanding and highly technical brief, Hoist & Winch rose to the task, providing a turnkey lifting system solution to ensure complete success for its client.

The requirement was to install a concrete ceiling mounted 7.5t swl (safe working load) lifting beam and manual chain hoist into the basement energy room of a large new tower block. This development is part of a large-scale prestigious regeneration project providing 5500 sustainable new homes in North London. 

At the design stage, following formal tender and contract award, Hoist & Winch set about identifying the optimal solution. Due to restricted access into the basement area, the company decided to utilise a two-piece lifting beam design with an overall length of 7m. To join the two lifting beam sections, Hoist & Winch designed a central splice joint of bolted construction with a reinforced bottom beam flange.

In order to spread the lifting loads over a greater area of the concrete ceiling slab it was decided to mount the lifting beam via four intermediate cross members, each having a four-bolt/anchor fix into the concrete ceiling at both ends. Featuring a robust bolted construction design it was possible to deliver the lifting beam to site in fully dismantled form for ease of transportation and access.

M24 resin anchors with an embedment of 255 mm into the 400 mm deep reinforced concrete slab fixed the intermediate cross members directly to the ceiling for maximum security. 

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For approval by engineers at the main contractor, Hoist & Winch submitted design drawings and calculations for the structural design of the lifting beam and loading of the resin-type ceiling anchors. 

With the design approved, Hoist & Winch could progress to manufacturing, followed by delivery to site. Using building column positions as datum points, the installation line of the lifting beam was marked out while working from scissor lifts and an aluminium scaffold tower located on the upper mezzanine floor. A surveyor’s laser line initially identified the correct lifting beam position, prior to overlaying with red chalk to ensure accuracy for the duration of the installation work.

Raising the two lifting beam sections into position required the installation of eight 1t swl hand chain blocks, with each one suspended from M16 swivel eye bolts supported from flush-mounted anchored resin inserts drilled into the concrete ceiling slab. 

Following sample pull load testing, Hoist & Winch raised each lifting beam section into position using four 1t swl hand chain blocks. To raise the lifting beams to the full height and clamp them hard against the concrete ceiling slab ready for drilling, the company used two special lifting rigs per beam section.

The first lifting beam section manoeuvred into position also included the 7.5t swl hand chain block, which was rolled on to the lifting beam at low level using a 1t swl hand chain block temporarily suspended from local steelwork. Once both lifting beams were in position, Hoist & Winch joined the two lifting beam sections using the aforementioned bolted splice plate.

Next, the company undertook ceiling slab drilling operations and resin anchor installation for all 32 ceiling anchorpoints after very carefully cleaning each hole with a special heavy-duty internal brush and suction pump. Following the specified resin curing time, Hoist & Winch could tighten each anchor bolt to the required torque levels.

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The final installation and test operation was LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) inspection of the lifting beam and manual chain hoist unit. This activity included dynamic load testing of the entire runway beam length with a 7.5t skid-mounted test load followed by 125% static proof load test in accordance with BS 2853 2011. 

“Working as a subcontractor for the company supplying and installing the plant and services in the basement energy room, we delivered an entire turnkey lifting system solution,” states Andy Allen, Director of Hoist & Winch Ltd. “At completion we provided the client with an overall project records and documentation package, before clearing all site equipment and undertaking customer handover. This project is just one of many exemplifying the meticulous, competent and professional approach that Hoist & Winch customers can expect from our highly knowledgeable team.”

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Daphne finds prime solution for primary problematical lift station



Suck it up, pressurize it and send it to the treatment plant.

In theory, this should be a straightforward job for pumps at a lift station. However, as we all know, the curse of so-called ‘flushable’ products in our sewer systems is also proving that some so-called ‘non-clogging pumps’ are getting clogged.

If you don’t have a problematical lift station in your network, you’re either lucky or have the most environmentally responsible residents in the country. Or perhaps you’ve already solved the beast of a problem with a piece of equipment that has been around for over 70 years.

As more and more maintenance teams are having to contend with, the rise in non-biodegradable products almost inevitably results in problems for wastewater lift stations. This critical piece of infrastructure is further hindered by today’s low-flow household wastewater systems that honourably save water, but allow solids to build up.

Unclogging the supposedly non-clogging pump can be a thoroughly unpleasant job, especially for example, in Daphne, Alabama, where its main lift station at Windscape was besieged with ragging issues to the point of having a vac truck there at least once per week. All part of the job, maybe, but in conscientiously trying to run the process as best as one can, burning up hours of labour can be quite demoralizing; returning to that same problematical lift station again and again and again. The fact that some of those first to complain about back-up and odours might include people who have contributed to the problem is not lost on the engineers who are doing their best to make things right.

At Daphne Utilities, the top priority is always to provide a reliable wastewater collection and treatment system that supports the needs of its community, protects the environment and quality of life for all Eastern Shore residents, and meets or surpasses all federal and state requirements. The Daphne Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) can treat up to 4.17 million gallons of wastewater per day (MGD) but has the hydraulic capacity to process up to 9 MGD. The facility serves approximately 12,000 homes/businesses and treats an average of 3 million gallons of wastewater every day. 

Extensive pipe and collection system cleaning is in place, as well as a comprehensive pre-treatment/grease management program to combat fats, oils, and grease (FOG). This includes the requirement for grease interceptor devices at all food service establishments and for car wash establishments to have sand/oil interceptors.

‘Critical part of our network’

Despite all these pro-active measures, the recurring problem at Daphne’s Windscape lift station was getting some unwanted attention from some areas of the community. Goeff Wilkins, Water Reclamation Facility Manager at Daphne Utilities, said: “We have two 88HP pumps, but were still having ragging issues. Our power source was also unreliable, so our bypass pumps would soon become clogged. Windscape is our primary lift station, which with seven others feeding into it, handles about one million gallons per day; about 1500 gallons per minute, so it’s a very critical part of our network. I know some operators choose to use chemicals to address certain issues, but with wastewater being more aggressive, we wanted to find the best, long-term pumping solution”.

Always on the look-out for technologies that will help improve the Reclamation Facility and its sewage network, Daphne Utilities had established a link with leading process equipment provider, Cahaba Water Solutions Inc., (CWS) based in Birmingham. CWS suggested trialing an EradiGator from Landia, which is based on the very same Chopper Pump design that Landia invented back in 1950. Goeff Wilkins and his key engineers had also attended two national trade shows to weigh up the best options.

‘Continuing heavy presence of non-biodegradable products’

Tim Boyne, Owner/President of Cahaba Water Solutions, Inc, commented: “Daphne Utilities continues to be proactive in addressing and solving issues in their collection systems.  However, like all utilities, there is always a pump station where there will be a continuing heavy presence of non-biodegradable products.  We felt if we could demonstrate the performance of the Landia EradiGator under these tough conditions, we could greatly reduce their operation and maintence costs at the Windscape Station, as well as reduce the potential of overflows from clogged conditions”

Goeff Wilkins continued: “At the trial, we could see the chopping and mixing of the Landia EradiGator (only 20HP), which was priced very competitively. It immediately resolved the issues in the Windscape lift station, so we had no hesitation in investing in it”.

Set up on a timer to operate for 15 minutes per hour, the Landia pump now effectively protects the two existing 88HP pumps by its chopping and mixing action; the EradiGator designed with an external knife system that prevents unpumpable solids from entering the pump’s casing.

“It does a phenomenal job,” continued Goeff. “We can really see the difference at the headworks to our facility where there is now much less debris. We’ve saved huge amounts of time by not having to pull out the clogged duty pumps or send in the vac truck. Through SCADA and from daily inspections, we still check for any signs of matting and ragging, but the Landia EradiGator doesn’t need much maintenance. It works fantastic.

“Cahaba have been very helpful in finding us such a solid yet simple long-term solution to the issue we had with our main lift station. None of our team misses having to go there all the time”.


Landia has solved numerous lift station headaches, eliminating problematic scum layers.  In addition to the EradiGator, Landia also supplies the AeriGator, which is fitted with a venturi nozzle to inject air for applications where odour problems from hydrogen sulphide is an issue. Both solutions drastically reduce maintenance time because there is no longer any clogging.

Case study: Making safety culture visible at T5 with Scafftag

How to ensure shared information on the status of the scaffold is instantly available to all employees from all parties involved in a challenging T5 project? Read the full story!

No question, the scale of the T5 project is impressive and challenging. 16 major projects and 147 sub-projects make it one of the most talked about developments in the industry. But it is not only the size of the project that has attracted so much attention. The innovative approaches to safety employed have hit the headlines too.



BAA, which owns six other major UK airports as well as Heathrow, has focused on creating a proactive safety culture across all operations. This culture is intently participative rather than prescriptive. In 2000, BAA launched its renowned “One in a Million campaign to set a challenging target for the reduction of reportable injuries. As the name suggests, the campaign involves an ongoing benchmark target of only one reportable accident per million hours worked.


As an addition at T5, it has introduced its “Incident and Injury Free (IIF) programme. The idea of IIF is to make everyone on site responsible for safety - not only their own, but their colleagues. safety too.

The ultimate objective is to create an incident free site. Achieving this culture requires a strong degree of partnership amongst suppliers working on the project.


Specified Scafftag Systems

BAA already uses a custom designed Towertag system for managing its mobile towers on all other Heathrow terminals and its other airports. However, due to the scale of the project and number of contractors involved, an even wider range of Scafftag systems is in operation on T5.

Scafftag used by all contractors

The Scafftag scaffold tagging system has been specified by the T5 project team to be used by all contractors operating the vast structures which are in place. This helps to ensure shared information on the status of the scaffold is instantly available to all employees from all parties. It means that individuals are empowered to make informed decisions about the safety of the structure. This reinforces the culture of everybody taking ownership for safety. 056BB423-C03A-4600-B9D3-82C3012C9FFB.jpeg


Safetrak improves efficiency

The Safetrak system has also been adopted at T5 to move all scaffold inspection processes into a paperless, automated format. Inspection information is electronically transferred between the equipment tagging systems and handheld computers using RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. The information is then synchronised and centralised by the Safetrak software.

Microtag adds protection

Beyond scaffolding, the Microtag system has also been specified to all T5 contractors to help control HAVS (Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome). A Microtag® is attached to portable tools subject to HAVS in order to indicate the maximum daily usage time and provide clear, up to date details of inspections.

The Microtag system is waterproof and ensures maximum durability in outdoor industrial environments. D22E73DF-DB73-4F93-A915-472C9D93DCA1.jpeg

Results that speak for themselves

BAA has invested major resources into safety on the T5 project. This has clearly paid off in noticeable results. T5s safety record is four times better than the industry average. Over 70% of the workforce believe that T5 is the safest place theyve ever worked. The statistics go on as Russell Hyam, Health, Safety and Environmental Manager for BAA, points out: Through IIF BAA has focused on shaping a positive force at T5 a safe working culture. The visibility of Scafftags systems plays a vital role in supporting this culture.

This probably goes some way to explaining why Scafftag systems have been adopted on some of the other major airports across the globe. These include Dubai International, George Bush Intercontinental (Houston, Texas), Toronto International, Melbourne International and Adelaide.

Find out more about Scafftag tagging systems >>

Scafftag – A Brady Business

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Tel 0845 089 4060



Raising the bar in challenging, large-capacity hoist installations

Supplying, installing, load testing and LOLER certifying a wide range of manual and powered hoist units, Hoist & Winch Ltd has extensive experience and expertise in all kinds of industrial lifting operations. However, certain projects require special know-how, such as the installation of large-capacity, electric-powered wire-rope hoists in challenging and restricted access applications. And yet even in these situations, Hoist & Winch has a proven methodology to ensure a high-performance, efficient, safety-certified outcome for customers.

Every hoist installation is different, and most generally present some level of challenge to overcome, typically relating to the dimensional clearances of the hoist unit or the logistics of general access conditions.

When the hoist unit’s dimensional clearances are particularly critical, Hoist & Winch Ltd carries out a detailed survey prior to manufacture, ensuring that the complete installation can perform the required tasks with sufficient operating clearance.

On some occasions, a pre-installation survey is required to check site/work area access conditions. Hoist & Winch Ltd will subsequently submit its Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) for approval by the customer prior to starting work. These documents detail the installation procedure, the equipment intended for use, and the hazards and risks associated with the various tasks. In addition, the documents will set out how it is possible to minimise or negate these risks.

A recent cement plant project involving challenging installation access conditions highlights how the capability and knowledge of Hoist & Winch Ltd proves extremely useful in delivering a successful outcome for customers.

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This complex project involved replacing an obsolete, 10-tonne SWL (safe working load), electric-powered wire-rope hoist unit with 60m lifting height. The task was required ahead of the cement production facility carrying out extensive modification work to its pre-heater tower. The pre-heater tower is 100m high and the existing hoist unit was located at the 60m level on a monorail beam that cantilevers out of the building for approximately 8m. Both the obsolete hoist unit and monorail beam had been dormant for many years, which meant that Hoist & Winch Ltd’s scope of supply included the load testing and thorough examination of not just the new wire-rope hoist unit, but also the monorail beam.

Among the first tasks was to remove the existing wire-rope hoist unit, which weighed 3 tonnes. Hoist & Winch Ltd decided to cut this down in sections using gas-burning equipment as many of the hoist parts were badly seized and not easy to dismantle in the conventional way. Initially, the company removed these sections to a specially constructed scaffold work platform located below the hoist installation area. Each piece of the obsolete hoist was then lowered further to the nearest adjacent floor level 16m below using manual chain blocks for movement to the goods lift access located at that level.

Next, Hoist & Winch Ltd had to install the new hoist (weighing 2.2 tonnes) in part dismantled form. The company eased the difficulty of this task by installing a temporary 3-tonne SWL motor trolley mounted, air-powered chain-hoist unit on the monorail beam and raising the new hoist unit the required 60 m from the outdoor ground-floor work area. Hoist & Winch Ltd took great care with the preparation of the chain-hoist unit to ensure reliability during operation as any breakdown during the critical 60m lifting operation would require special access equipment to help resolve any issues. Hoist & Winch Ltd also carried out meticulous checks on the quality, volume and pressure of the air supply.

The next task was to raise the complete new hoist unit to the 60m installation level. From there, Hoist & Winch Ltd used the 3-tonne SWL motor trolley mounted, air-powered chain-hoist unit to transport the new hoist unit into the building and over the temporary scaffold work platform.

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From this position - after first opening up the hoist unit trolley wheels wider than the monorail beam width – the company lifted the wire-rope hoist unit into position. To facilitate this task, Hoist & Winch Ltd deployed four 1-tonne SWL manual chain blocks suspended from each end of two specially fabricated lifting frames clipped into position on the top flange of the monorail beam.

The final tasks included electrical commissioning, assembling the hoist on to the monorail beam and the removal of all temporary lifting equipment. Hoist & Winch Ltd could then perform dynamic load testing of the new wire-rope hoist unit and monorail beam using a skid-mounted, certified 10-tonne test load prior to issue with a LOLER Thorough Examination report. As part of the dynamic load testing procedure, the outdoor cantilever section of the monorail beam was deflection-tested in accordance with BS2853 using a special long-range, outdoor-operation Leica laser mounted to a stable yet precisely adjustable tripod.

“Manufacturing and process plants tend to evolve over time, often compromising general access to existing hoist installations,” explains Andy Allen, Director of Hoist & Winch Ltd. “In other instances, legacy hoists fall into disuse and become obsolete. We’ve seen this on many occasions over the years, but with our in-house design, engineering and manufacturing skills, there is nothing we cannot overcome. If you are in this situation and could benefit from the input of an expert partner, please call for a no-obligation discussion about the potential solutions.”

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Long-lasting Chopper Pumps continue to go hell for leather

When Pittards, the leading leather goods producer, moved part of its manufacturing process from Leeds to Yeovil, they made very sure that its long-serving wastewater pumps went with them.

Founded back in 1826* as glove makers, Pittards transferred its dependable long-shaft chopper pumps (made by Landia), even though they were already 15 years old.

“Keeping hold of the Landia pumps was a must”, said Pittards’ Engineering Manager, Tim Copland.

“Pumps in this environment take a huge amount of punishment, dealing with grit and what can be a very slimy mass of small leather pieces that I’m sure would clog other pumps; but with Landia, we’ve never had an issue”.

At its facility in Yeovil, where Pittards makes top quality leather goods, the twin-channel 24/7 wastewater flow of 350m3 to 400m3 per day is first sent to circular tanks containing the Landia long-shaft chopper pumps, before screening, pH control, chemical correction and then to a Lamella clarifier for final separation of particles from the effluent.

In addition to fashion items such as gloves and handbags, Pittards (with a team of 120) makes performance leathers for sports and the military, treating leather from its tannery in Ethiopia with a series of lengthy softening/hardening processes to produce a wide variety of finishes, including fire resistance.

“Depending on the required finish”, added Tim Copland, “our ‘laundry-type’ process, which can require up to 24 hours, simply has to have a reliable, robust wastewater stream. Over the years, the odd lump of something like a corner part of a pallet block will somehow find its way into the drain to cause us to lift a pump out, but thankfully that doesn’t happen too often”.

‘Value for money investment’

He added: “We know that we ask an awful lot of the Landia pumps, which one has to say, are used and abused, but still continue to show what an excellent, value for money investment they’ve been. We are always vigilant of course about our discharge consent – and have a good working relationship with Wessex Water. The pumps play an important role in ensuring that we keep well within our discharge consent”.

To further prolong their lifetime, Tim explained that the long-shaft chopper pumps are swapped around every 6-12 months, with a unit always kept on standby to ensure that there is little or no interruption to the process. Pittards’ first purchase from Landia (who invented the Chopper Pump back in 1950) was in 2002. After proving its worth, four more pumps were secured in the next two years, followed by further purchases in 2019.


‘Very Good Gatekeepers’

“The Landia pumps have always been very good gatekeepers”, continued Tim Copland, “even with the slimy, clinging nature of the leather pieces, they just keep on going – and are also very easy to service. And whenever we’ve needed advice, Landia are always available on the ‘phone or in-person to help”.

At Leeds, pumps and mixers from Landia (typically 1500rpm / 7.5kW) kept solids in suspension and improved aeration, greatly enhancing the consistency of the facility’s wastewater discharge. As has been the case at Yeovil, the unique external knife system of the Landia Chopper Pump prevents solids from entering its casing; the long-shaft version of the pump more suited to the application because of the inevitable build-up of solid particles.  Cast iron has proved more than effective at Pittards, but the pumps can also be supplied in various coatings and materials, including acid-proof stainless steel. The operating range is up to 6 bar, which makes the long-shafts ideal for replacing most displacement pumps that may struggle with wastewater containing solids and hard-to handle pieces of debris.

“One of the pumps we have is over 15 years old”, said Tim. “Despite all the wear and tear, it continues to thoroughly chop and pump the particles and larger debris that we have in our wastewater. The recirculation that the pumps provide also helps keep the tanks clean. Back at Leeds there was equipment that was cast-booted in, with no viable option other than to leave it behind, but looking at life expectancy, which we can break down into a weekly cost, keeping hold of the Landia pumps was a decision that continues to prove very wise indeed”.

The Valley Center way - combining energy savings now – with total cost of ownership

At Valley Center Wastewater Treatment Plant, and at an increasing number of facilities across Kansas, the decision to buy the more expensive equipment at the outset is proving to be the most economic. Savings in long-term maintenance are important, but in the shorter term, energy savings are fundamental.

“Total cost of ownership is what we at the plant and our city council are interested in”, said Valley Center’s Utility Manager, Wade Gaylord.

“There’s always a cheap, short-term solution, but it is our duty to act in the best interests of the city and our residents to spend our budget as wisely as we can, which to me it just plain common sense”.

After being laid off from the aerospace industry during the pandemic, Wade sought employment in the wastewater sector, where he could put his university degrees in chemistry and geology to good use.

“I grew up here and later used to drive past the plant on South Sheridan and wonder what was going on in there”, he said. “After aerospace, I was prepared to travel to wherever a good career opportunity became available in the wastewater industry. But as it turned out, there just happened to be a vacancy for an operator, right here in Valley Center”.

Situated about 12 miles north of Wichita, the 0.5 MGD (million gallon per day) wastewater treatment plant (built in 1979) serves 2,700 homes. It includes an extended aeration treatment plant, plus ultraviolet disinfection treatment. Solids removal prior to discharge into the Little Arkansas River typically ranges from an impressive 97.5%-99%.

The recent failure of a mixer at Valley Center demonstrated the firm commitment that now prevails when the true cost of ownership is mapped out, only top quality, long-lasting equipment represents the best value for money.

“To be honest”, said Wade, “I didn’t really understand why the design of the existing mixer’s impeller was the way it was, but what I knew for sure was that it wasn’t very reliable – and that the cost of having it assessed and repaired was prohibitive.  The mixer (7.5HP) had been in use for 10 years, but had a seal-system that was just not user-friendly”.

Wade spoke with multiple equipment representatives, including

Fluid Equipment of Wichita, who has been evaluating and repairing wastewater systems for over half a century. After listening to how Valley Center approached its purchasing, Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment recommended a Landia submersible mixer from its portfolio that sat at the top of their price bracket, but one that is set to last for 20-25 years.

‘Look for longevity, as well as best efficiency’

“I immediately liked the Landia design”, added Wade, especially the sealing system, which protects the most important part of the mixer. We have great cohesion in our team here at Valley Center, including our Infrastructure Manager, Ron Ekstrom, who has worked here for over 20 years. When we thoroughly weighed out all the pros and cons, we saw that Landia was the most expensive purchase. However, when I presented the total cost of ownership to the city, they could see that it made by far the most sense. Our administration definitely looks for longevity, as well as best efficiency, and in 10 years’ time or less, I don’t want an operator to have to deal with the same problems that I’ve had”.

‘A better job, even though it uses much less energy’

Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment, commented: “For the wastewater industry, it is very encouraging to see a young utility manager and a city push hard for better quality equipment that will stand the test of time. With a Landia mixer, Valley Center can see that they won’t have the annoying maintenance issues that lesser designed mixers will create. And as well as lasting much longer, the mixer we recommended will also do a better job, even though it uses much less energy”.

With its backward sweeping propellers, the design of the Landia mixer ensures that rags can’t cling on and damage the seals. The protective grease hub in the propeller guards the seals, and is hard to wash away. It acts as an important first line of defence against all types of debris. The Landia seal system is well proven and eliminates immediate and expensive seal fail condition.

Jeff Ubben at Fluid Equipment pointed out that Landia can very often reuse an existing mixer manufacturer’s guiderail, so that installation can proceed without the tank having to be emptied.

So again, despite Landia appearing to initially be at the high end of the price list, a retrofit doesn’t incur anywhere near the additional costs of other designs.


‘Hadn’t seen the basin ever mixed like that before!’

“Previously”, said Wade, “we knew that the old 7.5 HP mixer was working and mixing – to some extent – but when the Landia mixer was installed, we turned it on and hadn’t seen the basin ever mixed like that before! The volume that the Landia mixer put through, mixing the basin from the bottom up, was pleasantly surprising; changing the dynamics for a much better process all round. All of this, too, with just a 4.9 HP motor! The amp draw of the Landia gear-driven mixer is lower than what we saw with other manufacturers (7 amps compared to the 10 and 12 amps of the others). On just this one mixer, running two hours on, two hours off, we are making an energy saving of $58 per week, which is over $3,000 per year. The return on investment is a no brainer”.

On the website of tomato producer Guy & Wright (established 1928), the company describes itself as: ‘being complete idiots; building our own AD plant’.

Fifteen years ago, when the first 1800m3 digester was built on the 100-acre site in Hertfordshire, England, John Jones (great grandson of Mr Guy) could be forgiven for wondering what on earth he’d taken on. As if producing hundreds of tons of top-quality tomatoes each year wasn’t enough to think about, he was now getting to grips with that very steep biogas learning curve of feedstocks, temperatures and digestates.

A decade and a half on, with a second, 7000m3 digester, no energy bills, and enough excess power to sell for the equivalent of 1500 homes, Guy & Wright are a shining example of how to survive and thrive though diversification into renewable energy.

None of us could have predicted the sudden, massive leap in energy prices that are such a challenge today, but even in the early 2000s, rising fuel costs were already a big concern for John Jones. In the heat-thirsty production of tomatoes, he knew he had to act in order to protect and develop the family business.

At first, five natural-gas-powered 115kW micro-turbines were installed to produce hot water, electricity and CO2. This process enabled Guy & Wright to apply for ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates), which at the time, allowed generators of renewable energy to sell on and receive a premium, as well as the wholesale electricity price. But with those gas prices rising steeply, Guy & Wright soon reached the point of no return, investing in a 500kW CHP (combined heat and power) engine from Edina; converting three of the five turbines to run on biogas.

The investment in carefully-sourced equipment also saw the start of what has become a long and productive relationship with Börger; best known for its rotary lobe pumps, but also makers of key farming/biogas kit.

In 2008, a Börger Multi-crusher was put into operation to reduce feedstock particles down to 8mm to enhance the AD process. One might expect there to be no shortage of waste from growing so many tomatoes, but John Jones’ son, Rob, who now runs the biogas operation, soon saw that tomato leaves were not only extremely difficult to break down, but also low in calorific value.

‘Milkshake’ consistency’

So, as the never-ending fine-tuning of the AD plant continues, locally imported waste now includes citrus fruits, potatoes, grain and cocoa powder – plus processed DAF sludge from an ice cream manufacturer. This provides liquid to help create a ‘milkshake’ consistency that the digesters will benefit from far more than a consistent supply of more solid material.

“The Börger Multi-crusher certainly proves itself as a very durable and effective piece of kit for the demands of an AD plant”, said Rob Jones. “We keep one Multi-crusher as a spare so that in any eventuality, we can keep operating – with two always on the go, plus an additional unit now on order. They work very well for us”.

Based on the proven Börger Rotary Lobe Pump, the Multi-crusher chops coarse material to ensure that downstream machines and pumps operate smoothly. The Multi-crusher homogenies mediums at throughput volumes of up to 320 m³/h / 1,400 usgpm/h. In addition to food waste, it can handle fibres, pieces of wood, plastics, membranes and textiles across a wide range of applications.

The team at Guy & Wright added: “Investing in our first CHP was a real turning point, and as we’ve grown the biogas plant, converting (covering) our old lagoon into a secondary, 7000m3 digester*, we’ve not hesitated to invest in more Multi-crushers from Börger”.

The covered lagoon at Guy & Wright produces enough gas to run two of three CHP engines – and also provides retention times of up to six months, compared to most biogas plants where it is just 30 days. Every last bit of gas is extracted”.

Guy & Wright secured another Börger Multi-crusher when it began taking in liquid animal bi-products, for which they also needed a (7.5kW) Börger pump.  Utilising this type of bi-product (via a new pasteuriser) has provided another important string to the Guy & Wright bow, enhancing biogas yields by having a feedstock with a high calorific value and also less digestate to deal with.


Two biomass boilers are also now in the fleet of machinery, providing much-needed additional heat to the nursery during winter. Hot water is stored in a buffer tank so that it can be used on demand. Guy & Wright have also become the first company in the biogas industry to take exhaust gas from a CHP and convert it into CO2 for the glasshouses.  The gas is cleaned by a special system of catalyst bricks that absorb harmful gases; leaving the resulting CO2 (which is piped into the glasshouses) at perfectly safe levels. This also aids the photosynthesis of the tomatoes, resulting in more plentiful flowers/fruits.


‘Success with new Börger Separator’

Always looking for improvements, Guy & Wright turned to Börger again to address the dwindling capacity of the plant’s open lagoon. Working together with four nearby farms, there had been problems with blockages during spreading with an umbilical system, but that’s all changed for the better now, thanks to the purchase of a Börger Bioselect Separator.

Using a purely mechanical process, liquid is separated from solids in the medium, so that nutrient-rich (PAS 110-approved at a maximum of 2mm) organic matter can go back to the land as a top-quality fertiliser.  A combination of separation machine and two Börger Rotary Lobe Pumps, the Separator is load-triggered. The feed pump only conveys the volume that the Bioselect is able to process. The high-density solids discharge pump determines the degree of thickness.

“We no longer lose capacity in our lagoon”, concluded the team at Guy & Wright.  “This is due totally to the Börger Separator, which protects it. Works an absolute treat”.



*Outside of Malaysia, the covered lagoon digester at Guy & Wright is believed to be the largest in the world.

Modern methods of optimising operations in steam boilers

In this article, Carl Knight – managing director of process steam and heat transfer specialist Fulton – looks at boiler sequencing control systems and how these intelligent controllers can optimise steam boiler installations to ensure energy efficient operation and improve boiler longevity.

Numerous processing facilities operate multiple steam boilers to meet the demands of their on-site processing equipment. However, if the steam boilers in these facilities are not optimised for efficiency, then the potential for any energy savings is not itself being fully optimised.

The use of an intelligent sequencing system for steam boiler installations provides redundancy, builds reliability and offers significant energy savings by automating start-up and shut-down procedures; controlling and optimising main steam header pressure or temperature; ensuring steam supply is controlled precisely for the required process; and balancing the load distribution across the boilers, all of which reduces extensive losses from repeated start/stop cycling of burners as much as is feasibly possible.


Steam boiler sequencing should be about more than simple on/off or start-up control. An intelligent sequencing system should also consider steam system load conditions and match this to the most efficient combination of boiler output according to process requirements.

Response to system loads and start-up times are also factors. For example, a boiler sequencing control system should be capable of monitoring when running too many or too few boilers is having a negative effect on efficiency and productivity. It should be able to monitor and pre-emptively predict a sudden surge in demand and hence boiler use by monitoring existing boiler demands, system pressures and flow rates; therefore starting/stopping boilers appropriately depending on process demand.

Additional factors include what happens in the case of boiler failure, sudden high steam loads and even lack of boiler availability due to servicing. A good sequencing system should take all these factors into consideration and manage the boiler operation automatically. With the result being that, despite the machine they are working on having just started a high-steam demand stage during its production process, the end user doesn’t notice that additional boilers had to be started.

Furthermore, benefits that can be achieved through the installation of an intelligent boiler sequencing system can include automation for start-up and shutdown of the boilers; better control of the main steam header pressure leading to more consistent pressure and therefore better steam quality (vitally important factors for sterilisation processes and accurate heat transfer rates); precisely-controlled process steam or hot water supplies; boilers operating at main header pressure or temperature and not maximum pressure or temperature; improved boiler longevity from complete load sharing; and improved fuel savings through eliminating idle time at low fire.

Suitable for up to four steam boilers, SCOPE from Fulton is a PLC-based intelligent boiler sequencing control system that optimises installations. It can be retrofitted to existing vertical and horizontal fuel-fired boiler installations, including Fulton’s own range of existing and planned products and those manufactured by other boiler OEMs.

But what about the future of boiler sequencing and the development of intelligent control systems using Cloud-based services?

Many processing facilities operate 24/7 so, to keep these facilities running consistently and efficiently, immediate action is often required and/or expected from the boiler manufacturer. By accessing its SCOPE intelligent sequencing system via Cloud-based systems, Fulton is already looking to incorporate remote accessibility for diagnostic- and service-related issues; and providing remote data for system improvements, which can be accessed by specialist engineers for diagnostics and clients for data review.

Fulton is also looking at the ability to perform certain maintenance procedures or service steam boilers remotely, no matter where in the world they are installed. This would help to reduce the environmental impact and costs associated with travel to/from site, savings that can be passed onto the client.

The future will therefore offer simple sequencing control of multiple boiler installations or a full boiler-house energy management system, accessible remotely by the manufacturer and client alike, to provide an efficient solution for everyone.

For further information on SCOPE email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call +44 (0)117 972 3322 or click

How to easily manage thousands of asset inspections | Case study

How to easily manage thousands of asset inspections | Case study

 A very large chemicals processer increased the efficiency of asset safety inspections with inspection templates and automated reporting using reliable Unitags and SafeTrak software.


A large chemical processing plant was keeping track of asset inspections on paper. With thousands of ladders, handrails and floor gratings on the list of assets that need regular safety inspection, the paper trail became exceedingly complex and time intensive to manage.

The plant was already using Unitag to communicate which assets were inspected, and deemed safe, or out of use. To keep employees safe and the facility compliant in an efficient way, a solution was needed to replace time-consuming handwritten inspection reports.

Solution: A digital asset inspection trail with SafeTrak

Scafftag proposed the SafeTrak software to replace the entire inspection paper trail with an online tool. All assets that need inspection can be set up in SafeTrak to make inspection planning and follow-up a lot more practical. Asset inspections can be planned at regular intervals, and to each type of asset a standard or custom inspection template can be linked.

In-house inspectors receive a notification on their ATEX-compliant handheld from SafeTrak and can start an asset inspection by scanning the asset’s RFID-enabled Multi-Tag from Scafftag. A pre-defined inspection template guides the inspectors in the field, and a report is shared automatically with stakeholders on inspection completion.

Assets are identified in the field with the RFID-enabled Unitag that can resist intensive cleaning processes. The tag’s RFID-chip can be programmed to link the actual field asset to its corresponding inspection history and asset details in SafeTrak.

To answer specific customer needs, Scafftag customised the flexible SafeTrak software in just 3 months. This enabled our customer to quickly and easily implement the solution in its existing inspection processes.

Results: Fast asset inspection and automated reporting

The chemicals processing plant can now inspect assets faster in a more accurate and easier way. More assets are inspected in a shorter time-span. Digital inspection reports are automatically generated and shared, and the time-consuming asset inspection paper trail is no longer needed.

Discover a wide range of tools and equipment in the free guide >>

Scafftag – A Brady Business


Ultimo’s EAM platform ensures efficient maintenance at a Swiss recycling plant

When Switzerland's second-largest waste-to-energy starts operation in 2025, Ultimo’s EAM solution is in place to enable long service lives, optimised maintenance management and enhanced collaboration.

KEBAG AG, the operator of the second-largest waste recycling plant in Switzerland, has chosen Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) platform to manage maintenance activities in its new facility, which is currently being built. The KEBAG Enova plant will use the cloud-based software solution to optimise maintenance management and collaboration around the plant, ensuring uninterrupted waste disposal and reliable production of electricity and district heating. The rollout has already begun.

KEBAG AG recycles 265,000 tons of waste per year at its existing Zuchwil site in the canton of Solothurn. The incineration plant manages waste from around 178 municipalities and over 500,000 inhabitants from Solothurn and the neighbouring canton of Bern. Its environmentally-friendly waste disposal process generates electricity and district heating for the region. Now, the company is constructing a new plant to meet these requirements even better in the future. The new KEBAG Enova waste recycling plant will have the same disposal capacity as the old facility but aims to achieve a 15 percent higher energy efficiency, allowing it to generate around 150 GWh of electricity and 140 GWh of district heating per year.

The state-of-the-art facility will start using the Ultimo cloud platform already before its expected commissioning date in 2025. Featuring innovative technologies and functionalities, the software helps optimise maintenance and servicing processes, improve cooperation between operations and maintenance personnel, and contribute to maximum plant availability.

"KEBAG Enova replaces our existing waste processing plant, which is coming to the end of its life after approximately 50 years of operation. The number of unexpected plant failures is naturally increasing, which leads to costly disruption and bottlenecks in waste disposal. The cloud-based software solution Ultimo, together with our new building, is a central building block in ensuring uninterrupted waste disposal and reliable energy generation in the future," says Remo Fahrni, Head of Maintenance, KEBAG AG.

Before the end of the year, the first users will have their Ultimo licenses and join training courses Ultimo arranges in close cooperation with KEBAG. Ultimo is expected to be used by 42 employees, who will rely on it to manage all assets, including machinery, buildings and infrastructure, and optimise and document maintenance, servicing and compliance processes.

Initially, 19 employees will have full access to all the data in Ultimo and will be able to plan, review and analyse activities. Additionally, 23 users will have limited access, allowing them to view information and create messages. They will also have access to functions for recording downtime and autonomous maintenance, shift handover, lockout/tagout, and registration of work permits and change requests. The introduction of Ultimo's HSE module for managing tasks relating to Health, Safety and Environment is planned for later this year.

"By choosing Ultimo, KEBAG is laying the foundation for achieving maximum availability, improved cooperation between the operators and the maintenance department, and the highest level of occupational safety. The early implementation is a prerequisite for a successful start to operation," says Oliver Kaiser, Sales Director, Ultimo Software Solutions.

The Ultimo cloud platform is highly customisable and offers modules for managing assets, work orders and projects, processes relating to HSE, and planning long-term maintenance management. With vital data collected and hosted in one central location, the same information is always available to everyone involved. The cloud platform and the Android and iOS apps make the data available anywhere at any time, whether on a PC, laptop, or directly on site with a mobile device. Ultimo also provides comprehensive reports and dashboards to simplify the analysis and interpretation of asset data.

To find out more, visit

Mixing matters for Eco’s sustainable solution

Comprehensive mixing of biogas digesters is playing a crucial role at one of the most dynamic and well-run food-waste-to-energy facilities in Europe.

Typically operating at more than 90% efficiency, Eco Sustainable Solutions’ plant near Dorchester in southwest England, produces biogas at an average of 140m3 per tonne of food waste, which is sourced from 60,000 domestic kerbside collections in Dorset.

Processing 42,000 tonnes of food waste per annum (posting its best performance results since opening in 2014), Eco’s two 2600m3 digesters are each fitted with Landia’s externally-mounted mixing system, comprising 18.5kW chopper pumps (invented by Landia in 1950) and venturi nozzles.

Running for just 20 minutes per hour, the mixing system’s chopper pumps benefit from a unique knife design that prevents solids from entering the casing.

Helping us improve our biogas yields by more than 10%, and keeps our team safe’

“We much prefer a mixing system that is outside the tank”, said Eco’s Operations Manager, Kieran Purkis.

“I’m really not sure why some biogas systems still require mixers to be lifted out of a tank. We are health and safety led, so it’s a no for us. It involves far too many risks. It also doesn’t make sense financially. In addition to helping us improve our biogas yields by more than 10%, another benefit of the Landia digester mixing system is that it keeps our team safe”.

The initial upswing in biogas came in 2014, when Landia was chosen for a new, second digester. As well as greatly reducing the health and safety risks, the boost in producing more biogas with consistent concentration of methane circa 58-62% saw Eco move to upgrade the equipment on its first, existing digester. Here, a rotary submerged system had been in operation, but the considerable downside of downtime became very apparent when an internal mixer broke, meaning that the digester had to be drained down to retrieve it. During days of lost production, this type of scenario can cost a biogas plant a loss of in the region of £250,000. As with all biogas digesters – even when very well managed – draining down to remove accumulated grit every two to three years is a very costly exercise in going offline.

“Since then,”, added Eco’s Kieran Purkis, “we have continuously improved our processes, and today keep fine-tuning to reach optimum levels. We have outstanding operators, whose tremendous work and pride in the plant makes it one of the very best in the business”.

He continued: “With our onsite labs, we are constantly testing, carefully balancing and maintaining levels; knowing the whole time that our digesters are being comprehensively mixed by a safe and very robust system”.

Compared to mixers that have to run 24/7, the Landia units make energy savings, and at only 20 minutes per hour operation, means far less wear and tear, greater longevity and less requirement for spare parts. Landia has also worked with Eco on modifying the inlet flange into the pumps so that the food waste feedstock goes straight to the macerating blades of the chopper pumps at the lower half of the digesters; improving the infeed with specially adapted pipework to enhance the process.

In what has become a real science at innovative Eco, half of the clean, renewable energy (12,000 MW per annum) is utilised by the neighbouring Dorchester Feed Mill; (owned by the Mole Valley famers co-operative) the first feed mill in the UK to be powered completely by renewable power. The other 50% from the 2.5 acres site is sold to the National Grid. From its nutrient-rich digestate, Eco also produces and supplies a diverse range of sustainable landscaping products that return goodness back into soils.


Having both digesters mixed properly is crucial’

Ed Johnson, Eco’s AD Manager, said: “Even when you are running a plant with relatively low solids (4-6%) as we do, effective mixing is very important.  Even a five percent rise in our production can mean an extra £200,000 in PPA (purchase power agreements). As part of our ongoing drive to maximising production and be one of the best performing plants in Europe, we have upgraded our screening, but having both digesters mixed properly is crucial. The Landia system is very good and robust. It doesn’t require rebuilds. We also have no issues in obtaining spares”.

‘No issues in eight years. Digesters completely mixed’

Eco’s Site Supervisor, Antonio Rodrigues, has been at the site near Dorchester since day one.  Together with his colleague, Filipe Evora, they said: “in eight years, the Landia digester mixing system has been brilliant. It’s a great idea. Apart from replacing a couple of solenoids, we’ve had no issues in eight years. We know that our digesters benefit from being completely mixed”.

As such a successful operation that has already recycled over 4,000,000 tonnes of organic material, it is no surprise that family-run Eco Sustainable Solutions is looking to expand with a new biogas facility to add to its plant near Dorchester.  As part of its firm ethos in providing a safer, happier and healthier working environment, mixing will continue to play an important part in the company’s firm commitment to making its processes more carbon efficient.

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