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Charting the right course to efficiency in the marine industry

British Fluid Power Association recently published an article which collates testimonies from a number of BFPA member companies spokespeople, including Paul Prouse from Rotec Hydraulic Ltd. They consider some of the challenges associated with the effective use and maintenance of fluid power systems and related equipment within the marine sector.

One of the most challenging industry sectors for engineering sciences has to be marine, where technology must be designed and built to withstand the demanding conditions associated with the open seas. Therefore, within the fluid power and related systems and equipment industry, providers to the marine sector need to ensure their products are designed and built to be 100% fit for purpose.

Arguably the most glamorous market segment within the marine industry is superyachts. As many superyachts are based in warmer climes, such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean or Dubai, the operation and maintenance of electro-hydraulic systems should be performed with equipment that can function effectively in very high temperatures.

Concept to design

Rotec Hydraulics Limited covers both commercial and pleasure applications. Rotec provides service and installation facilities to local and national fishing fleets, as well as operating systems for fuel, fire and hydraulic services fitted to luxury yachts.

Integrated systems

Integrated systems are the present and the future within the marine sector, according to Paul Prouse, Managing Director at RotecHydraulics Ltd. He maintains that the first challenge to providing the right system is obtaining a suitably detailed specification from customers of what kind of solution they are require for their specific system requirements and then matching these requirements to a practical solution that best suits the customer and the application. “There are now so many options electro-hydraulic/pneumatic products on the market which are constantly evolving,” said Prouse. “As the customer does not always know what is available it is up to us as design engineers to keep up to date with new products on the market and where they could be integrated if suitable.”

Prouse makes the point that an electro-hydraulic system that Rotec could fit on a superyacht would have to be compact, low maintenance and aesthetically pleasing whereas the same system fitted to a fishing boat would be rugged, industrial, easily maintainable and more cost sensitive. He adds that electro-hydraulics now offers a multitude of options that Rotec can then transpose to customers to give them system information, compact hydraulic systems, control interfaces and safety functionality.

Within the bespoke luxury yacht market, Paul Prouse makes the point that time from concept to design based on the budget can be difficult to predict as there can be many factors that increase design time over the original estimation. “Customers may have been working for much longer periods (months or years) on their design concept requirements, and when it comes to our part, timescales are often short in relation to the overall project timescales,” he said. “What could be classed as R&D work for bespoke projects is not always thought about or included in project costings and timescales, which adds pressure on designers to get it perfect first time.”

Rotec’s recent collaboration on the WaveAccess project was another example of a successful application of the use of hydraulics in a testing marine environment.

“Electronic control systems incorporating electronic valve control, electro-proportional valve control and actuator positioning feedback gives us a platform from where we can now control hydraulic actuators from a remote location without the need to be near to the hydraulic components,” he said.

Read more about the WaveAccess project: http://www.rotec.net/rotec-help-develop-groundbreaking-vessel-waveaccess/

The full BFPA article, including testimonials from other hydraulic companies available at:

https://bfpa.co.uk/news/charting-the-right-course-to-efficiency-in-the-marine-industry/

Author: Sarah Gardner, BFPA

One week of work experience at Rotec

Last month, we were pleased to team up with the Kingsmead School in Wiveliscombe, Somerset, to provide a work experience for one of their pupils: Harry Alcock. Harry joined our Taunton Depot for a week, to experience first-hand how Rotec operates. Under the direction of Matt Turnbull, Rotec’s purchasing manager, Harry spent time working in the Stores, Warehouse, Electrical Bay and the office learning about Mechanical Design and Website build.

Harry was in for a Health and Safety briefing on Monday morning, before spending the afternoon with our Stores Manager, where he learned the general operational principles such as booking in/out, packing and picking. The next day, Harry was actively involved in the Stores day to day activities discussed the previous day and assisted with assembling a crate for one of Rotec’s marine customers.

On Wednesday, Harry joined the marketing department where he was introduced to website building using the popular online platform Wix. Harry chose to create a website focused on supercars and spent the day with Rotec’s marketing executive creating a working site using best marketing practices. The website Harry created is available on: https://harrysalcock03.wixsite.com/harryssupercars

Thursday morning was spent in the warehouse hose assembly with our team of engineers, wrapping hoses for our utilities customer.

Harry then joined our electrical engineering team, in the electrical bay, learning about safe working practises and some hands on electrical work.

On Friday morning, Harry was back in the office, working under the guidance of Rotec’s engineering director (pictured), who taught Harry about CAD design, before moving onto assisting the stores and the warehouse in the afternoon, with their usual Friday housekeeping tasks.

Matt, who supervised and supported Harry through-out his working experience, was impressed at Harry’s work ethic, at his ability to follow instructions and his positive attitude. We would gladly welcome Harry back anytime and we look forward to the next time we are able to support the local schools with their work placements.

 

Author: Sarka Humpolcova

Date: 2/08/2018

 

Rotec at Seawork marine exhibition 2018

Rotec was excited to be part of this year’s marine exhibition in Southampton, an event we have been returning to for over 10 years.

We shared our stand with our sister company – Ram Reman, the specialist in hydraulic cylinders who compliments Rotec’s core capabilities in the design, build, installation and maintenance of hydraulic, pneumatic and electronic systems.

This year Rotec decided to champion Parker Racor filtration products, offering 30% discount in honour of the event. Rotec and Parker have a long history of close partnership, with Rotec recently becoming the only Parker HTC (Hydraulic Technical Centre) in the South of UK. Stand Visitors could look forward to a game of ‘Can you guess where these Racor filtration elements are on our ship?’ with the chance to win small prizes, using a Parker IQAN unit incorporated into a lit up boat unit.

As always, we had a great time and we look forward to the next year!

Author: Sarka Humpolcova

Date: 15/07/2018

 

Big changes at Taunton Trade Counter

We were excited to hold a Grand Opening event at the Taunton Trade Counter last month. Tom Abell, the captain of the Somerset County Cricket team joined us to cut the ribbon to the sound of popping champagne.

The Taunton Trade counter now stocks a variety of items including Ingco Tools, pressure washers, hose and lance, blowguns, PVC hose, poly tubes, oils, o-rings, spill kits, Ambersil products, Bondloc products and much more. If the Taunton project is considered a success, the principles will be gradually applied to Stroud and Plymouth trade counters, tailored to their respective customer bases.

New Faces: read more about the recent additions to our team

Ben Foskett

What is your role? Graduate Mechanical Design Engineer

What is your background?

I studied for a degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Liverpool, graduating in July this year. Before university I went to college at Richard Huish College in Taunton, where I did my A-levels. One of the main motivations for me to study engineering was my interest in cars from a young age, and at university I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to join the university’s formula student team. This gave me the opportunity to work on the design and construction of a single-seater racing car, which we then competed against other universities.

What brought you to Rotec?

After completing my degree I moved back home to Somerset and began looking for a job. The position advertised at Rotec fitted in well with what I was looking for. Hydraulics is something that I have been interested in for a while and I was drawn to the greater variety of work at a smaller company.

Hobbies and interest:

My most long-term interest is in cars, particularly American muscle, and at university formula student took up most of my free time. I also have ambitions of learning to sail.

Role: Warehouse assistant

Previously: Apprentice trained dessert chef

Will joined Rotec Taunton almost 6 weeks ago. He is quite new to the industry, as he is an apprentice trained dessert chef turn warehouse assistant. Will had worked in catering for 6 years, before desserting (pun intended) the career path he set out on and pounced on the opportunity to join Rotec.

“The work is definitely challenging, but I am enjoying it. I hope to pass the probation period and stay with the company for the years to come’

Will used to play a lot of football, particularly six-a-side and go out a lot. Now he enjoys watching films and catching up with his mates when he gets the chance.

 
Phil O’Connor
Role: Hose Doctor, covering Cardiff, Gloucestershire and Bristol areas

Phil has over 30 years of experience of working in the hydraulic industry. His in-depth knowledge of hydraulic systems, tools and equipment is perfect for the varied role in the often challenging environment.

“I decided to join Rotec as it’s a well-known company and their reputation in this field is second to none.”
Why thank you Phil, we are pleased to have you and wish you well in your new venture!

What are your hobbies? Hobbies Classic Cars and Golf.
Derek Bowden

Role: Operations Engineer

Derek has many years of interesting experience under his belt. From maintaining rides at Butlins in Minehead, to upgrading irrigation systems in Tanzania.

Derek had worked at Rotec once before, so after taking a voluntary redundancy from his 10 years as a Maintenance Engineer turn Manager at Goodridge, he returned to his roots and applied for a position at Rotec. Derek is, once again, a credit to our team and after being part of a team working on bespoke winching systems for maintenance vehicles, he was offered a new role in operations.

Derek is currently laying a solid foundation and putting new procedures in place, ensuring smooth and safe running of all operations.

In his spare time he enjoys a game of skittles and darts, he is also skilled at DIY and loves taking his wife for holidays and weekends away in their motorhome.

Matt Turnbull

Role: Purchasing Manager

What is your background? I’ve worked within an engineering department of a large ready meals manufacturer for the last 17 years. With the last few of those years in a group procurement role, looking at the overall purchasing functions of engineering on four different sites throughout the UK.
What brought you to Rotec? I felt that I had achieved all that I possibly could within my old company and needed to increase my knowledge in a new setting – I’ve never been within a customer facing company before so when I was looking for new jobs, that was one of the main criteria that I was looking for. After meeting with the directors, the challenges that Rotec offered, and the direction they want to take the company excited me, in the end it was an easy decision.
Do you have any hobbies? No, I hate fun.

 
Mark Hoadley

Role: Warehouse Assistant

Previously: Goods in at Rexquote

Mark has only very recently joined Rotec Taunton. He has started his career as a food factory worker, gradually working his way up to a supervisory position and eventually moving onto working as a van driver, before finding his way to engineering firms and warehouse based roles.

With years of experience of working in warehouses, driving a van and 8 years as a Storeman at Rexquote, he is a valuable addition to the Taunton warehouse team.

Mark decided to join Rotec as it is a well-established local company with a good reputation. Mark relates ‘There is a lot to learn, the procedures and system is different, but Dale is a good teacher – very patient!’ he smiles.

Mark used to be a keen football and cricket player, but is now retired from active sports and he is a huge Manchester United fan!

Matthew Chinn

Role: Contract Mechanical Design Engineer

What is my background?
I have a background in electro-mechanical engineering and computer programming. I have been contracting for the last couple of years and started my own company just under a year ago. I’ve been writing code since 1988, I started getting interested in hobby electronics in 1998 and started to move towards mechanical engineering in 2008. I studied for a HNC in Electronic Engineering on day release while working as an Engineer at TDK-Lambda, before topping up my qualifications to a BSc (Hons) in Electro-Mechanical Design & Manufacture. I have a broad background in engineering, including switch-mode power supply design, writing firmware for microcontrollers, designing injection moulded plastic parts, test development and automation.

What brought me to Rotec?
I was approached by Huxley (contract recruiter) about a 10 week position at Rotec. I came to meet Richard and found Rotec to be an interesting company. I don’t have a background in hydraulics, so thought it would be an excellent opportunity to learn something new.

Do I have any hobbies?
Since starting my own business I haven’t had much time for hobbies. I like to get out into the countryside and go walking when I have the time.

Matt Bearpark

What is your role? My role is as hose doctor engineer working under the Parker hose doctor brand. Day to day I visit customers, carry out quotes for customers and carry out breakdowns /repairs to most hydraulically operated machinery, from excavators to forklifts and lorries to factory fit-outs.

What is your background?
Left college after studying construction/design after which I joined a window fitting company.
After losing my mum in 2012 my family pushed me to better myself and thus I moved to Australia where I started working for Enzed, the largest hydraulic hose company in Australia. Running a franchise van (under the Parker Hannifin brand) serving small and big customers, in the utilities, mining, offshore oil rigs sectors and a few big truck companies.
After the mining industry took a big hit in 2015 I returned to work in the UK with firstly Pirtek, and then I joined Rotec, as they offered the sort of personal development opportunity I was looking for.

My hobbies
From playing football and going to the gym, to watching motorsports and supporting the Spurs. This season I also started to train the Hamilton park under 11’s, but nothing can beat a weekend days at Crealy with my partner and stepchildren.