Back to BAU - and here to help you
Posted on 26th May 2020 at 17:07
As the Government unveils its plans to get the United Kingdom gradually out of lockdown, we’re proud to be at the forefront of efforts to get our country moving again, safely.
As we’ve reported in previous [blogs], we’ve been working closely with our valued clients – many of which provide vital services and supplies – to help them continue operating during this historic pandemic. As such, we welcomed the fresh Government guidance issued last Sunday, which provides us with more detailed guidance about the steps we need to take to be ‘Covid Secure’ and keep our team and our clients safe.
We’re pleased to see the official advice chimes with solutions we’ve already started to implement. For example, we’ve been testing a new shift system over the past week with our longstanding trawler building client, Parkol Marine Engineering. This has worked so well in enabling our teams to observe social distancing in order to continue getting boats ready to serve the UK food industry, we've now expanded it to Parkol’s second, Middlesbrough, shipyard on Monday.
We’ve also introduced additional hygiene measures both in our own factory and at client sited like Parkol’s, to get our teams back to work, in a safe way.
This means that, thankfully, when Middlesbrough opens we will have 90 per cent of our team working full-time again – while allowing those who are clinically vulnerable to stay at home and keep safe.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to clients like Parkol who are working proactively with us to help ensure the most positive outcome possible for all our companies, staff and clients. It’s at time like these that the strong and positive relationships we are committed to building really come to the fore and it’s by working together collaboratively in this way that we’ll thrive through the other side of this crisis.
Our specific services include custom builds of LV switchboards, motor control centres, consoles, control panels and starters; control system design, build and installation; electrical testing and commissioning; primary and secondary current injection; portable appliance testing; 24-hour repair service and planned and reactive maintenance.
If you have an urgent electrical installation or repair you need our help with, you can contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and (01482) 225080 and we will aim to turn your job around to the highest quality, in the fastest possible timeframe. We can also help with mechanical motor breakdowns via our Humber Rewind armature winding sister company.
Latest in a long line of innovations
And this is not our first collaboration with this forward-thinking business, based in Keyingham.
Three years ago, we helped to install three new combined heat and power (CHP) units, to help Mill Nurseries in their quest to heat their glasshouses as sustainably as possible. These replaced 10 old and tired 1.5 megawatt units with the latest, most energy-efficient technology in the form of three 2.5 megawatt generators.
“The glasshouse industry uses a lot of energy,” explained Hermanus de Lang, who owns and runs the business with his two brothers and sister, “especially for growing plants like tomatoes which have their origins in tropical climates like South America and need lots of heat. We need to keep our greenhouses at a steady 19 or 20-degree temperature, which is why we decided to install CHP units.”
These are basically large gas-fired engines which generate enough electricity and hot water to heat the glasshouses, exporting what isn’t used to the National Grid.
Not only that, but the flue gases they generate, which would otherwise go off into the atmosphere, adding to CO2 emissions, are diverted back into the greenhouses to again help their plants thrive.
For this project, Pearson Electrical worked alongside the manufacturers to install the state-of-the-art equipment for the three new generators. We also disconnected and removed the old units and re-routed and connected the necessary 11 kilovolt cabling. In addition, we had to modify the monitoring and control system that supports the equipment and notifies the Mill Nurseries team of the status of the CHP generators.
The CHP unit provides around 50 per cent of Mill Nurseries’ heating needs, and they take their other 50 per cent from a straw-fired biomass boiler which they installed around six years ago. This uses waste wheat straw from local farmers to create a completely renewable form of energy for their greenhouses. We were also entrusted with the full installation of this relatively new technology, including control systems and cabling.
Helping Mill Nurseries to look after the environment
Growing is a competitive game in a world where food production is having to keep pace with an ever-increasing population, and Mill Nurseries, which now employs over 100 people, have had to strive to stay one step ahead throughout their half a century-plus in operation.
Mill Nurseries’ water, too, comes from sustainable sources. “We collect all of our rainwater run-offs from the roofs of our greenhouses, and this all goes into a 12 million-gallon reservoir we built on site, which makes us around three-quarters self-sufficient for our water,” continued Hermanus.
They were the first UK tomato growers, in the early 2000s, to install fully automatic thermal screen covers in their greenhouses, designed to reduce their heat input requirements by 25 per cent during the winter months with the added benefit of creating a better summer glasshouse environment through the shading effect of the screens.
The sheets of glass in the roofs of the new greenhouses will be significantly bigger, further minimising light obstruction and shadow from the aluminium bars used to contain them, for optimum growing efficiency.
And their sustainable growing methods also include adopting endangered bumblebees to propagate the thousands of tomato plants which stretch as far as the eye can see within their vast greenhouses.
Pest control is also done organically. “Tomatoes, like other crops, can be prey to a variety of pests, like whiteflies and leaf miners. An entomologist visits us every week during the eight-month long harvesting season to advise and provide insects like spiders to help target the pests where needs be,” added Hermanus.
A rich heritage
Hermanus’ father Gerrit set up Mill Nurseries on a smaller plot across the road from where it is now, after migrating to the UK from Holland in the 1950s. He started off growing lettuces, chrysanthemums and tomatoes in the soil.
“Ironically, given that’s where our dad hailed from, we keep a close eye on what’s coming out of Holland, which is seen very much as the centre of horticulture around the world,” added Hermanus.
“That’s where a lot of the latest innovations in growing stem from, including environmental control sensors to maximise the potential of every plant.
“Dad was a first-generation grower but spotted an opportunity to do in the UK what had been done in Holland for many years. He arrived in the UK with nothing in his pockets, no possessions or even a suitcase and not even able to speak the language.
“He started to build the business through sheer grit and determination, and just not being prepared to take ‘no’ for an answer. We’re extremely proud of what he achieved.”
Throughout the past 20 years, as well as working on Mill Nurseries’ new installations, we have looked after the certification and periodic testing of all their electrical equipment, as well as being on hand to deal with any unanticipated problems.
“While we have the ability to manually control our systems, they spend most of their lives on auto,” explained Hermanus.
“Everything has to be fully optimised, well planned and fail-safe because the slightest glitch can result in thousands of plants being potentially ruined.
“Owner Mark Pearson and his team have shared our journey so far with us. I’ve always found him and his Pearson Electrical company to be very supportive of our needs and very responsive whenever we have a breakdown, providing a level of capability and service we can trust.
“They offer a depth of knowledge and expertise which is head and shoulders above other electrical companies, giving us utter confidence every step of the way.”
If you would like our help with an industrial electrical project or problem, don’t hesitate to contact us via email@example.com or (01482) 225080.
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