Atlas Copco Compressors unveiled its newly refurbished custom engineering workshop at the company’s UK headquarters in Hemel Hempstead on Tuesday, where the site manager said orders had not been impacted by the oil price drop.
Speaking at the official opening, division manager Paul Frost said the new workshop would strengthen Atlas Copco’s "world class" credentials. Frost said the company already has several orders on hand for delivery between 2015 and early 2016, including two from the Middle East – one of which is worth £30m.
Renovation of the workshop, where Atlas Copco’s bespoke modular ‘plug and play’ compressors and skid packages are designed and built, includes the total floor size being expanded from 850m2 to 1950m2; a new mezzanine level added as a viewing area for customers; and an external 12m by 15m tented area for testing compressors in all weather conditions, along side a permanently installed 1,000kVA generator to provide power for workshop testing at 50 or 60 Hz.
The refit was commissioned in 2013 and is part of a £1m investment into the whole UK site.
Senior Vice President for Atlas Copco compressor technique division Nico Delvaux flew in from Belgium, along with president of oil-free air division Chris Lybaert, especially for the opening. Delvaux said the facility would help Atlas Copco meet the long-term needs of the oil and gas industry, adding that the compressor technique division of Atlas Copco had a 4.5bn euro turnover.
Delvaux added that around 3%of the compressor division’s turnover is invested in R&D every year.
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The UK workshop, which is one of six globally, was originally opened in 1972 specifically to service the UK North Sea. Since then its customer base has grown to 50/50 UK and international customers.
Frost said South Korea has been a "big player" for Atlas Copco. He added: "With the North Sea winding down, logically we will see our overseas outreach increasing."
Some of AtlasCopco’s international projects were on display in the workshop on Tuesday. This included a 50 ton oil-free compressor destined for the Shah Deniz offshore project in Azerbaijan.
Frost also spoke of four oil-free water cooled compressors, one duplex twin tower heatless dryer with multiple compressors running together and a seawater to freshwater cooling skid that the workshop delivered to an offshore project in the Caspian Sea.
Other additions to the Hemel Hempstead workshop include two new 5 tonne cranes, trackways and controls to move compressor packages around more easily and two new modern spray paint booths to replace a previous single unit, as well as new grit blast facility.