Professional Polishing Services, which has created three new jobs in the last 12 months, has tapped into funding and advice from the University of Birmingham’s ATETA programme to develop a digital process that will help it identify thousands of pounds of savings on energy costs.
The project has involved mapping out the manufacturing flow and installing high-end data logging sensors in key places to monitor real-time power consumption of industrial equipment.
Several variables, including type of material and speed of job, are factored into the equation to provide robust calculations that work out PPS’ carbon footprint and identify where savings can be made.
The Smethwick-based company is not looking to keep this IP to itself, instead it is planning to roll-out the calculator to the rest of the finishing sector in a bid to help industry move towards Net Zero.
As a SME, it’s sometimes difficult to make the time or spare the money for non-core activities. That’s why tapping into the ATETA programme and all the academic expertise that came with it was a no-brainer and has resulted in such impressive progress.”Kirsty Davies-Chinnock
Kirsty Davies-Chinnock, managing director of PPS, said: “Our bespoke stainless steel and non-ferrous polishing services are energy intensive, so it made perfect sense for us to look at how we could monitor costs – especially with prices going through the roof.
“As a SME, it’s sometimes difficult to make the time or spare the money for non-core activities. That’s why tapping into the ATETA programme and all the academic expertise that came with it was a no-brainer and has resulted in such impressive progress.”
She continued: “We now have a carbon calculator that can instantly work out the footprint of each of the jobs we put on our lines, and this is fantastic information to have. It gives our production team the opportunity to look at how we save energy, making us more competitive in the process.
“The next step will be to roll this out to the rest of our sector and we’re already talking to the university and our competitors to see exactly how we do this.”
PPS works with a client base that spans the world, with its efforts seen as far afield as Hong Kong and Australia.
The company’s reputation for quality – all processes are governed by ISO 9001:2015 – and its commitment to fast lead times has seen it grow sales by £500,000 since Covid-19, taking it to £2m by the financial year-end.
Its strategy focuses on combining investment in the best equipment and the best people with a desire to tap into the knowledge of local Universities, already taking on two interns from WMG to improve manufacturing efficiencies and process flow.
“Although there are many companies conducting carbon accounting projects, the service provided is usually high-level information and delivers an understanding of what the firm’s legal requirements are…the ATETA project is much more than that,” added Sureena Sohal, project manager at the University of Birmingham.
“The carbon footprint calculator is for specific industries/processes and takes a much deeper dive into the data and, importantly, how manufacturers can offset some of the findings. It’s a very powerful weapon in the fight against emissions.”
Kirsty concluded: “It has been a very strong 12 months for PPS and we’re really benefitting from the investment in the additional polishing line. If we can manage our energy costs going forward, whilst moving towards Net Zero, then we’ll be in a good position to attract new opportunities.”