Phase One of a £1.1 million project to convert three empty industrial units into a pilot production facility has reached completion.
The Pilot Line Project is a joint venture between Swansea University and Tata Steel and comprises the construction of a cleanroom facility and associated office space. Phase One of the project comprising construction of the cleanroom facility, including two pilot production lines, reached completion in October 2012.
Phase Two, which includes the creation of associated office spaces and laboratories – designed to solve manufacturing challenges during production – will get underway hopefully during the first quarter of 2013.
Phase One of the project was implemented to provide SPECIFIC – an academic and industrial consortium led by Swansea University and Tata Steel – with a state-of-the-art class 10,000 (ISO7) cleanroom facility to house two pilot production lines. The production lines will create a range of innovative coated steel and glass products, including sheet steel, glass, polymer substrate based technologies, 350mm wide coil materials, as well as other flexible and non-flexible materials.
All of the products that will come off the production lines have been designed to revolutionise the construction industry, and will help reduce CO₂ emissions, create new jobs and helping to meet the UK’s total target of renewable energy by 2020.
John Weaver Contractors is the main contractor on the scheme, whilst Greenbuild Consult is the lead consultant.
Work began on Phase One of the project in July 2012. The pilot line is housed below a steel frame, concrete mezzanine floor and surrounded by stud partitions, plasterboard walls and viewing panels.
Commenting on the construction of the cleanroom, Greenbuild Consult Company Director, Jonathan Ridd, said:
“The production line is designed to create a coating on the sheet metal that can harvest electricity and produce heat which in turn will have energy saving benefits. This is a pilot scheme, but if it works in the way that it is designed to, then the next step will be to put this small scale operation into large scale production.
“During Phase One of the project we fitted out two industrial units and constructed an industrial cleanroom environment class 10,000 (ISO7). The project has a large electrical distribution board and this has been included to facilitate the required amount of incoming supply that is being brought into the building in order to run the pilot production line.
“One of the main aspects of the work was completing the mechanical installation works on the cleanroom which were very important and a large part of the first phase. We employed a specialist contractor to install the fan filters and the mechanical equipment and this aided us in creating a facility of such a high classification.
With Phase One of the project now complete, site staff are now looking towards the second phase of the project in order to complete the pilot scheme.
Commenting on the completion of Phase One, Jonathan said:
“Due to the nature of the project, trying to create an industrial environment such as this produced many challenges. The mechanical systems had to be integrated into the construction programme of the cleanroom; which required careful planning and attention to detail in order to bring everything together. This coordinated approach ensured no major problems were encountered. The main contractor and their sub- contractors work extremely hard to meet a very tight programme.”
“We became involved with the project as it falls within the remit of the work we undertake. Greenbuild Consult is a Sustainable Construction Consultancy offering practical services to enable clients to identify the benefits of incorporating sustainable and environmentally friendly practices into the construction of their projects.
“Greenbuild specialise in undertaking environmental assessments of new buildings, under the BREEAM umbrella. What attracted us to the pilot line project was its great potential to make buildings far more sustainable than they have been before; this is an area we have a passion for and we are excited to have been involved in such a project.
“The creation of this facility is the next step in innovation for the steel coatings industry and we believe this will drive sustainability forward, defining new ways in which energy can be produced.”