Co Down firm drums up business in Cork with unique filter
An industrial drum manufactured by a small engineering firm in Co Down was last night making its way to Cork where it will be used by a pharmaceutical company.
Staff at CCP Gransden in Ballygowan, whose customers also include Bombardier, yesterday loaded up the 50 square metre rotary drum before it began the long journey to Cork under escort.
The machine is travelling on two articulated lorries overnight to avoid traffic and congestion. While it is a wide load it is just under police escort regulations.
In winning the £750,000 business with the unnamed pharma company, CCP Gransden, which employs around 20 people on Moss Road, beat bids from Spanish and American companies.
The drum, complete with vacuum filter, took a year to make and is made in composite material GRP to a high specification of resistance as it will be used to filter a corrosive slurry which burns into most other engineering metals, including stainless steel.
It's understood to be the biggest filter designed and built in GRP in the world.
Engineering manager Robert McConnell said the firm, which dates back to the shipbuilding and repair industry of the 1890s, uses composites in much of its work.
"We manufacture extensively using composites and plastics.
"We have significant experience using advanced materials, having used vinyl ester epoxy resins and thermoplastics over a number of years, especially in large scale corrosive applications."
He said the company hopes to join the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE), a technology hub in east Belfast for the research and development of advanced engineering and advanced material technologies.
The order for the rotary drum had followed up to 30 years of working with the Cork company.
He said: "The relationship was started by doing small repairs and maintenance between 20 and 30 years previous and has built steadily over that time."
Mr McConnell said other company orders included 3D design, prototyping and custom mouldings.
"We also undertake composite repairs and inspections and have done work for the likes of Bombardier locally. We undertake a range of projects for customers north and south."
He said the business was constantly investigating better ways of doing things.
"We are committed to the continuous development of our processes and abilities and keep ourselves up-to-date with new materials and processes in the industry.
"We've been involved in collaborative projects and research. An associated company has also provided composite reinforced solutions for the Olympics 2012 and the G8 Conference."