As it draws to a close, we hope you’ve had an excellent 2022, and thank you for your custom and support during the year. It has certainly been challenging but successful. We are looking forward to more of the same in 2023 and wish the same for you.
Over the coming Christmas and New Year period, our hours of business reflect local custom and practice, so are different in different countries. We will be closed for business at the following times:
Abingdon, UK from 23rd December 2022 until 3rd January 2023, times to be confirmed.
Dubai, UAE No changes to usual office hours
Mumbai, India No changes to usual office hours
Singapore Closed 26th December 2022
USA Closed 23rd December – 26th December and then the 30th of December – 2nd January.
The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has announced that the number of women moving into engineering professions is increasing and with it bringing ‘crucial’ skills needed to tackle major challenges. Women now make up 16.5% of the UK’s engineering workforce compared to just 10.5% in 2010. The number of women working in engineering roles has risen to 936,000 from 562,000, according to research carried out by EngineeringUK. On a global scale, women make up only 28% of all engineering graduates.
For International Women in Engineering Day this year we have asked a member of our Research and Development (R&D), Trainee Software Engineer, Neha Singh from our team in India to tell us about her role here at Crowcon and her views on the importance of encouraging more women to get into engineering.
When did you realise you wanted to get into engineering?
In my childhood, I used to read in newspapers about people clearing engineering exams and getting into it, and that inspired me a lot, and became my dream. Since then, I have always wanted to be an engineer.
Tell us about what you do. What does your day-to-day look like?
I am a software engineer at Crowcon, and I have been working at the company for more than 3 years. I work on software development. A typical day at work involves solving problems, developing new features, and learning new technologies.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
There’s no “difficult” part as such, solving complicated tasks has both ups and downs. If we solve it, we learn, and even if can’t solve, we learn, and that’s the best thing.
What do you like most about your job?
The best part is being able to solve the many challenges that come in the way of a project that I’m working on. This is through the digitalisation of our portable products.
Was it difficult for you, (especially as a woman), to get into engineering?
No, it wasn’t. I was fortunate to being supported by my wonderful parents, who always stood by me and helped me in achieving what I wanted to become.
Women now make up 16.5% of the UK’s engineering workforce compared to just 10.5% in 2010. On a global scale, women make up only 28% of all engineering graduates. Why is it important for women to pursue careers in engineering?
Women are doing good in all aspects of life, and it’s good to see more and more women joining science and engineering, and I am confident that this number is going to increase a lot in years to come.
What advice do you have for women students who are considering the profession or women currently working in engineering?
You are awesome, keep rising and keep up the good work!
When the UK government announced, in March 2021, that £1 billion of already-allocated funds would be redirected to projects designed to reduce greenhouse gases, the energy sector sat up and listened. And with good reason – as it turned out, £171 million will be allocated to an industrial decarbonisation plan that focuses on hydrogen gas generation and carbon capture and storage technologies.
However, the news extended beyond green energy production and is relevant to domestic and industrial HVAC applications. In a gesture that reflects the role HVAC engineers and manufacturers can play in sustainability, more than £900 million will be spent upgrading public buildings, like schools and hospitals, with greener fittings such as heat pumps, solar panels and insulation, which will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
But where does this leave the individual households and business units that many HVAC staff visit daily? That is a question that several commentators have asked, and it seems that – for now at least – the main drive to reduce the environmental impact of privately-owned heating and plumbing systems will continue to come from the manufacturers, engineers and installers working in the HVAC sector.
And that’s quite a responsibility. According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2020, there were approximately 27.8 million households in the UK; government statistics from 2019 indicate that around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK (specifically of carbon dioxide, along with methane, F gases and nitrous oxide) came from those residential settings. That’s a lot of excess CO2 to clean up.
So, what can HVAC people do to help decarbonisation?
If they have decent equipment, heating engineers and plumbers can help to reduce that figure by 15%. For example, they are well placed to measure CO2 and other greenhouse gases: while most flue gas analysers will measure CO2, some can also measure NO/NOx (for example, the Sprint Pro 5 and Sprint Pro 6) well.
A flue gas analyser that gives a wide range of easy-to-read and interprets measurements allows engineers to see when appliances are not working correctly and whether an upgrade (for example, to a government-subsidised heat pump) might be in order.
This is a pressing need: many households hang onto appliances for as long as possible, even though older appliances tend to be much less environmentally friendly than their modern counterparts. This is bad enough for the environment, but using a malfunctioning older appliance is the worst of all possible outcomes.
A good flue gas analyser will provide the readings required to convince many customers to decarbonise their homes or businesses more effectively. It will also allow the engineer to fix many problems in more modern and efficient appliances, bringing them back to their original operating standards and protecting the planet once more.
Helping to reach net zero
In late 2021, the UK government set out its plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and every heating engineer in the country has a part to play in that project. While checking flue gases may be an everyday event for many HVAC engineers, the fact remains that household and business emissions account for a substantial proportion of CO2 output and emissions of other dangerous gases. While persuading a single household to operate with lower carbon emissions may not seem like a big deal, the impact can be very substantial when this is scaled up across the country.
In the UK we are marking Mental Health Awareness Week as well as the month-long observance in the US, we’re reminded that with society changing at a fast pace new norms arise, such as working from home. Many of us try to adapt to both home and hybrid working while building and maintaining both work and personal connections. However, 1 in 5 people are experiencing loneliness. We all get affected by loneliness at one time or another. It can be a driver for and/or a product of poor mental health. Although Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, this week aims to promote reaching out to a friend, family member or colleague and reflecting on your own wellbeing too.
At Crowcon, we are focused on looking after our people, and have put in place programmes and resources to help them feel safe, healthy, and fulfilled. This includes our company employee assistance programme, which provides a range of methods of support and advice.
Crowcon is playing a part in providing an environment that supports and nurtures our people. From mental health first aiders to walking challenges, we try to ensure that our people are supported and feel connected where they work.
There are lots of advice and support to help you on your way:
Point safety Ltd is one of the UK’s leading gas safety consultants with 20 years of experience, knowledge and background in the instrumentation industry. Founded in 2011, it specialises in sectors such as oil and gas, pharmaceutical, utilities and telecommunication, providing a range of industries, supplying, installing and maintaining bespoke solutions and the service and supply of test equipment. Point Safety provide constancy to their customers as they believe that there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ nor does one solution have to be ‘fit for purpose.
Views on Gas Detection
Portable gas detection is an essential piece of equipment when detecting toxic or explosive gasses and measuring gas concentration. Point Safety puts customers at the forefront of gas detection; they believe that it protects their customers’ plants and processes and, more importantly, helps prevent injury, thereby helping to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of its workers.
Through the supply and support of Crowcon, our portable instruments allow Point Safety’s customers to have the freedom to have reliable, efficient service with the confidence and knowledge that the equipment being provided allows for the protection of workers and their employees. Therefore, turnaround is important to Point Safety; ensuring a quick and effective service turnaround for all units is essential, ensuring minimal downtime and increased customer satisfaction.
As Point Safety provide the supply, installation and maintenance of the bespoke solutions, the implementation and servicing of their fixed systems that are provided nationwide are vital to their customers. Point Safety are confident that the continuous monitoring of these systems ensures that our customers’ and their employees’ lives are safe and that of their surroundings.
Working with Crowcon
Through continuous communication of knowledge and expertise with Point Safety, our partnership will allow for the supply of gas detection instruments to ensure the safety of those working within the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, utilities and telecommunication industries.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Point Safety, now a trusted partner in the North. Point Safety offers outstanding service to our end-users and is extremely knowledgeable on Crowcon products” – Katherine Winter, Northern Account Manager. Our partnership, Point Safety, allows for the distributors of Crowcon products throughout the UK in portable and fixed gas detectors/systems. Our partnership has also enabled Point Safety to become a Crowcon calibration site, with all its engineers fully trained and certified to Crowcon standards. “Point Safety Ltd are extremely proud to be associated with Crowcon, the leaders in gas detection systems, not only in the UK but worldwide. Their expertise, knowledge, first-class product range, and total support is second to none.” – Dawn Beever, Head of Sales and Marketing.
The Safety Distribution Industry has transformed a great deal in the last few years, as companies rely more on the use of the Internet to gather information about products, applications and pricing.
Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Glasgow, Frontline Safety is a global supplier of gas detection, environmental monitoring and occupational safety equipment. Frontline has over 30 years of experience in the service of gas detection systems, providing tailored support working with individuals and organisations of varying degrees and sizes across various sectors, including oil and gas, energy, general process, chemical, pharmaceutical, and environmental.
Views on Gas Detection
Due to industrial environments having the possibility to house a range of gases for commercial production purposes, a variety of gas detectors may be required, including both portable, multi-gas detectors and fixed detectors, both being an essential part of health and safety requirements. Therefore, providing the most appropriate equipment and service that will meet both the needs of the customer and HSE requirements.
Working with Crowcon
“As Gas detectors are at the forefront of Frontline Safety’s product offering, our partnership allows Frontline to provide the highest quality possible. Our Partnership with Crowcon allows us to give our customers access to a well-recognised brand. Their extensive gas detection range complements our existing product range and enables us to produce the required equipment to reduce injury to workers within the oil and gas, energy, general process, chemical, pharmaceutical, and environmental industries as well as helping the environment.”As a Crowcon partner, Frontline Safety UK is fully trained and authorised in the use, calibration, servicing, and repair of Crowcon equipment.
Established in February 2021 Bence Plumbing & Heating dedicated to Bathroom, Plumbing and Heating is part of the Bence Group, Gloucestershire’s leading Independent Builders Merchant, established in Cheltenham in 1854. Bence Plumbing & Heating serves all customers plumbing and heating needs, with daily deliveries in Gloucestershire and access to a huge range of products from our main depot in Cheltenham. Bence provide a personal touch, bespoke service with a vast knowledge of the bathroom, plumbing and heating sector.
Partnership with Crowcon
We are delighted to be working with Bence Plumbing & Heating to provide Anton by Crowcon. This partnership will work hand in hand with Bence’s current customer database already present from over 160 years business trading. Bence Plumbing & Heating will also become a drop-in centre for servicing. Allowing local customers to Drop their devices into Bence Plumbing & Heating at a time convenient to them and they will work with us to facilitate the annual calibration.
Bence is a new partner for our gas analysers, our Sprint Pro stops you from having to store, charge, carry, calibrate and transport multiple devices. Our device allows you to conduct all critical test measurements with just one high performance, innovative solution.
At Crowcon we have a passion for gas detection, for over 50 years we have been manufacturing high quality gas detectors that are reliable and have technical innovation. In a week that brings businesses and apprentices together to highlight the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals, business and the wider economy, we are delighted that we offer such apprenticeships here at Crowcon.
With over 25 employees having completed an apprenticeship and three currently going through the process, we know apprenticeships are more than just a qualification, they offer experience to become a professional in a chosen trade, helping to make an impact in the business all whilst earning a wage.
“Apprenticeships are still undercelebrated despite of all the benefits they bring to both the individuals and the business. They perfectly blend theory and practical skills together into a learning-working experience that is like no other. Crowcon has seen many of our colleagues successfully graduate form apprenticeships with HNC, HND and even bachelor’s degrees. I would strongly encourage today’s youth to consider apprenticeship route, especially females within STEM. I have no doubt that it will unlock many career opportunities for you” – Birute Infantado, Human Resources Manager.
In the process of building your engineering career through an apprenticeship scheme at Crowcon, you will experience a work environment day-to-day in parallel whilst gaining the benefits from experienced colleagues and mentors who can help you build your skills and take them straight into the workplace.
An advanced apprenticeship at Crowcon takes three years to complete. We work closely with local colleges to provide apprenticeship programmes with the opportunity to continue your academic studies at both Newbury College that covers engineering or Abingdon and Witney College that supports business improvement. The scheme combines 80% work and 20% learning time.
We believe that home grown talent is the future. Although higher education has now become an expectation in the workplace, the cost of higher education is leading many to re-think the automatic study routes. Vocational career paths have become widely available, offering a multitude of opportunities and development routes. People development is at the heart of our business success and working collaboratively to release the wider potential within our business is how Crowcon will continue to go from strength to strength.
Following completion of the three-year apprenticeship, previous apprentices have developed the scope to move into engineering roles after a few years in the Line Technician position. Not only have all our apprentices been placed in permeant jobs within Crowcon following the end of their apprenticeships, but some have even continued with higher level apprenticeship studies. Some of the previous apprentices have taken roles in Test and Verification, Quality Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Project Management within R&D.
Hear what some of our current apprentices have to say:
“One of the things I particularly enjoy about the apprenticeship is the fact you earn while you learn, with the opportunity to continue into higher education all supported and sponsored by the company, meaning no hefty student loan. Additionally, with a tailored training and development plan directly related to the job – you pick up a lot of useful/ specialist skills along the way which puts you in line for great career prospects and progression. I would recommend the apprenticeship route as it gives you the opportunity to learn within the industry, whilst putting these into practice in real world scenarios, which is just as valuable as going to university” – Alex Watson, Test and Verification Technician
“The apprenticeship gave me an insight and understanding into LEAN practice and has given me the tools to streamline production and improve processes. Working in small teams with other apprentices doing the same course was good as we all had different opinions and views which was also a good learning process for me” – Debbie Murphy, Team Leader.
“I am currently undergoing Level 3 Engineering Technician course, where I am learning the basics of electronics as well as building and testing my own circuit boards. The apprenticeship is allowing me to develop my social skills as well as get hands on by combining my learning and work together” – Ethan Shurmer, Line Technician.
“Throughout my time at Crowcon, I have completed 4 apprenticeships from level 3 to level 6. The apprenticeships have allowed me to work in real world environments giving the options to gain the essential experience needed for future careers choices and have provided me with the skills and knowledge to progress further within the engineering industry” – Vikesh Patel, Junior Project Manager.
Service Solutions are not a new business requirement, however, the ways in which business look to service solutions have changed. With companies all competing to win and keep customers based on the experiences, service solutions have become more of an integral part of business operations. Efficiency, reliance, and fast solutions are some of the key factors that organisations must provide in their service solutions for their customers to benefit from their services.
Rexel are a service solution provider to ensure customers operate in the best possible manner by providing a broad range of sustainable and innovative products, services, and solutions. Rexel identify organisation’s pain points in business needs and requirements and aim to deliver a range of professional and timely solutions to support business operations. Housing 5 industrial locations located throughout the UK all focusing on end users, locations include Manchester, Bradford, Whitehaven, Deeside, Birmingham. Whilst also housing a National Account Team of which is multi-sited focusing on complex industries, i.e., nuclear, food, steel and mineral.
Views on Gas Detection
The maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) sector endure constant operational and legislative change. That’s why Rexel structured their MRO support business into sector-specific divisions with gas detection being one of the newest sectors for them to explore and maintain.
The rapidly increasing population, industrial emissions, vehicle exhaust require continuous monitoring for those workers who must operate in these harsh environments. With climate control becoming a global concern, in response to this Rexel have become aware of an area in which they can support the safety of individuals that are impacted by their products, services, and solutions.
Working with Crowcon
Through continuous communication a partnership with Rexel will allow Crowcon to continue to combine our expertise with emerging technologies to develop process insights and protection for our customers. Improving their operational efficiency and creating healthier and safer workplaces as well as enabling a growth into a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day by providing best in class gas safety solutions. Crowcon will allow Rexel to enhance their currently solution as well as allowing those working in Health & Safety roles to easily provide products, services and solutions that will aide their customers. “We are very thankful Crowcon can see the opportunity that we can work together through a joint partnership and vision”.
Most people who work with hazardous gases, and particularly anyone with responsibility for regulatory compliance, will be familiar with the various ways of measuring workplace exposures to gas. You may have heard of short- and long-term exposure limits; these are used to quantify the amount of gas a worker can be exposed to without harm, and most gas detectors track them.
But why differentiate between a short-term and long-term exposure? Well, that has mainly to do with the ways in which gases can be harmful. Some gases (hydrogen cyanide, for example) can be almost immediately fatal if inhaled at a given concentration, but some gases remain harmless if present at or below a much lower level for extended periods of time.
If a worker’s long-term exposure is more than the safe level, however, then some gases can be seriously dangerous to health. And the company in charge may become legally liable because it will have failed to comply with gas regulations.
Non-compliance can get very expensive, very quickly. It is costly in both financial and reputational terms.
Why use TWAs?
Long-term and short-term workplace exposure limits (WELs) for gases are set out by local regulatory bodies. In the UK, the HSE document EH40 applies. Chronic exposure is often measured via a time-weighted average, or TWA. That means the worker’s exposure to a gas is monitored across a given period, usually 8 hours, to make sure the gas(es) remain(s) at or below the WEL throughout that time.
Unfortunately, it is incredibly easy to mess up a TWA measurement and thus fall foul of the regulations. This is because many standard gas detectors erase the TWA timer history when they are switched off, even if the 8-hour/TWA measurement period is ongoing. So, if an operator turns off one of these detectors because they are having lunch or moving between sites, then switches it back on again when they get back to work (bearing in mind this is a continuation of the TWA period they have already begun to track), the detector will assume that they are beginning a new TWA measurement period.
Clearly, this breaches regulations and can be very dangerous – Figure 1, above, shows why. In this example, the worker exceeds the safe limit at around 14:00 but the traditional device does not ‘see’ this or alert them. The Crowcon device with TWA Resume, however, does sound the alert. And that may save both the worker and the company from a great deal of harm.
What is TWA Resume?
The Crowcon T4 and Gas-Pro ranges have Crowon’s proprietary TWA Resume feature. This innovative and unique functionality makes sure accurate TWAs are recorded for each and every 8-hour/TWA period, keeping employees safe and removing the risk of non-compliance. Furthermore, it makes it easy for a firm to prove their compliance in the face of any legal claim.
TWA Resume is a patented feature only found on Crowcon devices. When turned off during the TWA measurement period, it stores TWA data in its memory. When a worker switches it back on, they can choose to resume measurement from where it left off, or start a new TWA measurement.
T4 and Gas-Pro detectors store this data in their logs, where is available for further analysis and to prove compliance. Even better, TWA alarms and near-miss data can now be easily exported into Crowcon Connect, a cloud-based portal that gives customers total data visibility. This makes it easy for them to prove compliance, and to be sure that their workers are safe.
Because TWA Resume is a patented Crowcon feature, only Crowcon can provide it. If you want to keep your staff safe while making regulatory compliance much easier, please contact us. We’ll be happy to give you more information on our patented TWA resume feature and discuss how it can help you and your business.