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Fresh talent pulls in big nuclear contracts

Friday 03 April 2009

As the traditional mining market continued to decline, Penny Hydraulics, a North Derbyshire-based supplier of mining and lifting equipment, were faced with the need to diversify and find new market opportunities for their static and portable lifting equipment and cranes.

The company identified the nuclear industry as one with significant potential for growth and set themselves the task of developing and embedding a nuclear engineering capability for lifting, handling and movement of spent nuclear fuels.

Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership we sent recent graduate Simon Pykett - supported by a specialist academic - to work on the company's behalf, networking extensively to establish a presence in the nuclear community.

He registered the company with three nuclear organisations and coordinated audit visits from them.

Following a successful tender to Sellafield Ltd for the design and supply of waste storage cell handling equipment, Simon then took a lead role in delivering the contract, taking on the job of project manager and coordinating the team of designers, quality controller and shop floor personnel.

Penny Hydraulics was then made a Sellafield quality assured supplier on a £160,000 contract, 12 months earlier than expected. Further contracts in the nuclear industry have followed, including a £240,000 contract with Magnox Ltd.

The company are also now a Tier 2 supplier to the nuclear industry, and Simon was awarded the national accolade of Business Leader of Tomorrow as a result of his work on the project.

David Battrum, Finance Director at Penny Hydraulics said:

'Guidance from Sheffield Hallam in the recruitment process was paramount in ensuring that we acquired the best candidate for the job - who, by the way, is now a full time member of our staff, and success cam significantly quicker than we had initially anticipated. Long may it continue.'

Find out more about our Knowledge Transfer Partnerships here.

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