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Silcoms, Bolton - SME (Engineering)

Bolton-based engineering firm Silcoms is saving over £16,000 a year in electricity costs simply by identifying and fixing leaks in its compressed air pipework at minimal cost.
 
Founded in 1939, the company produces precision components for the aerospace industry, as well as chain and conveyor components for a range of other manufacturing sectors.
 
Silcoms is continually looking for new ways to reduce its energy consumption and associated carbon emissions, which is increasingly important for its stakeholders. The company already meets ISO 14001 and was one of the first to be reviewed under the 2015 standard.
 
One recent success has been the identification and fixing of leaks in Silcom’s extensive network of compressed air pipework. 
 
Site survey

Using ultrasound leak estimator equipment, Alasdair Dalzel-Job, environmental business advisor at the Business Growth Hub, was able to identify 103 leaks in total during a day-long survey of the Silcom’s factory. 
 
These leaks have now all been fixed, providing Silcoms with over £16,000 in annual electricity savings at next to no cost. It has also reduced the company’s carbon footprint by 72 tonnes of CO2e – enough to fill 38 hot air balloons.
 
Continual improvement

Keith Davies, facilities and HR manager at Silcoms, said: “As a company we take our environmental obligations seriously. Operational efficiency and the impact on our surrounding environment is really important for us.
 
“Identifying quick savings like this reduces our energy costs and the environmental impacts related to our business; it also helps us demonstrate continual improvement to our customers, stakeholders and neighbours. Having the expertise of the Business Growth Hub on board has been an excellent resource for us.”
 
‘Right under your nose’

Alasdair Dalzel-Job added: “When it comes to energy efficiency, good practice doesn’t always involve capital investment in new equipment or lots of disruption to daily operations. Often the most effective measures cost nothing and are right under your nose – such as ensuring the equipment you already have is working as efficiently as possible. 
 
“Compressed air is a great example – even a tiny leak of just 3mm could cost you £700 a year in wasted electricity.
 
To find out more about the Business Growth Hub’s energy efficiency support for SMEs, click here.