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All hands to the pump
06/11/2007 | Channel:
Part of the British Engines Group, Rotary Power is a successful, UK-based company, specialising in the design and manufacture of hydraulic motors and pumps.
Rotary Power became a focused business in 1970, but the company itself was founded on a site where operations date back to the 1930s. The company employs 150 people in its manufacturing facility and headquarters in Newcastle, and also has sales & customer service offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Aachen in Germany. The company exports over 80 per cent of its products worldwide. Operating in numerous industrial sectors, Rotary Power has recently concentrated its pumping and motorbased expertise on what it can offer oil and gas clients. Indeed, as the company is famed for its emphasis on research and innovation of new products, Rotary Power has become an important manufacturer of thruster motors for ROVs, topside, and winch drives. The company has established itself as a key player within a niche market in the oil and gas industry, a position that is supported by the strength and reliability of its products.
Geoff Willis, Rotary Power’s managing director, outlines the skills of the company: “The core competency of the business is essentially its design and development skill set, which is supported by Rotary Power’s in-house manufacture. The company does not subcontract any design, it is completed entirely by Rotary Power employees. This puts the company in a very strong position, as it emphasises Rotary’s position as a niche player within the industry, allowing the company to tailor specific products for specific applications. The company gets involved in very complicated hydraulic applications, and the fact that Rotary can design, manufacture and rapidly produce prototype units for its clients, means that it is in constant demand as a supplier. The company offers the duality of being a provider of off-the-shelf products and bespoke solutions, as well as carrying ATEX approval for its range of hydraulic pumps.”
This duality is appealing to customers, and it is through working closely with them that the business has developed its capabilities, as Geoff explains: “Rotary Power does provide standard products sold from a catalogue, with customers able to change the range and edition of motors and pumps. The company is also involved in bespoke applications, working with the customer in developing an application profile and specification to identify all the variables that the product must support in providing high levels of performance. Once this is compiled, Rotary Power then completes the base design, and with the customer’s involvement, a prototype is produced. The company then installs the prototype at the customer’s premises, allowing both parties to oversee the running and operation of the hydraulic equipment.”
This commitment to reliable, bespoke products and services has attracted the attention of customers within the oil and gas industry. Geoff elaborates: “Some of the major products manufactured by the company are subsea thrusters for ROVs produced for the oil and gas industries. Rotary Power has forged strong relationships with key players within the industries, particularly in the UK and North America. These relationships result in the creation of a number of products to be used in demanding applications, and new technological innovations allow the control of custom motors. Rotary Power also has a number of other hydraulic motor applications in topside oil pumping, supplying products to the major Canadian company Weatherford. The company has worked very closely with Weatherford in the production of successful pumping systems.”
Working closely with customers has encouraged the scope of the company’s innovations, as Geoff states: “Something that Rotary Power is very proud of is the production of a 16 litre hydraulic motor, which allows our customers even more scope in the marketplace. The company spent a lot of time developing this because it is one of the major focuses of the business, as it is a huge motor with many performance capabilities. Rotary Power continues to explore the potential applications of its products in the oil and gas industries, particularly in the drawing up of oil and sand mixtures, which are extremely heavy. This is where the company’s low speed, high torque motors come into their own.”
The oil and gas industry has many potential opportunities for Rotary Power. Geoff underlines the company’s position in relation to the market: “As with every other company, Rotary is witnessing the cyclic nature of the oil and gas industries, which is currently on an upward trend. The company is investing a huge amount of technical effort into providing not only ingenious, but also reliable and dependable solutions. This is the conclusion of market research, as well as listening to clients Rotary Power has worked with – reliability in subsea scenarios is absolutely crucial. One of the factors that the company focuses on in the manufacturing of its custom and hydraulic motors is to ensure reliable subsea service, and Rotary Power has solved all the problems these situations posed.
“The future looks strong for Rotary Power. From a European perspective, particularly in the economies of industrialised Western Europe, the economy is very buoyant, and the company seeks to exploit this as much as it can,” Geoff continues. “I believe that Rotary Power needs to stay close to its customers, as it operates in markets that require high levels of contact - what the company offers is a full service to the customer, a factor that it seeks to maintain and promote. This will aid Rotary’s aim to double its business within a fiveyear timescale,” he concludes.
Hydraulic motors and pumps