Specialist engineers look global from their Wilton base

An engineering business – which supports dozens of companies at the Wilton Centre – is busy spreading its expertise across the world.

For the past four years, from its workshops on the site near Redcar, JBA Specialist Engineering Services (SES) has offered a complete range of services for the centre’s occupiers: from providing basic repairs to working on six figure contracts.

It has also provided a 24-hour emergency call out provision for bioscience companies, where a power failure – even for a few minutes – could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Despite the pandemic JBA has been investing as it looks to grow its business at the Wilton Centre – part of a network of nine UK science parks owned by We Are Pioneer Group (WAPG) – and beyond.

It has signed a long-term lease, created a new workshop to design and manufacture control panels and has increased its headcount from 12 to 16.

The latest member of staff is a Teesside University graduate in Chemical Engineering. His recruitment results from a successful partnership between the university and JBA which, through its subsidiary company DarbyTech, supplies training rigs around the world. The graduate will be helping to develop a rig to prepare the growing number of engineers and operators who will be required as hydrogen is harnessed as a major source of energy.

“It’s too dangerous or impractical to train for real, so this is the next best thing.  We’re in effect taking the process plant and putting it in the classroom. We’ve got the knowledge and experience and it’s just applying that into a format suitable for education purposes,” said Gary Lawson, the principal business manager of JBA SES and director of DarbyTech.

JBA SES Operations manager Graham Mclean (left) and principal business manager Gary Lawson

JBA SES Operations manager Graham Mclean (left) and principal business manager Gary Lawson

Rigs have gone to the United States, Mexico and the Middle East. “We’ve even sent equipment that teaches students at university in Alaska how to drill for oil,” said Gary.

In its new workshop at the Wilton Centre JBA will also be pushing ahead with the design and manufacture of control panels.  Although it is not the only business able to produce them, it is one of the few that can offer the complete package of mechanical and electrical design, build and installation. “Companies all over the UK need control panels,” said Gary. “It’s the essential component to any process that has to be completed before a plant can be commissioned.”

As part of its growth plans JBA is now an authorised partner with a US technology company to supply and install wireless sensors within the UK. Some of the sensors are providing vital data for Wilton Centre occupiers on environmental conditions, utility consumption. Temperature and energy use. “It’s all about getting the data and information quickly and easily to the people who need it,” said Gary.

The company’s operations manager Graham Mclean added: “We have the right balance of skill sets to be the ideal maintenance and support partner, providing a unique blend of tailored services across the Teesside region. There’s no doubt that our location and the services and support provided by the Wilton Centre’s management team have assisted greatly in this process.”

The centre’s accommodation manager Claire Morton said JBA SES performs a vital role.  “It’s so helpful for businesses moving here to know that they have on their doorstep a reliable business that can help them get going, keep them operating and provide electrical and mechanical expertise as they look to develop new processes,” she said.

“A key aim of WAPG and the Wilton Centre is to facilitate and encourage collaborative working amongst our occupiers, and JBA is a perfect example of how that works so well.”

A £2m refurbishment has just been completed at the Redcar site, creating a new entrance and reception, a new restaurant and café.  A major feature of the project was the development of numerous meeting pods, co-working spaces and informal meeting places.

If you are interested in making the Wilton Centre the new home for your business contact Claire on 01642 438050 or claire.morton@wiltoncentre.co.uk


Northern Echo 14 October 2021

Northern Echo 14 October 2021