The next time you are at the supermarket and put some orange juice, crisps or vegetables in your trolley, there is a good chance they have been produced using a centrifuge from Chesterfield company MSE Hiller.
The company supplies and rents centrifuges and environmental engineering products to the water, food and other industries throughout the UK. MSE Hiller’s centrifuges are enabling multi-national companies to expand into areas where there are water shortages by separating the waste water from the product so it can be re-used.
Arguably, consumer demand for clean, prepared fruit and vegetables has driven the growth of the business within the food sector. Cleaning potatoes, for instance, releases pollutants such as starch. MSE Hiller centrifuges remove the pollutants from the produce and recycle them into harmless and tasty by products, like a bag of crisps. The food industry accounts for a third of MSE Hiller’s business.
Ivan Fomin, Managing Director of MSE Hiller said: “No one in Britain is doing what we are doing. Our products and services are very much in demand.”
Founded by Ivan and Huw Thomas in 2001, MSE Hiller designs and supplies mechanical separation equipment (centrifuges) to any industry that requires solids separating from liquids. In 2007 it established a sister company, MSE Systems, which specialises in the design and build of complete water treatment plants.
MSE Hiller’s products are enabling a more environmentally friendly approach to food production in the UK. This green, environmentally conscious approach, however, runs right through the company, beginning with its purpose-built HQ at Chesterfield’s Markham Vale Business Park which is leading the way in energy efficient building design. Overall actual CO2 emissions at MSE’s premises have been measured as being less than half the average of currently published figures for offices with similar environmental standards.
A compulsory purchase order served on the company’s previous premises forced its relocation from Clay Cross to Markham Vale in 2010. This relocation provided MSE Hiller with the opportunity to develop a £3 million purpose-built facility and futureproof the company.
At 23,000ft², the new facility is more than four times the size of the old premises, yet annual energy costs are less than half thanks to low energy lighting, efficient heating systems and the recovery of heat and water. Heat from the welding bay is even recirculated throughout the building and their high speed balancing machine actually recovers so much energy it puts power back into the National Grid.
The planned introduction of solar panels in a neighbouring field should bring energy costs to zero making the business completely self-sufficient.
Ivan Fomin explained: “When designing the building, Government policy compelled us to meet certain energy saving standards, and this has actually worked in our favour by reducing our annual energy costs by half on a building that is four times larger than our old premises.”
The new site comprises offices, shower and changing facilities, staff dining area, and a large workshop and standing space for up to 15 trailers outside. Within the workshop area the trailers, and centrifuges weighing up to 24 tonnes, are repaired and serviced.
Ivan added: “We’re often the fourth emergency service for the water industry and the trailers need to be turned around quickly for re-hire. A space where we could store and service the trailers in one area was a key part of the site’s design. With each trailer costing over £1/3 million each, on site security was also a key priority.”
Designed by Project Logistics Architecture, sustainability was a key part of the brief. Materials were specified to be non-toxic, with no or limited pollution emissions. External cladding can be easily replaced, and the windows and doors were designed with a long design life.
The services strategy was to provide efficiency in energy use, and the combination of air source heat pumps, mechanical heat recovery ventilation and LED lighting throughout has enabled MSE to record 56% less running costs for the new facilities than their previous premises, which were only a third of the area they now occupy; three times the area for less than half the cost.
Inside, the workshop environment is married to the office areas by large windows.
The openness of the workshop area to visitors has had numerous benefits for the company. Behavioural change has been recorded, as the social cohesion between workshop and office staff is enhanced by the building design.
It has also had a positive effect on apprentice recruitment. A positive by product of creating a sustainable building is the cleaner operating environment in the workshop area. The fastidiously clean workshop completely turns the traditional image of the manufacturing sector on its head. Having windows directly into the workshop has an instant positive effect on potential employees visiting the site.
Most importantly, MSE has been able to achieve ISO 14000, which in turn has improved the business. By meeting the stringent environmental criteria required by their blue-chip water companies, MSE have expanded their existing contracts throughout the UK.
Ivan added: “Having an attractive environment to work in is helping us attract future workforce at both apprentice level and upwards. This is very important for potential future expansion of the company. Our large fleet of rental trailers satisfies current market demand, but we have a ready pool of talent as well as additional space onsite to expand as the future demands.”