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East Midlands Chamber News

Sustainable East Midlands case study: Lindhurst Engineering's smart factory saves energy and costs

The Chamber has launched the Sustainable East Midlands campaign. As part of our mission to showcase businesses already engaging with the sustainability agenda, Dan Robinson takes a look at Lindhurst Engineering and its smart factory.

Sustainability is just another method of managing resources in a business, says Martin Rigley MBE – whose engineering business is using open-source internet of things technology to reduce running costs at its Nottinghamshire “smart factory”.

Lindhurst Engineering has installed smart sensors – connected to each other and a server using Wi-Fi – at its 20,000 sq ft Sutton-in-Ashfield plant, which manufactures products including metal components.

Working alongside the University of Derby and Derby-based bespoke electronics developer Devtank, the company is now able to monitor gas, electricity and water usage, air temperature, humidity, light levels, dust particle levels and noise.

Martin, a Chamber board member, says: “It’s told us some interesting things already – there’s a coffee machine switching on at 1am every day and heating water without needing to, and it’s also showed us we can make some savings by looking at our working patterns.

“People expect us to be a traditional black fingernail business. It’s a noisy environment with fumes and people welding things, but we’re trying to make all the information that exists visible because I’m a big believer in that if you can measure something, you can manage it.

“We’re still only at the data optimisation stage but initial findings already suggest we could save £25,000 a year.”

Lindhurst, a family business founded in 1985 to provide fabrication for coal mines, has evolved into a modern engineering innovator providing a range of mechanical and electrical services for projects as diverse as the Millennium Dome, Cardiff Millennium Stadium and the Jubilee line extension on the London Underground.

The company, which employs 38 people and has a £4m turnover, has also worked alongside the University of Nottingham to develop a unique technique for converting waste products from farms into clean energy, and has made 50% savings in travel-related emissions and fuel costs by replacing its lorry fleet with more efficient vehicles.

This led to it being awarded the top green award by Investors in the Environment, the environmental accreditation scheme.

Martin adds: “Sustainability is about managing your resources. We don’t think there’s such a thing as waste – it’s just a resource that no-one has thought of a use for yet.”

This article featured in the November issue of Business Network magazine, which is a special sustainability edition. To read an online version of the magazine, click here.

To find out more about the campaign, visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/sustainability.