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Scotland has developed to become the space technology hub of Europe, an article for the Sunday Herald recently stated.

The newspaper pointed out that the nation now builds more satellites than any other country on the continent, and the sector employs over 7,000 people north of the border, which accounts for nearly one in five of all UK jobs in the space industry.

Tom Walkinshaw, founder of Alba Orbital, which builds miniature satellites in Glasgow, explained that Scotland’s burgeoning space industry is helping people consider the area for a career in the sector, where before you’d need to travel to the likes of Holland or Germany to progress in the sector.

He also predicted that Scotland is well-placed to make the most of the rapid growth predicted for the space tech sector.

“In the next 10 years there will be about 10,000 new space startups globally. There will be a massive growth rate. It’s going to happen and I’m glad it’s also happening here,” he stated.

Dr Malcolm Macdonald, director of SoXSA: Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, is optimistic about what the future holds for the industry, as well as Scotland’s part in that.

He told the news provider that “today we have an almost full end-to-end commercial capability in Scotland, supported by a similarly capable academic sector”.

Last month, highlighted some of the reasons why the space sector is so important for Scotland economically, including the fact that it had an estimated turnover of £134 million in 2012/13, something that’s predicted to grow.

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A satellite the size of a loaf of bread has been launched by NASA as part of a series of wireless sensor experiments.

The Technology Educational Satellite, known as TechEdSat-6, was launched to the International Space Station on Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft and released into low-Earth orbit earlier this month to conduct a series of self-powered tests.

TechEdSat-6’s experiments will seek to expand the capabilities of wireless sensor networks for re-entry or ascent systems.

Carrying an updated version of the Exo-Brake parachute technology - an exo-atmospheric braking device - TechEdSat-6 will demonstrate controlled re-entry of small craft to return experiments safely from space, NASA has said.

“The Exo-Brake’s shape can be changed to vary the drag on the satellite,” commented Michelle Munk, NASA’s system capability lead for entry, descent and landing.

“With the help of high-fidelity simulations, we will demonstrate a low-cost, propellant-less method of returning small payloads quickly, and to fairly precise locations, for retrieval.”

The goal of the experiment is to return samples from space but also to develop the building blocks necessary for larger-scale systems that may enable small spacecraft to reach the surface of planets like Mars in the future.

TechEdSat-6 is the fourth satellite to carry an updated version of the Exo-Brake - a project funded by the Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Game Changing Development programme, NASA’s Ames Research Center and the Engineering and Safety Center.

The TechEdSat series is a collaborative endeavour between NASA employees and several universities, combining elements of science, technology, engineering and maths.

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The Bloodhound Supersonic car has undergone its first test runs this month. The vehicle has been made with the help of Rolls-Royce, which has supplied the engine for the car, sourcing this particular piece of kit from a Eurofighter Typhoon.

According to the Derby Telegraph, the engineering team on the Bloodhound project have been using the firm’s testing facilities ahead of getting the car on a runway.

The civil aerospace division at Sinfin has been used to test the wheels, for instance. But this week the vehicle made its first test runs in Newquay.

It reached a speed of 210mph on the runway at Newquay Airport on 26 October, the BBC reported, with the team now confident that it can reach its designed performance - speeds of up to 1,000mph.

Pilot RAF Wing Commander Andy Green, who is tasked with driving the super-high-speed vehicle, told the news provider that the test runs were hard work for the car’s brakes.

He said the front brakes were “smoking furiously” following the second run, commenting: “They started to just flicker with flame - very sort of Formula One, but in a proper high-speed car. And that was exactly what we were hoping for.”

Next year the Bloodhound and its team will head to South Africa, where 12 miles of a dried out lake bed will allow the car to reach much greater speeds. The current world land speed record stands at 763mph, although with the introduction of rocket technology in 2019, the aim is to get the Bloodhound to the 800mph barrier initially, and then the 1,000mph barrier a year later.

If you need electron beam welding for an aerospace or engineering project, contact us today.
The biggest defence contractor in the UK, BAE Systems, has announced that it will be cutting up to 1,300 jobs at its military aerospace arm over the next three years, as well as an additional 375 in maritime services and 150 at the company’s cyber intelligence business.

According to the Guardian, the cuts are expected to be brought in by January 1st, affecting not just those on the production line but also managers as well. The aerospace bases at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire will suffer 750 job losses – double what was seen back in 2015.

In Portsmouth, 340 dockyard jobs are due to go, 245 at RAF bases in Marham and Leeming, and 150 positions in Guildford and Lodnon, as well as other cyber intelligence sites.

Chief executive of BAE Charles Woodburn explained that these cuts are necessary, saying: “The organisational changes we are announcing today accelerate our evolution to a more streamlined, de-layered organisation, with a sharper competitive edge and a renewed focus on technology. I recognise this will be difficult news for some of our employees and we are committed to do everything we can to support those affected.”

Meanwhile, engineers from BAE Systems will now be solely responsible for supporting two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, as well as the rest of the fleet based at Portsmouth. The Ministry of Defence has now amended its contract with the company to include the Queen Elizabeth Class, with all classes of ships home ported at Portsmouth Naval Base covered under the arrangement.

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Electron beam technology could be at the forefront of plans to introduce high-speed 5G wireless data coverage, producing speeds of up to 100 gb per second.

A European project, led by a team of UK engineers, is exploring how exploiting the millimetre wave spectrum could provide a cost-effective, efficient means of accessing data through 5G wireless networks.

Wireless devices, which already use more data that desktop computers and the like, are set to eat up even more data with the advancement of 4k video streaming and other services. Increasing the amount of available wireless data would involve laying grids of micro, nano and pico cells in urban areas to serve a small number of users, which could be expensive and difficult to execute.

Professor Claudio Paoloni at Lancaster University said that existing base stations are fed data via fibres, “but if the number of cells were to increase substantially, the fibre would be very difficult and expensive to install”.

The professor, who is heading the €2.9 million (£2.56 million) ULTRAWAVE project, is developing a system based on a millimetre wave travelling wave tube that transmits data wirelessly. An electron beam is sent along the long vacuum tube, along with the millimetre wave signal. The mass of electrons then loses kinetic energy and transfers it to the signal, commented the professor.

“As a result, the signal increases in power to a level that is impossible with any other technique,” he added.

The project was presented to the public earlier this month at Lancaster University’s Kickoff Workshop and is expected to run until 2020.

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Bottled water brand Evian, which is part of the Danone Group, has unveiled its new bottling site, which has been certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust.

According to, this is part of Evian’s bid to become the first carbon-neutral Danone brand by 2020. The new production facility in France is the first step on this journey, and can produce 72,000 bottles of water per hour.

The facility is fully powered by renewable energy and all the bottles produced there are 100 per cent recyclable. Evian also announced that it plans to invest €280 million in a new facility that will produce all Evian water bottles sold worldwide.

Emmanuel Faber, Danone’s chief executive, said he was very proud to open the new facility. “This achievement combines a unique workplace organisation, a shift to digital technology, and technologies and sustainable solutions at the cutting edge of our sector worldwide,” he stated.

As well as producing bottles that can be recycled, the firm intends to use 100 per cent recycled materials for all of its packaging by 2020. By the end of this year, the company estimates that 25 per cent of the materials it uses will be from recycled plastics.

Plastic pollution is known to be a huge problem for the planet and one that more and more people are trying to combat. Earlier this month, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that she supports a deposit return scheme on glass, plastic and aluminium bottles and cans.

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The Egyptian government has signed three new oil and gas exploration deals with Royal Dutch Shell and Apex International Energy, covering a total of 16 sites in the country’s Western Desert.

It is a boost for Egypt, which has been looking to entice foreign investors back to its energy sector. The deals for exploring these new fields are worth $81.4 million in total.

Shell is set to invest $35.5 million following its deal, while Apex will be spending $45.9 million on two projects in the Middle Eastern country.

At one time Egypt was a net exporter of oil, but has become a net importer in recent years because demand has increased while production has fallen.

Daily News Egypt reported that Tarek El-Molla, the country’s minister of petroleum, explained that the ministry is hoping to attract a greater level of foreign investment in oil and gas exploration, helping it to exploit the potential of a number of areas.

Mr El-Molla also revealed that the sites in the Western Desert are of particular interest to US companies, like Apex, which is going to be operating in Egypt for the first time after signing these deals.

Oil and gas exploration activities aren’t without their risks though, as Statoil recently discovered. The oil giant revealed that its exploratory drilling in the Arctic has been “disappointing”, explaining that the volumes of natural gas it discovered weren’t large enough for commercial development.

However, the firm revealed that it will continue exploration activities in the region, noting that it intends to drill further exploratory wells in the south-east of the Barents Sea in 2018.

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The use of electron beam welding in aerospace engineering has enabled some of the biggest breakthroughs in the field - which has led to the dawn of consumer space travel just around the corner.

What this will look like for the general public has up to now been unknown, however, this week, space travel entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled what his newly designed spacesuits look like. While the traditional spacesuit is thought of as a big and bulky outfit, Musk’s SpaceX suit is more streamlined and stylish.

In a post on his Instagram page, Musk explained that this wasn’t just a mock-up, but a working prototype: “Worth noting that this actually works (not a mockup). Already tested to double vacuum pressure. Was incredibly hard to balance aesthetics and function. Easy to do either separately”.

The spacesuit will be used for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, according to, a programme which will launch astronauts from the US to the International Space Station. At present, astronauts must be launched from the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

SpaceX already runs private flights with supplies for the International Space Station, however, has not launched private flights with human passengers as of yet.

However, earlier this year, Elon Musk announced that he would be launching a private flight around the moon for two private paying customers. The passengers haven’t yet been announced, while they await medical approval, however they have paid a significant deposit to fund the mission.

Critics have said that a flight in 2018 is a lofty goal however, so only time will tell if these private citizens will get to don this spacesuit next year.
DeLorean is a name that’s become synonymous with futuristic-looking cars and, of course, the infamous flying, time-travelling vehicle in the Back to the Future trilogy.

It therefore seems only natural that Paul DeLorean, nephew of John DeLorean, who founded the automaker that produced the car featured in the movies, is working on a flying car concept of his own through his company DeLorean Aerospace.

Speaking recently to Wired, he revealed that his firm is making progress with its design for a flying car.

“We are moving forward on a full-size, piloted prototype which will carry two passengers and is designed to operate, fully electric, for a range of 120 miles,” Mr DeLorean stated.

The car itself will have two seats and be a vertical takeoff vehicle, with the ultimate aim to make this car self-flying so that anyone can use it.

At almost 20 feet long and 18.5 feet wide, it’s far larger than a standard road car, but there are clever design features to make it a little more manageable when it comes to storage. For instance, the wings can fold into tuck against the sides of the car to allow it to fit into a large garage.

The biggest headline from the DeLorean specs though is the range. Companies such as Neva Aviation and Airbus, who are both developing flying cars of their own, are aiming for much shorter ranges with their vehicles - 25 and 50 miles respectively.

Far from being a sci-fi dream, flying cars are getting ever closer to being a reality and this area of development is a growing sector within the aerospace industry.

Wards Auto recently reported that at least ten companies are expected to launch flying cars within the next five years, with some businesses already taking pre-orders for their flying vehicles.

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It’s not every day when you work with helium leak testing in the oil industry and run into one Mr Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder and CEO surprised workers in Williston, North Dakota, by arranging a last minute visit to their tracking site to understand more about the oil and gas industry. His visit is part of his 2017 resolution to visit every state in America. Zuckerberg is known for his annual pledges and he describes them as necessary for him to “to learn new things and grow outside of my work”.

It is reported that his visit included being shown round a drilling rig as well as a round table discussion about the effects of fracking and the wider oil industry. He took to Facebook to state

“I believe stopping climate change is one of the most important challenges of our generation. Given that, I think it's even more important to learn about our energy industry, even if it's controversial. I encourage all of you to get out and learn about all perspectives on issues you care about too. Regardless of your views on energy, I think you'll find the community around this fascinating.”

He goes on to make comments on the wider community he met in this isolated town as well as highlighting social issues in such transient communities. Local Newspaper, The Bismark Tribune, interviewed executive director of the Williston Economic Department Shawn Wenko who said “He came across as a very nice guy, very open to conversation,” Wenko said. “We were excited that, of all the places in the world he could choose to go, he chose to come here and understand the oil and gas industry.”

With tracking being such a contentious issue it is refreshing to see someone so prominent promoting education, understanding and open discussion in the oil industry.
A precise new type of beam technology could be used to detect nuclear materials and explosives even through thick materials like steel and concrete, scientists have suggested.

Researchers have come up with a new technique to produce high-energy beams, which are very precisely controlled, that could help detect and identify nuclear materials. The process would work in a similar way to the electron beam of an X-ray but produce a higher level of energy to penetrate even thick concrete.

Scientists at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have said that the precise nature of the technique enhances resolution while also producing lower levels of radiation than alternative processes. It is thought that the technique could aid the detection of contraband, nuclear devices and explosives.

Because the beam can be so tightly controlled, the technique could be tuned to identify the contents of something - and even its exact elements - without causing damage to the container.

The compact technology could also potentially be made portable; director of the Berkeley Lab Laser Accelerator Center Wim Leemans said that instead of bringing the applications to the machine, it may be possible to bring the machine to the applications, “whether that means scanning cargo, verifying treaty compliance, or many other uses”.

The technology is detailed in a report for the National Nuclear Security Administration, which explores nuclear science-based applications to protect national security. Researchers also note that the technique could have a range of other applications in the medical and industrial fields, providing the opportunity to look inside machinery without the need for disassembly.

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Customers of our electron beam services in food production will know all about the pressures being exerted on the industry, but a new report is calling for even more to be done by both manufacturers and consumers to help reduce the UK’s carbon footprint according to Edie.

The Livewell report, put forward from WWF, has called upon the UK government to reduce impact on global warming by asking for a reduction of carbon emission caused by food production by 30 per cent by 2030. Part of their plan to achieve this is a huge push in trying to campaign and advertise healthier eating of more fresh fruit and vegetables, alongside creating a stronger communication between retailers and farmers providing the produce.

They would like emphasis on more plant based food diets, trying to implement less meat, salt and sugar intake, as well as trying to minimise the food waste which has a strong impact towards global warming. Meat currently has the biggest carbon footprint of any food group in UK diets.

Andrew Stephen, chief executive of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, commented on the report on the responsibility of the industry to help promote plant-based diets: “Being responsible for half of the UK’s spending on food, restaurants and the wider hospitality sector have the power to make a hugely positive impact on the health of the nation and the environment,” he said.

With an increased number of people now vegetarian, vegan and a growing interest in people willing to occasionally eat plant based dishes (they call themselves flexitarian), there are a greater number of restaurants and food establishments being more flexible with the options on their menu’ for customers to choose from.

The number of restaurants adding more plant based options and adopt a change to more plant based dishes is expected to increase by 10 per cent over the next year.
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The Kraken project, which is located approximately 80 miles off the coast of Shetland in Scotland, has delivered its first oil this month.

Operator EnQuest confirmed that it had delivered the first oil from the project on 23 June in the first phase of production on the site.

So far 13 wells have been drilled, seven of which are producers and six of which are injectors. The company explained that it would be bringing these on stream in a phased process to help maximise the field’s production during its lifetime.

Richard Hall, head of major projects at EnQuest, revealed that the first oil from Kraken was delivered under budget, which he described as a “great testament” to the company’s abilities. “I am extremely proud of the EnQuest Kraken team for their dedication, vision and sheer hard work,” he added.

Drill centres one and two are now fully complete and work is continuing on drill centre three. The aim is to continue to increase production capacity through to 2018.

Chief executive of the UK Oil & Gas Authority Dr Andy Samuel said that the Kraken field “has the potential to open up additional heavy oil opportunities in the Northern North Sea”. Others in the industry are no doubt going to be watching future developments with interest.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported on the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, a not-for-profit organisation that is set to invest £1.6 million in oil and gas projects in the North Sea. So far the three projects selected for funding are aimed at reducing the cost of maintaining and inspecting offshore infrastructure.

If you need electron beam welding for an oil or gas project, contact us today to find out more about our expertise.
Start typing your update here...Technology across every sector is evolving and now it appears the aerospace industry has taken another step forward, with the first test of a robotic co-pilot in a 737 simulator.

Aurora Flight Sciences has developed the robot co-pilot that can physically take control of a plane with its arm, has in-cockpit machine vision and is able to interact with members of the crew. During the simulator test, the robot successfully landed the 737, although it is still some way off being able to take control of an actual airliner.

The new automated system has been developed as part of a project with the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US, as part of its Aircrew Labour In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS) programme.

According to DARPA, the ultimate aim for ALIAS is “a tailorable, drop-in, removable kit that would promote the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft, enabling operation with reduced onboard crew”.

As well as being able to control the aircraft, ALIAS is equipped with speech recognition and speech synthesis capabilities, which means it can communicate directly with the pilot or other crew members.

The new technology has already been tested on aircraft in flight, with the most recent test on a DA42 aircraft, which is much smaller than a 737.

Of course, automated flight is nothing new, with drones now a common feature of our skies. However, one aviation expert has warned that the UK will need to stay closely aligned with the European Aerospace Safety Agency after leaving the EU if it wants to continue to develop drone technology and have the freedom to fly it anywhere in Europe easily.

Speaking to The Register, committee chairman at the Royal Aeronautical Society UAV Tony Handley said that the UK no longer has enough expertise in this area to run a standalone aviation regulatory body.

If you need technical expertise for an aerospace project, contact us at Electron Beam Services today to find out how we could be of assistance.
The 2 Sisters Food Group has invested £10 million in its food preparation facility in South Wales to increase production of oriental ready meals.

Following this cash injection, the Rogerstone site now has an oriental foods “pod”, which will be utilised to help drive growth within the company’s Meal Solutions division.

A range of new equipment and technology has been fitted at the factory, including a new in-line cooling system which has helped reduce the environmental impact of operations here.

Managing director of Meal Solutions Simon Wookey commented: “We are investing millions in our factories and embedding a cross-functional lean culture to deliver a gold standard performance.”

The organisation supplies high-quality ready meals to M&S, with a spokesperson from the retailer noting that the extension to the Rogerstone site will mean more exciting and innovative recipes hitting the shelves in stores in the coming months.

Food production is one of the UK’s largest manufacturing industries and there are various projects working to improve its efficiency. Last month, OAL and the University of Lincoln were awarded a grant of £448,850 by the UK government’s innovation agency to explore and develop new robotics material handling systems for food.

The year-long project will focus on automating the processes of handling, weighing and transporting raw ingredients. Part of the project will also examine hygiene and food safety features.

According to OAL’s managing director Harry Norman, this kind of innovation is crucial for the sector, because manufacturers are faced with rising costs but have little opportunity to up their prices, making efficiency gains one of the best ways for them to boost profits.

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It seems that Formula 1’s use of electron beam welding won’t extend to their proposed safety ‘halo’ as the organisation has scrapped the plans in favour of a different solution.

Formula 1 has been dedicated to increasing the level of head protection offered by vehicle cockpits after the high profile deaths of several drivers such as Jules Bianchi and, in recent years, the ‘halo’ had been the preferred method which had been trialled extensively in 2016.

It was proposed to be instated in 2017, before being delayed to 2018, however this week the F1 released a statement declaring they’d be moving ahead with other technology. ““A number of more integrated solutions for additional frontal protection have been studied, and the decision has been taken to give priority to the transparent ‘shield’ family of systems,” read the statement, according to

The ‘Halo’ had previously divided opinion, with the look of the system being a particular sticking point. The ‘Halo’ saw a piece of protective carbon fibre material sitting above the driver and coming down in front of them, directly in the drivers line of sight.

‘Shield’, however, is made up of a transparent screen which does not cover the whole cockpit, directly answering this aesthetic concern. However, many drivers have come out to question whether this system is style over substance, questioning its safety credentials.

Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat, Haas drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean as well as Williams driver Felipe Massa ehave all expressed concern over the plans.
People looking for the best electron beam services available will be interested to know about the latest developments in the sector.

The UK has relied on coal to fuel its homes and economy every since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The use of coal powered our railways and out every growing industrialisation.

This long-term relationship with coal could be on the downturn however, as the UK managed its first day without using coal-powered electricity since the industrial revolution.

Low demand over the Easter holidays means that energy demand was sufficiently low, in mid-April, that the UK went a whole day powered only by wind, nuclear and gas.

High production levels of wind, nuclear and gas also facilitated this ‘watershed moment’ according to Cordi O’Hara director of UK system operator at National Grid, reported

“To have the first working day without coal since the start of the industrial revolution is a watershed moment in how our energy system is changing,” she said.

The UK’s changing relationship with coal started nearly a decade ago, when nearly 23 per cent of our energy was coal fired. This has dropped to just nine per cent, with solar energy production overtaking coal.

Biomass energy production now also accounts for six per cent of the energy used in the UK, with gas taking over as our main energy source.

If you’re working on a project that requires electron beam welding, speak to us to find out how we could help you.
The Snowdonia Aerospace Centre in Llanbedr could well become one of the first commercial spaceports in the UK, with private sector providers now registering interest in the site in a bid to enable low-cost access to space from the UK by the year 2020.

Plans for enhanced site access are due to be submitted to the Snowdonia National Park Authority by Gwynedd Council. If given the go-ahead, access to the Llanbedr site would be improved, which would help to serve as a catalyst for further investment and development.

Lee Paul, Snowdonia Aerospace Centre chief executive, explained that the last year-and-a-half has been about building a world-class facility and ensuring that the right operating environment is created.

Representatives from the Centre, Welsh government and Aerospace Wales recently attended a UK space age event at the Royal Aeronautical Society. Mr Paul said: “We observed real interest in what’s happening at Llanbedr, leading to a number of very encouraging discussions with end users, international spaceport operators and satellite launch companies as well as regulators, UK government and [the UK Space Agency].”

At the start of February, the government launched a £10 million scheme to help develop the commercial spaceflight market in the UK, with draft legislation to enable UK spaceflight by 2020 published. The UK market is worth an estimated £25 billion over the next 20 years, with Jo Johnson – universities and science minister – saying that spaceflight offers the UK the chance to build on its strengths in research, science and innovation, and it provides the opportunity to expand into new markets.

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The Johan Sverdrup development on the Norwegian continental shelf is one of Norway’s largest oil fields. Now Statoil has announced that it will be moving into Phase 2 after awarding FEED contracts to Aker Solutions, Kvaerner and Siemens.

These partners will now begin working on a plan for development and operation (PDO), which will need to be submitted in the second half of next year.

Oil from this phase of the site is expected to come on-stream in 2022. The first oil from Phase 1 will be delivered late in 2019.

Project director of the Johan Sverdrup development at Statoil Kjetel Digre said that the organisation wants to take a “generational perspective” when it comes to the oil field.

“Working closely with partners and government authorities we now have a plan for Phase 2 that maximises value for society, industry and the licensees,” he asserted.

Phase 2 development will tie in with what’s been done for Phase 1, the company noted, adding one more platform to the four planned as part of the initial development.

Three satellite areas will also be phased in as part of the next stage, allowing oil from these areas to be processed and exported at the field centre. 28 new wells are planned for this next phase.

While Statoil is known for its interests in oil, the company is targeting other forms of energy generation as well. Modern Power Systems recently reported that Statoil has submitted a proposal for the construction of a large offshore wind farm in the US.

If you need electron beam services for any oil field projects you’re involved in, contact us to find out more about how we could help you.
India’s state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has approved investment in five oil and gas projects, which will boost production in the country.

The five projects include the development of the R-Series fields and a revival of the R-12 (Ratna) field, as well as the redevelopment of the Santhal field, and 4th phase development of the NBP field. ONGC is investing 73.27 billion rupees in the various projects.

It expects the R-Series fields to start producing oil in 2018-19, realising production of 14,583 barrels of oil per day (bopd). This particular project will involve drilling 31 wells, installing five new platforms and reviving one other platform.

The company also plans to drill six new wells as part of the 4th phase development of the NBP field, with the scheme expected to deliver peak oil production of 4,890 bopd by 2019-20.

In addition, ONGC will develop the B-147 field and the BSE-11 block, both of which are in the Bassein and Satellite Asset.

Earlier this month, reported that India’s demand for oil climbed in 2016, with oil consumption growth hitting 11 per cent.

Citing figures from the country’s Oil Ministry, it noted that the nation consumed 196.5 million tonnes of oil products last year, compared to the 177.5 million tonnes consumed in 2015.

The rise in oil consumption was attributed to a growing urban population and greater use of vehicles around the country as a result of rising incomes.

If you need assistance with electron beam welding, contact us today to find out more about the services we offer the oil industry.
Businesses operating in the food manufacturing industry are increasingly looking at ways to make energy efficiency gains.

This is according to an article for, which notes there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that organisations in this sector are looking at ways to reduce their energy use.

It cites a new report by Barclays, which suggests that while in the past the price of energy was the primary concern for such businesses, now other factors are also being considered, including the energy sources in relation to a company’s carbon footprint, and whether there is sufficient resilience to deal with any potential outages.

Product manager at Mitsubishi Electric’s Automation Systems Matt Handley told the news provider that variable speed drives (VSDs) are an under-used solution that can provide energy efficiency gains.

He explained that simply buying a VSD and connecting it isn’t enough. “That drive can be tuned - or configured - to maximise energy saving. This can account for 10-15 per cent of of the savings on that drive,” he stated.

The industry has already made important energy efficiency gains in recent years. The latest data from the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) shows that, since 1990 baselines, the industry has reduced absolute CO2 emissions by 46 per cent and lowered water usage by 31 per cent.

In addition, the FDF has announced a number of further commitments for the sector, including cutting absolute CO2 emissions by 55 per cent by 2025, sending zero waste to landfill from members’ direct operations, and further promoting sustainable supply chains.

Contact us today if you require electron beam services to improve any part of your food manufacturing process.

Earlier this week the prime minister Theresa May unveiled a new Industrial Strategy designed to bolster the UK’s economy and strengthen it across the board.

Under the proposals, funding will be provided to support industries that are considered strengths for the country. The strategy includes a boost to research and development activities in sectors such as robotics and artificial intelligence and smart energy technologies.

Among the industries that have been working with the government on the strategy are life sciences, manufacturing, nuclear and those focused on ultra-low emissions vehicles.

PharmaTimes reported that the announcement was well received by the life sciences industry.

KPMG global lead for life sciences Chris Stirling commented that the funding and additional support “will focus on encouraging companies, particularly smaller businesses, to be more innovative and to make better use of technology developments including artificial intelligence and robotics”.

Steve Bates, chief executive of the Bioindustry Association, was also positive about the role life sciences will play in the UK’s growth plans going forward.

Skills development is another key part of this new strategy, with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) a particular focus at every level of education.

The government pointed out that the approach it is taking to develop these sectors will follow a similar pattern to how it already works with the aerospace and automotive industries, citing the Aerospace Growth Partnership as a particular success story.

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Faroe Petroleum, an independent oil and gas company that primarily focuses on exploration, has started a new exploration well in the western part of the Norwegian Barents Sea.

The new well, named Boné prospect (formerly known as Dazzler), has been chosen following an oil and gas discovery in its Brasse well in July last year. As a result of this discovery, the firm has committed to the drilling of an appraisal well on this site in the middle of 2017, in partnership with Odfjell Drilling.

Under the Boné exploration, the company will primarily be targeting the Jurassic Stø- and Nordmela sandstones, while there is also a secondary target within the Triassic Fruholmen and Snadd sandstone formations.

The company will be utilising the Scarabeo 8 drilling rig for this project, and will announce its discoveries on its completion.

Chief executive of Faroe Petroleum Graham Stewart explained that Boné is the company’s first exploration well of the new year.

He commented: “This high impact well will test a large horst structure with very significant volume potential.”

Faroe Petroleum is not the only organisation focusing on high impact exploration activities in 2017, with Offshore magazine reporting that BP is targeting a number of high impact wells in the coming 12 months, with the petroleum giant farming into five licenses in the Shetlands area at the end of 2016.

BP has partnered with a number of other companies to carry out various drilling activities aimed at bolstering its UK offshore production.

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Claims that it would be impossible for Formula One racing teams to control their costs have been dismissed by one team principal.

Speaking to, Franz Tost, team principal at Toro Rosso, described such claims as “nonsense”, explaining that he knows exactly how much each screw costs his team.

He was responding to comments by the likes of Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne, who has previously said that he doesn’t believe spending caps will work within F1.

However, Tost is in favour of limits being imposed on the motorsport, and believes that in the long run, manufacturers will also support this decision.

“We need to reduce the costs. It shouldn’t be that team spends 450 million euros a year. On the other hand, we bargain for a few cents when it comes to road cars,” he stated.

Tost also said that, despite protestations from some, if the FIA imposed financial penalties on teams that didn’t report their spending accurately, or that overspent on the allocated amount, that they would all soon fall into line.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s racing director Eric Boullier told Autosport that the team’s Honda engines need further development, and claimed that McLaren would have won races this season if it had had the best engine available.

However, he explained that engine development has to go hand in hand with improvements made to the chassis of the car, because everything in the design is connected.

Boullier added that these improvements cannot be made in a matter of months, it’s a long process that is likely to take a few years.

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Drones have evolved considerably in recent years, becoming smaller, more agile and more affordable than ever before. Retailer Amazon even made its first delivery by drone earlier this month, with plans to expand the service throughout 2017.

But now researchers at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne have suggested that drone developers within the aerospace industry should look to nature for some inspiration - namely birds.

In the research, which was originally published in the journal Interface Focus, the team suggested that if you want a small, aerodynamic craft that can manoeuvre quickly and easily you need to design drones that mimic birds.

Among their recommendations are for drones to have smaller, swept-back wings, and to feature flexible, folding artificial feathers on the ends of the wings. The institute’s researchers have even designed a prototype to demonstrate how the technology could be implemented.

These artificial feathers, which are made from fiberglass and a thin layer of nylon, can be controlled separately or as one, giving the drone much more manoeuverability than standard remote controlled craft.

While this new drone design is impressive, it’s far from ready to take to the skies on a large scale. As with any kind of aircraft, there will need to be rigorous testing of its parts to ensure they’re durable and safe, and that the drone can fly and be operated safely in an urban environment.

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