Technical Inspection Services (TIS) have been operating from Clevedon in North Somerset since the early 1980s when, back then, its main focus was providing non-destructive testing (NDT) to the UK’s network of coal power stations.
Ken Stockham started working in NDT in 1979, the following year TIS was forced to shift its focus from working with coal power stations to the nuclear industry, from which Ken has gained plenty of experience. A few years later, following a management buy-out, Ken led the company from strength to strength, expanding its range of specialist services and eventually moving into new, larger, premises which TIS owns in Clevedon, 18 months ago.
Today TIS serves a variety of sectors, including renewables, recycling, petrochemical, alongside power stations, providing services in Non-Destructive Testing (NDT), specialising, among other things, in radiography, magnetic particle, dye penetrant, ultrasonic inspection and eddy current. In addition, Ken and his team of 10, all of whom are qualified to PCN (Personal Certificate in Non-Destructive Testing) level 2, are even occasionally called on to inspect fine art pieces to check their authenticity by scanning them to look for the artists’ original sketches and outlines.
Within its new premises TIS has had not one but two large X-ray bays installed – making it the only company in Somerset that can perform radiography In-house and on-site, together with purpose-built dark room for developing and inspecting images.
TIS’s association with Hinkley Point stretches back decades, having worked on first Hinkley Point A and then Hinkley Point B, making the company’s experience invaluable for the Hinkley Point C project. As with lots of suppliers to Hinkley Point C, TIS joined a group of like-minded and complementary businesses in the region, calling itself APEC (Advanced Precision Engineering Consortium).
TIS is currently testing the welding on boiler tubes for Biomass power plants as well as the huge metal piles which are being driven into the ground at Hinkley Point C to create part of the jetty.
“Our job is to carry out comprehensive and thorough surface inspections on those pieces using a range of non-destructive techniques before they proceed on to Hinkley Point C,” says Ken. He adds: “The formation of the consortium has also led to us winning other pieces of work outside Hinkley Point C, so it’s been an excellent way to seek out and tender for new contracts.”.
As well as winning a significant amount of work testing tubes and metal piles for Hinkley Point C, and aside from the APEC collaboration, TIS has won further contracts at other UK power stations thanks to the skills and qualifications gained at the project. “For instance, as part of my work at Hinkley Point C, 3 of us (including Ken) had to complete an Offshore Survival course and Medical which was the deciding factor in another power generation group hiring TIS for some more work,” explains Ken.
He adds: “Hinkley Point C is creating tremendous opportunities for companies of all sizes and is an excellent boost for the Somerset and South West economy. “But, to any business owners considering how they can generate work with the project, I would say engage with the site and, in particular, the supply chain team to get your company’s profile noticed and be in with a chance of winning contracts.”