​Haigh Feature in Modern Utility Management Magazine

17th Mar 2011

By investing in new innovative solutions for its customers, the Haigh Engineering Company continues to gain recognition in the waste industry

A family enterprise, the Haigh Engineering Company Ltd was established in 1955 by the grandfather of current managing director Luke Shepherd. Today the company is fully owned by Luke and his brother and supported by a skilled workforce of 100 staff. Initially Haigh developed the Tweeny under sink disposal unit and has since diversified into specialist solutions for controlling waste streams and maceration products. Haigh’s products are supplied to a number of industries including waste water treatment, hospitals, nursing and care homes, and catering establishments.

Luke explains the key strengths of Haigh: “Being a family owned company we take a long-term view on developments, investments, product quality and ultimately our service to the customers. Because of this, in the markets that we operate customers are confident that the business will be around for another 55 years. This not only helps from a sales point of view, but also is important to build good long-term client relationships. We invest heavily in our research and development and strive to be innovative, moving our products and services forward rather than just standing on past accomplishments.”    

He carries on to describe Haigh’s typical client base: “Obviously within the healthcare industry the NHS is one of our biggest customers alongside the private care homes and nursing home providers. Across the UK water industry we have framework contracts with most of the water and sewage companies including Severn Trent, Thames Water, Southern Water, Yorkshire Water and Southern Water. We also export to some other countries around the world – primarily North America, Australia, Canada and South Africa. The weakening of the pound over the last few years has helped to support this growth and we have plans to continue to develop new overseas markets.”

Across the healthcare industry disposable pulp products such as bedpans, urine bottles and commode pots are a popular, hygienic and easy alternative to traditional metal, glass and plastic versions. Haigh’s range of Sluicemaster macerator systems enable care staff to dispose of these pulp products into the standard drainage system by blending them into very fine particles. The macerators use only cold water and a small amount of electricity to pulp items, which reduces the units’ environmental impact and have an active antimicrobial built-in to kill infection.

The SOLO Sluicemaster’s compact size makes it ideal for use in areas which normally do not use a macerator like clinics and x-ray departments but are using an increasing range of disposable pulp products. Haigh also manufactures pipeliner macerators for the chemical, food process, paper and textile, and waste water industries to disintegrate any solids in the waste flow. Recently the company replaced one of its waste disposal units, which had been operating for 35 years in the UWE (University of the West of England). This incredible lifespan is testament to the quality of Haigh’s product engineering and commitment to supporting products through servicing and spares.

Research and development is very important to Haigh, both to improve existing products and develop new systems, which address the continuously changing needs of its customers. Easy installation, servicing and upgrading, minimal use of raw materials and energy are all areas actively designed into the equipment. Haigh’s expert in-house team of engineers and developers is supported by computerised 3D modelling and an up-to-date machine shop uwith CNC lathes, laser cutting, fabrication and welding facilities. A spare part stock for all products is maintained for a minimum of ten years, enabling equipment to provide many years of quality service.

Luke elaborates on one of the newest innovations – the ACE Inlet: “Traditionally a water company will obtain equipment and components from companies like ourselves and then spend six months at a sewage treatment plant assembling those into a complete system. Naturally all water authorities are under immense pressure from a cost perspective so they are looking for systems, which maintain the quality of the equipment but reduce the project costs. Working with Severn Trent we took our existing equipment and developed it into a preassembled system, whilst increasing its volume capacity. This contains all of the necessary control systems and other pieces, which would normally be put together on-site and instead, is assembled by us, in the factory to produce a unit approximately the size of an articulated truck. On a typical half a million pound project we can save the client up to 25 per cent of the total cost just by delivering a preassembled system which can be installed in one go.

“We have invested a substantial amount of capital into the project and following the development of our prototype Severn Trent proceeded with the first unit, which is nearing the end of its 12-month trial. With products and concepts like this being endorsed by such clients, the project has gained a lot of interest from the wider market especially as it enables companies to potentially save a lot of money on projects, without compromising on performance. The system is also beneficial from a health and safety point of view as installation only takes a week as opposed to six months and because we test the unit in our facility clients know that it is going to work and be compatible upon delivery.”

Other new products include the Anaerobic Digestion Input Feed System, which was launched earlier this year at the IFAT exhibition in Munich. The product is a maceration-based food processing unit, which works as the input part of an anaerobic digestion system. Customers can feed out of date supermarket stock or crops for example, into the system, which will blend it into a very fine particle-sized slurry. This product helps to speed up the reactions in the anaerobic digestion process by providing ideal conditions for the bacteriological processes.

With these new innovations being positively received in the market, Luke highlights his plans for taking Haigh further forward: “We are continuing to look at new markets and establishing a presence in these areas. The IFAT exhibition enabled us to demonstrate our core products to the central European market and we see no reason why products, which are so popular in the UK, can’t achieve the same recognition in similar environments overseas. In the next few years we’d particularly like to increase our level of business in North America, ultimately to the same level as here in the UK.”

If you would like to know more about the system, any of our other products and services, or to get in touch with the team on any matter please feel free to email or call us on 01989 763131.

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