ESR Technology’s Final Preparations for the Hazards 30 Virtual Conference

Preparations are continuing for the IChemE Hazards 30 Virtual Conference on 26-27 November 2020 where ESR Technology are Silver Sponsors. We are pleased to share a sneak preview of our virtual exhibition stand.

ESR Technology (and its predecessor companies UKAEA, SRD and AEA Technology) has supported this prestigious conference since its inception, exhibiting and presenting technical papers on a wide range of important topics from Gas Dispersion modelling work, to research on Ageing Plant and developing clear ALARP justifications for continued plant operation.

For Hazards 30, Andy Rushton is presenting a paper entitled A Revised Method for Dropped Object Risk Analysis which promises to be an interesting and thought-provoking presentation.

We are proud of our long-term support to this important industry conference and are delighted to be attending Virtual Hazards 30. We look forward to welcoming colleagues old and new on our virtual exhibition stand.

For further information please contact Terry Atkinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

NCTs' Design Capabilities Highlighted

Graduate consultant Greg Kelly has recently finished an intensive design, build, and test project for a leading manufacturer of aircraft components.

“The challenge posed by the client was to simulate rotational movement of an aircraft actuator under a range of frequencies and displacements. The actuator had been wearing in unexpected ways which could have severe consequences for the system.

The tribological interface of the actuator was a steel pin rotating against a polymer bush, I designed a test rig with a clevis system that could move these parts relative to each other to produce the same wear the client had seen. The actuation was achieved via hydraulic pistons which were driven by a custom control system that allows us full control over the load applied and the frequency of actuation (this control system is highly customisable and is used in our labs for tensile testing, fretting-impact testing, linear movement, and much more).


The testing provided valuable insight to the client on the nature of wear occurring at this interface and to the most damaging operating conditions of the actuator, the test rig was built for repeat tests and we were easily able to test a range of pin and bush combinations to determine the pair best suited for the clients needs.”

-Greg Kelly

The NCT has over 50 years of experience in industrial tribology and testing and is well suited to building bespoke test rigs to find innovative solutions to our clients problems.

Future of Rail Competition

Future Of Rail

NCT’s young engineer, Amanda Soutar gained the first runner up prize in the IMechE Future of Rail national competition, after winning the north west regionals, presenting ‘In Service Instrumentation of a Centre Pivot Bush’.

“The project in question was to measure the range and frequency of movement that a centre pivot bush is subjected to in service to validate the redesign of a bush that is currently failing. Centre pivot bushes are not a safety critical component however once the bush has failed, it causes a loud knocking sound, leading to an unpleasant experience for the customer.

My role in this project was to determine the mathematical model for the 6 degrees of freedom the bush has, procure the instrumentation required, design the attachments and instrument/solder all the connections, determine the method of recording in data, attach it to the train and monitor during on and off peak service times, and carry out post data collection analysis.

The information gathered from this exercise was good and included GPS data for the journey, strain experienced in the tie rods, acceleration experienced by the bush and the bogie frame, movement experienced in the X, Y, Z, pitch, roll and yaw directions all relative to time. The data collected provided a powerful insight into the life of the bush and the conclusions gathered are now being used in the redesign and accelerated life testing of new centre pivot bushes.”

-Amanda Soutar

ESR Technology would also like to congratulate all the other finalists that took part and especially Fahad Rage for his winning presentation on ‘Squat and Squat-Type Defects’ and Aimee MacDonald for her place winning presentation on ‘Mark 5 Coach Introduction for Caledonian Sleepers’. Both presentations focused on areas that ESR have a particular interest and expertise in (fatigue and noise).

The young engineers presentation provides an opportunity to get noticed within industry, gain experience in presenting technical information and refine their communication in technical environments, a very important skills in today’s technical world.


Suspension Bridge Investigation Shows ESR's Investigative Capabilities

NCT have recently completed a large investigative programme of a suspension bridge in collaboration with the Royce Institute. The aim was to conduct an in-depth metallurgical inspection of cable wires removed from a bridge. Of interest was the existence of pre-existing cracks in the wires, and the effect of corrosion on the wires.

The wires removed were subject to a vigorous testing regime to determine their structural and chemical composition. The structural testing comprised fatigue testing (up-to 250,000 cycles), and tensile testing performed to standards ASTM E466, 586, and A370. During this stage NCT carried out nearly 1500 tensile tests over the course of two months, these were long wire tests that required specially manufactured extensometers with a gauge length of one meter.

Once fractured during structural testing the fracture faces of the wires were further examined as this provided insight into the ductility of the wire and could show what effects corrosion had on the wire.

The wires were investigated using a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to determine the morphology of the fracture faces, following this a chemical analysis was carried out using ICP analysis to determine the makeup of the wire. Some select samples were also analysed for hydrogen to examine the link between corrosion and hydrogen content.

This work highlights the need for in-service inspection and regular thorough examination of safety critical components. NCT is very familiar with material standards and regulations along with having a well-equipped laboratory that allowed us to undertake this massive task successfully.

Beirut : Control of Major Hazards - A Timely Reminder

The recent Beirut explosion is a timely reminder of the need to understand the potential of Major Accident Hazards and the underlying risk control measures. As we can see, the consequences of major accidents, if they do occur, can be catastrophic both for the site and the surrounding population. Here in the UK, assessment and management of such sites are covered by The COMAH Regulations (2015), applied where dangerous substances are processed, stored or could be generated by a process upset.

At ESR Technology we have provided support to both Operators and the Regulator with COMAH related assessment and activities for many years.

Our advice is based on over 40 years of experience of working in Major Hazards risk assessment across many industries, including working extensively with The Health and Safety Executive, giving us a unique insight into what is required in COMAH support and submissions.

Whether you are a company submitting your first COMAH Safety Report, or approaching a periodic COMAH review, ESR Technology can offer support through:

  • Our knowledge of the type, depth and breadth of information required by the Regulator
  • Our understanding and experience of current HSE ‘hot topics’ and the latest developments and approaches to major hazards
  • Completion of a Safety Report gap assessment against the latest requirements
  • Post-submission support to handle ‘further information’ requests

ESR Technology offer a tailored approach to COMAH. We carry out a preliminary assessment to determine the level of analysis required for a specific site, followed by a systems review and risk assessment to determine the potential major accidents and associated consequences, frequency and impact both on and off-site. The measures in place are reviewed to determine whether they are adequate to ensure that ALARP principles can be demonstrated or that Best Available Techniques have been applied for environmental risks.

This structured approach ensures that costs for improvements are minimised and that, where necessary, they are clearly justified on the grounds of providing cost effective risk reduction. Following Safety Report submission, ESR Technology personnel are able to offer operations and regulatory experience in assisting in understanding and responding to HSE Specialist Inspector queries and ‘legal actions’ following Intervention visits.

More Information ?

If you would like to know more about how ESR Technology can support you with your COMAH needs please contact Terry Atkinson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or you can visit us at the upcoming “Virtual” IChemE Hazards 30 Process Safety Conference where we are a Silver Sponsor, presenting a technical paper on Assessment of Dropped Loads and have an Exhibition Stand

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