Tamworth innovators getting to grips with generation

One of the biggest breakthroughs in controlling electricity distribution for decades is being developed in the heart of the West Midlands.


Smart Grid

Smart Grid’s Mark Woolridge and MAS Advisor Roy Pulley

Tamworth-based Smart Innovations Grid, which has been supported by the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), has developed a state-of-the-art telemetry system that allows domestic and commercial users to monitor and re-use micro power generation from alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro.

No bigger than a normal industrial fuse, the ‘SIGg’ has taken three years to develop and bring to market and is proving extremely popular with early adopters including Newcastle United Football club, Ramada Hotels and a national pub chain.

Mark Woolridge, creator of the groundbreaking technology, picked up the story:  “I was at a seminar three years ago discussing the introduction of smart metering and issues around future power supply, when I had the ‘eureka’ moment.

“I’d just spent ten years at a global telematics specialist so understood the potential for remotely controlling and monitoring information on power usage. It was more a case of harnessing the capabilities of the technology into a system that would deliver an end benefit for the user.”

He continued: “After numerous discussions with industry experts, we settled upon a telematic solution that works on the principles of Smart Grid and can be used to manage the effective supply of micro power generation at houses, commercial and industrial premises.”

‘SIGg’ works by providing intelligence at both the sub stations that supply electricity and with the end user

Despite popular opinion, power generated by alternative energy sources cannot be forced back into the national grid so sits at the sub station and can cause a bottleneck of power.

The system uses the latest telemetry to monitor and manage the micro power generated so that it is stored and re-used within the property. This will massively reduce energy usage, cut costs and provide a ready-made solution to electricity distribution.

In addition to these benefits, ‘SIGg’ also provides real time data collection on all utilities and this can be accessed anywhere in the world through the Internet and a Smart Phone app.

“We’ve protected the intellectual property and now is the time to take it to market as quickly as we can. This approach seems to be building steam, with January and February our best ever months for sales and puts us on course for £1m+ this year,” explained Mark.

“The potential for ‘SIGg’ is phenomenal as its application is truly global. Early projections suggest that we could be turning over £7m by 2015, which will involve the creation of 15 direct new jobs and a further 30 in the UK supply chain, who look after our sub-contract manufacturing.”

The Manufacturing Advisory Service has been working with Smart Innovations Grid for a number of years on developing the system and exploring ways to protect its Intellectual Property.

Expert assistance through the New Product Innovation Programme ensured ‘SIGg’ met all the necessary approvals and electricity conformity standards, whilst also introducing Mark and the team to other support bodies and industry specialists.

MAS Advisor Roy Pulley continued: “This is a fantastic example of how we can help a fledging company take a great bit of technology and commercialise it into a product that will solve a real issue in power distribution.

“It is already creating local jobs directly and in the supply chain that helps manufacture the systems.  We will continue to work with the management team to take advantage of the huge opportunities out there.”

Smart Innovations Grid is also pioneering other telemetry solutions, including a product that monitors subsidence in buildings.

MAS, which is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), works for manufacturers and through experienced advisors can help shape strategy, create new products, reduce waste and review supply chains.

Companies can take advantage of a free review that identifies key priority areas and funding is available for improvement projects focused on strategy, increasing efficiency, developing new products, strengthening supply chains and growth.

For further information on Smart Innovations Grid visit www.siginside.com or contact 0845 0768 186.

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