Cheltenham based Spirax Sarco is a global leader in the design and manufacture of steam technologies, offering a comprehensive range of steam solutions to a variety of industries and processes. This well-known company can trace it routes back to 1888 when Sanders Rehders & Co. (‘Sarco’) began importing thermostatic steam traps from Germany into the UK. Prompted by growing demand and motivated by the knowledge that in-house designed steam traps would constitute an improvement on the imported models, in 1932 the company began manufacturing in United Kingdom under the Spirax brand name.
Spirax Sarco now employs over 5,000 steam experts across a global network of Operating Companies, Sales Offices and Manufacturing sites. Since it was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1959, the company has gone from strength to strength and remains a constituent of the FTSE 250 today.
Steam is widely acknowledged as the most cost effective way of distributing energy in the form of heat, around a plant or institution for use in a variety of processes. As a leader in the field, Spirax Sarco is able to provide an industry leading product range, combined with the support services and expertise needed to enable its customers to optimise their manufacturing processes through effective use of steam. In addition to designing, installing and commissioning new facilities, Spirax Sarco helps its customers to optimise existing steam systems, upgrade steam plants and to maintain performance through scheduled maintenance routines.
The BS EN ISO 9001:2008 registered company’s impressive integrated fabrication facility is able to deliver pre-assembled packages of products, from simple valve train units through to complex steam systems.
To enable the effective operation of Spirax Sarco’s quality system the company employs a multitude of instruments and gauges that need to be calibrated monitored and traced to their locations.
Amanda Shakespeare of Spirax Sarco, Cheltenham explained. “Given both the health and safety and commercial implications of the failure in the field of our products, Spirax Sarco administers a strict quality regime. Our exacting quality standards are a major reason for the excellent reputation Spirax Sarco now enjoys throughout the world.
“To enable a multitude of different checks and inspection routines to be carried-out, we currently have more than 12,000 instruments in active service, all of which need to be calibrated, the vast majority of this work takes place on-site. In addition to numerous analogue and digital dimensional gauges, such as micrometers, calipers and bore gauges, we also use countless specialised instruments across a broad range of diverse disciplines, such as pressure, material analysis, mass and electrical testing. Not only do we need to adhere to each individual instrument’s calibration schedule, we need to analyse its wear rate and track its location throughout our sites.
“As the volume of instruments being sent to commercial calibration laboratories reached a critical level some time ago it was decided that a first-class, on-site calibration facility, with results traceable to UKAS (The United Kingdom Accreditation Service).should be established. Now fully operational, in addition to making commercial sense, the facility’s ability to calibrate and return critical instrument to production in hours, as opposed to days, and sometimes weeks when sent for external calibration, aids the company’s overall efficiency.
“Having previously used a fairly limited DOS based gauge management software system in our calibration facility, to help improve our efficiency we undertook a search for a more up to date product. After narrowing our search and arranging demonstrations of the four most suitable systems, impressed by its advanced capabilities, we purchased IndySoft’s calibration and asset management software.
“As well as having all of the features that we were looking for, IndySoft software proved extremely flexible, fast, easy to use and it had an excellent reporting function. In addition, the company were able to guarantee high levels of after sales back-up.
“Not only did IndySoft’s staff provide excellent initial training and help us to configure the software to suit our specific needs, on the rare occasion that we experience a difficulty, IndySoft provide an instant response.
“As our gauge inventory has expanded and our calibration work-load has grown, had we persevered with our previously used DOS based software system, the administration of our calibration system would now be a logistical nightmare. The speed and ease of use of the IndySoft system has helped us to ensure the continued effective administration of our busy calibration function. In addition, the availability of IndySoft software up-dates makes our system future proof.
“Each working day, the IndySoft system provides a comprehensive list of gauges to be calibrated, and importantly for us, their locations. Once calibrated, the system up-dates the gauges history, provide a fail/pass decision and gives us access to analysis tools. It really helps that all relevant information is displayed in a logical way with excellent graphics.”
IndySoft users benefit from the system’s continuous evolution. Many years of real-world software development and rigorous testing by true professionals has ensured that IndySoft is now an acknowledged leader in the field of Calibration and Asset Management Software.
Over many years, IndySoft has regularly introduced innovative new products feature that have quickly become established as industry standards throughout the sector. IndySoft’s paperless system with full audit trails has recognition of compliance to many quality standards, such as AS9100, QS9000, TS16949, ISO9000, FDA 21CFR Part 11 and ISO17025.”
Calibrations can be performed on a pass/fail basis, test point results or even from embedded Excel or Word documents. A software module is included allowing users to perform studies such as R&R, Linearity, Bias, Stability, Failure Logs etc.
Managing Director of IndySoft Europe, Jake Bishop added. “More often than not we supply IndySoft software to in-house calibration facilities and commercial calibration laboratories that have previously been using manual systems. So it is particularly rewarding when companies such as Spirax Sarco chose to replace their less efficient, existing software systems with IndySoft Calibration and Asset Management Software. Invariably, potential customers currently using inferior software packages recognise their inherent limitations and have formulated ‘wish lists’ of features needed in a replacement system. As IndySoft Calibration and Asset Management Software delivers all of the required elements, when given the opportunity to demonstrate, in the vast majority of cases, IndySoft is chosen as the replacement system.
“In addition to its suitability for managing the gauge stocks of smaller concerns, IndySoft software’s un-matched ability to administer extremely large inventories, that include multiple gauge categories with mixed calibration schedules, across multiple sites, renders it ideal for use within the most demanding of situations. These attributes meant that IndySoft was the ideal answer to Spirax Sarco needs.
“Much of IndySoft Europe’s remarkable sales success has been due to satisfied customers recommending our software to other potential users. IndySoft Calibration offers the most flexible and easy to use calibration system. New users are able to calibrate equipment and generate certificates of calibration ‘Out of the box’.
“Through the use of an exclusive process modelling engine, IndySoft users can configure their own, event driven systems with checkpoints and rules set at every point along the equipment path. This flexibility ensures that assets are handled according to company’s existing work-flow and procedures. Users are able to track all equipment as it moves about their businesses, manage schedules such as preventative maintenance, calibration, service/repair, and create user defined timetables.”