A clear vision
Founded in 1993 by George Silk and his son Richard, Mirage Machines combined a team of highly skilled engineers with vast experience in design and manufacture to develop a range of portable machine tools. Following more than a decade of success, Mirage Machines joined the Acteon Group, a global subsea services business, which provided the company with the foundations for international growth.
Discussing the company’s developments, managing director and co-founder Richard Silk begins: “Mirage’s engineering pedigree originates from the design and manufacture of the Silk 700S motorcycle, which was designed and built as a UK manufactured motorcycle in the 1970s. George Silk went onto design the Silk range of portable machine tools before establishing Mirage Machines in 1993. Today, Mirage is still run by the Silk family; I am responsible for the day-to-day operations. Since joining Acteon Group we launched Mirage Subsea Inc in Houston as a subsidiary company in June 2013, which enables us to better service our customers, particularly those involved in subsea operations, in North America.”
Keen to remain at the forefront of on-site machining technology, Mirage Machines strives to ensure its global client base, which operates across sectors including energy, nuclear, offshore, subsea and renewable, to performon-site operates in an efficient, safe and effective manner. Examples of applications that can be undertaken with Mirage Machines include flange facing, hot tapping and line stopping, orbital milling, drilling, linear and gantry milling, tapping, line boring and pipe & casing cutting. “We work for both national oil companies and their maintenance teams along with the global service contractors who carry out the shut down or maintenance services for the oil majors.
“Through an agile and responsive service, Mirage provides standard specification products but can also design, manufacture and test bespoke solutions with short lead times. Our oil and gas offering is centred around maintenance of pipelines and flange integrity management, with our products able to return flanges to original specification in-situ or to enable the flange to be cut off and weld prep applied to the pipe to accept replacement flanges.”
Able to provide full CE certification for all of its products, the ISO 9001:2008 manufacturer became a finalist in the Excellence in Manufacturing category at the Derby Telegraph Business Awards. This recognition was followed by the innovative company winning the Outstanding Export Award in the EEF/Aldemore Future Manufacturing Awards in February 2015. Celebrating the achievements of manufacturers that have successfully developed and implemented a new export strategy, the award is testament to the hard work Mirage Machines has put into expanding its customer base. Today more than 80 per cent of the company’s products are exported across 69 countries, with its main client base active in Australia, South East Asia, the Middle East and North America.
“After several years of having a distributor in Australia, we decided we needed a constant presence in the region with technical capabilityto expand and support our growing customer base,” confirms Richard. “The market we serve is primarily the LNG plant fabrication and commissioning phases for Gorgon, Wheatstone, Curtis Island and Icthys. Once the plant has been commissioned there is then ongoing maintenance over its lifetime with the service companies. This decision led to us recently setting up a new base in Perth, Australia; we will also further expand our business in the latter half of 2015 in Singapore to service the demand in South East Asia, and particularly China.”
One reason behind the company’s growth in China is its innovative development of a unique hot tapping machine range, which is specifically designed for use in any pipeline and wellheadmaintenance project, as Richard highlights: “For a number of years, hot tapping pipelines has been carried out with equipment designed to carry out the process in pipelines of up to 600 (1480 psi working pressure). We have developed a hot tapping machine to work at pressures up to 5000 psi as we see the pipelines increase working pressures and can cause difficult operating conditions. Through this patented technology, we have now expanded our client base from Houston to China.”
Despite the current challenges within the oil and gas market, Richard notes that Mirage Machines has remained successful through innovation, a focus on customer satisfaction and diversification of its product portfolio: “Our portfolio covers the life span of assets from fabrication and installation of offshore and subsea assets through its life with ongoing maintenance through to its decommissioning at the end of its life. We have also diversified the industries we work with over the course of growing the business; the renewable energy sector is the latest industry that we have developed solutions and products for.”
Over the coming years, the future looks positive for Mirage Machines as it continues with expansion plans in Australia and Singapore throughout 2015 to service increasing sales in each region. Looking further ahead, Richard states: “Our company vision is to be an independent global supplier of portable machine tools that is renowned for best-in-class quality and service. Expanding this vision geographically with bases in Europe, the Middle east and Canada are within our five-year strategy.”
Mirage Machines Ltd
Services: Design and manufacture portable machine tools
Issue 122 July 2015