Signature Industries Ltd

Communication suppliers

Following a company restructure over the last few years, Signature Industries Ltd now operates two divisions, Signature Communications and SARBE Search and Rescue.

Signature Communications (SC) supplies radio communication solutions for a number of industries and is one of the largest distributors of two-way radio communication equipment in the UK. The company has a specific focus on the oil and gas industries, providing a range of intrinsically safe equipment for use in hazardous environments. An authorised distributor for a number of major manufacturers, SC has built up a 17-year relationship with Motorola and is a top five distributor for the brand within the UK. Currently SC turns over approximately £3 million per annum and employs 24 staff.

Working within both the onshore and offshore industries, SC has a reputation for building long-lasting strong client relationships. The company’s customer base ranges from refinery and rig operators, which SC supplies directly, to the major equipment suppliers of the oil and gas industries that source equipment from a variety of distributors. SC’s expertise and experience means it is able to provide custom built solutions that meet clients’ particular needs. The company continuously invests in its equipment to ensure product efficiency and that current safety standards are met.

The company also has one of the largest stocks of intrinsically safe radios for rental within the UK. John Grant, director & general manager of Signature Industries, elaborates on this area of the business: “In the oil and gas industries maintenance is paramount and there are times when companies need to bring in large numbers of contractors. It is essential that these contractors have operational communication that is safe and efficient, which is where our rental department comes in.”

SC offers a full range of other services including communication accessories such as batteries, carry cases and microphones to extend the operational capabilities and flexibility of its radio products. The company also provides a complete system solution service, which because of its call processing set-up, is scalable to individual needs with additional channels or coverage.

When working within hazardous industries, safety is a vital requirement, right down to communications equipment. Two-way radios that are to be used in potentially dangerous environments must meet the current ATEX classification, which is a European Union directive and replaces the old Cenelec industry standard. John explains the importance of using certified equipment: “A lot of these industries deal in potentially flammable or explosive materials and a major hazard is the possibility of a spark igniting. It is vital that only intrinsically safe equipment is used within certain zones and that the right classification of radio equipment is used in the right area.”

These strict safety regulations mean that one of the most popular products SC deal in is the Motorola ATEX radio, which is now available in blue, making it more distinguishing. This blue colouring is designed for companies using more than one type of radio and ensures that only the ATEX approved radio is taken into potentially hazardous environments. John describes the various systems available: “The Motorola ATEX radio is available in a number of options tailored to the different infrastructures it needs to operate in. Most clients only require the speak and listen system, but in some cases they may need what is known as a trunked system, which allows many users to communicate at the same time. This may also include emergency alarms, text messaging, ‘man down’ alarms, telephone interconnect, loan worker and private ‘one-to-one’ conversations. We are able to provide solutions for each of these scenarios.”

Other developments within the industry include the move from analogue radio equipment to digital, as John comments: “I think we’re now entering the digital revolution, so where analogue equipment has been standard for the last 40 years, now it’s all moving towards being digital. Digital radio has become mainstream within the commercial industry and I expect this will be the case in the oil and gas industries with the arrival of the ATEX approved Digital Portable in early 2011.”

Although the recession has affected many markets growth, SC has continued to identify opportunities for development: “Although the sector isn’t growing on its own at the moment, we are seeing a thriving replacement market as Cenelec products continue to be updated with ATEX ones and the arrival of digital products. As we advance each year, health and safety regulations get tighter, so companies with a particular classification of radio may now need a higher one for working within certain zones. It is this need to upgrade and comply that forms a large sector of the market,” says John. With thoughts on the future, he concludes: “I would like to see the company become the number one supplier of ATEX radio solutions to the oil and gas industries, including equipment, services and rental, in the next five years.”

Signature Industries Ltd
Products: Radio communication equipment