With sales and service engineers covering the length and breadth of the country, Endress+Hauser Ltd is a wholly owned manufacturing, sales and service company headquartered in Manchester, UK, with a current workforce of around 200 personnel.
Part of the Swiss, family-owned Endress+Hauser Group, it was originally established in 1968 as a sales and marketing outlet with only 20 staff and has grown steadily over the years into the modern, innovative organisation that it is today. Although Endress+Hauser Ltd provides instruments, services and solutions across a range of process industries, over many years the company has established its credentials as a leading supplier of process automation for the oil and gas sector.
Swiss engineer Georg H Endress and German banker Ludwig Hauser founded the Endress+Hauser Group in Germany in 1953 with the primary activity of selling an electronic level sensor that was imported from England. The story of the rise of Endress+Hauser could be likened to that of the now universally recognised companies that emerged following the Internet revolution. Although Endress+Hauser today enjoys modern offices and facilities across the globe, Georg Endress’ first office was situated inside a converted bedroom before the electronic level sensor that the fledgling business sold turned into an almost instant success, allowing the company’s founders to quickly establish their own production facilities. Led by Georg’s son Klaus Endress since 1995, the Group has developed from a specialist in level measurement to a provider of complete solutions for industrial measuring technology and automation, with constant expansion into new territories and markets.
Today, Endress+Hauser boasts production facilities in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and South Africa as well as the US, China, India, Japan and Brazil and, as the company has continued to grow, its workforce has increased from 9400 employees in 2011 to 10,066 personnel in 2012. Despite challenging market conditions and investments into production facilities valued at 127 million euros, the Group saw an 11 per cent increase in sales to almost 1.7 billion euros during 2012, representing a record net income of 183 million euros. Endress+Hauser has set ambitious targets for 2013, anticipating an increase in net sales of ten per cent to around 1.9 billion euros. Although the company expects a slight decrease in operating profit and net income, this is due to investments in new buildings, plants, software and IT valued at a record high of 160 million euros, as well as increased investment in research and development and the creation of 550 additional jobs by the year’s end.
Endress+Hauser Ltd offers a complete range of technologies to meet application requirements in the oil and gas industry. The company covers all areas including exploration, production, refineries and logistics. Its products feature high reliability and availability as well as innovative technologies, demonstrated by the large number of innovation prizes awarded to the Group each year. In fact, Endress+Hauser’s patent applications have increased fourfold since 2000, growing to a record 230 in 2012.
The company owes its good reputation to industry know-how and to the creativity and commitment of its employees, who have a wealth of experience in providing bespoke engineering for the oil and gas sector. They offer highly complex tailored solutions to cater to clients’ exacting standards through the company’s Centre of Competence in Manchester, which is home to over 30 years of temperature engineering experience. The Centre offers specialist design and manufacture of industrial temperature assemblies including solid drilled thermowells to increase the safety of the process and the reliability of the sensors. Such expert knowledge in all aspects of temperature probe design and manufacturing techniques ensures the company is best-placed to provide solutions for high-end applications that are typical in the oil and gas industry. As well as speciality temperature engineering, Endress+Hauser Ltd offers an extensive range of primary flow devices from orifice plates and orifice carriers to flow nozzles and Venturi tubes for subsea applications, all designed and manufactured in Manchester. The bespoke design service is also used to manufacture level accessories such as bridles, stilling wells and dry wells from a number of different materials.
Commenting on the company’s focus, managing director David Newell says: “The company’s product range is vast because we have a portfolio of field instrumentation that covers the main measurement parameters of level, flow, pressure, temperature and water analysis. Today Endress+Hauser’s main aim is more to do with application engineering rather than the technical selling of the product. Our business has been growing steadily because we have the engineering competences that customers are looking for.”
A highly experienced and qualified core of engineers who facilitate its bespoke designs and mechanical engineering solutions underpins all of the company’s operations. Increasingly, one of the vital challenges across all of the process industries that Endress+Hauser Ltd operates in will be to ensure that companies are able to retain a suitable level of engineering staff over the coming years. “I think that anybody working in UK engineering today would say that there is a shortage of engineering skill sets,” David begins. “The apprenticeships that were in place do not exist in the same way as they did 25 years ago. And now, as those with existing engineering skill sets begin to retire, as I will myself within the next five years, these skill sets are set to decline rapidly. One of the company’s customers anticipates that its engineering skill set will decrease by 50 per cent over the next five years. So there are big initiatives going on in all areas of engineering and manufacturing, where companies are taking responsibility for their own training of young people.”
To combat the increasing skills gap, Endress+Hauser Ltd opened a brand new training centre to ensure that it will have engineers and expertise to carry it into the future. “We take our responsibility to train the engineers of the future seriously,” David notes. “In reality we have no choice but to offer our own training programmes due to the alarming shortage of engineering skills in the UK, which are made worse by the fact that universities are producing only 50,000 engineering graduates per year when the real requirement is closer to 100,000.”
The Endress+Hauser Application, Training and Engineering Centre was officially opened by Michael Portillo on 8th November 2013. The centre was completed at the company’s Manchester headquarters at a cost of £650,000 and features a 12-seater classroom fitted with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and interactive software. The training centre is also equipped with four process rigs, a purpose-built workshop and control room to allow trainees to get ‘hands on’ with engineering equipment. While the training centre will undoubtedly be an invaluable resource for the oil and gas sector, Endress+Hauser Ltd is committed to developing engineering skills across a range of industries. In conjunction with the new centre, the company is also forming close partnerships with numerous educational establishments, including schools, technical colleges, universities and apprentice training facilities.
As 2013 reaches its conclusion and 2014 rapidly approaches, Endress+Hauser Ltd is in a strong position to service all of its process industry partners, with oil and gas set to continue to be a key market. The years 2012 and 2013 have been important for the Group as it signed a global Enterprise Frame Agreement (EFA) with Shell, which makes it the preferred supplier across a host of measurement techniques and a joint supply partner on others. The five-year agreement has just entered its second year and will provide Endress+Hauser with strong business over the coming years. Prestigious projects like this highlight the world-class reputation that Endress+Hauser has earned and its UK division is certainly able to distinguish itself in the eyes of some of the world’s largest oil and gas operators. With the North Sea becoming an increasingly buoyant market, Endress+Hauser Ltd can expect strong business going into 2014. Looking forward, David has the last word: “I think there is a lot of investment going into the North Sea – all I see in the press is investment going into the area. One example of this is the Kraken field with EnQuest, which is a four billion pound investment. The government is now giving tax allowances to operators and companies are deciding that they are now in a position to invest in the North Sea again. So I think that the UK government has helped kick-start North Sea oil and gas investment.
“I don’t see any downturn in oil and gas potential over the next three to five years as long as the price of oil stays as it is at the moment. It is a well-known saying that as long as Brent oil stays at 100 dollars or above, people will still invest in the North Sea. So I can see the oil and gas sector being a key industry for Endress+Hauser for many years to come.”
Services: Industrial measurement and automation equipment