Two National Grid maintenance workers repairing a gas pipeline


December 2019

PMC remove defective Pig Trap in record time

A defective pig trap was creating issues such as additional isolations, increased monitoring frequencies and restricting the ability to conduct PSSR and In-line inspections.

PMC were engaged in August 2019 and advised that the works needed to be completed by a critical date of December 31st 2019.

The PMC project team quickly progressed with design options, site surveys, material and stress analysis, weld suitability procedures and material procurement.

 Approximately 12 weeks after the initial conversations, the modification approval for phase 1 was issued. The Pig Trap and associated pipework was craned from its existing position after a careful removal operation, successfully removing the asset from the Network.

Phase 2 of the works is due to start in February 2020, where a newly designed and pre-fabricated sub assembly including bridle pipework will be tied in to the new flanged connection point.

Horndon pig trap



March 2019

Actuator refurbishment at Colmworth leads to cost savings within East area

Investigation of block valves on Feeder 7 helped to identify a new way of rebuilding actuators to improve valve operability and deliver cost savings

While undertaking valve maintenance works within East area, Pipeline Technicians James Harrison and Robin Day discovered that several block valves within the area were inoperable. Block valves isolate sections of a Feeder if required, via an actuator which drives the valve. Upon investigation, they found that block valves at four sites – Colmworth, Murrow, Great Raveley and Whittlesey – were unavailable due to issues with their Ledeen hydraulic actuators.

Starting at Colmworth, they stripped down the actuator to discover the piston and shaft seals had failed. This rendered the valve inoperable.

Working closely with Kevin Paine, PMC Operations Manager at Ambergate, they sourced a complete new seal set for the actuator for £160. The piston cylinders also needed reconditioning which costs £80 per actuator. A complete new actuator costs approximately £15k in parts alone, so this refurbishment work has delivered a significant cost saving.

Following the work at Colmworth, refurbishments have been carried out at Great Raveley and Murrow and they have stripped down the actuator at Whittlesey, ready for rebuild.

James said “So far, we have concentrated our efforts on block valves within the East area, but we are currently in talks with West area, as they have several actuators we are planning to overhaul.

I am really proud of our achievements so far in getting plant status defects shut down. I am hoping to share this best practice across all three operational areas, so that others can rebuild problem actuators at their sites. It has been really rewarding working in such a cost-effective way and taking real pride in our sites”.

colmworth actuator



August 2018

A team from PMC transform and revitalise local children’s nursery garden play area!

A small team from PMC Ambergate spent an afternoon giving back to the local community by transforming the play area of its local charity children’s nursery. Ambergate District Nursery has been in the community for over 50 years and relies on charitable donations.

Josh Eades (Project Engineer) says: “The team did amazing work in the time we had. We conducted tasks such as trimming down apple trees and ivy, replacing the sand, constructing a mud pit, laying AstroTurf, de-weeding and pressure washing the entire area, fence painting – you name it we did it!”

Prior to the day, Nick Szczepkowski (PMC’s adult trainee) constructed a tee-pee and a workbench for the children at the depot in Ambergate using reclaimed wood pallets.

Josh continues: “I want to say a big thank you to the team and also to JC Balls of Ambergate who donated the top soil and the sand. It’s great to be able to help the local community and I encourage my colleagues to come up with ideas for the next project.”

The team on the ground was made up of Josh Eades, Darryl Mason, Dale Vyse, Carl Ford, and Maxine Tomkiss.

amber gate nursery college



May 2018

Team work prevails in 70km charity mountain bike challenge

PMC technicians Rich Wild, Alan Dales, Gary Donaghey and Matt Brough all took part in the race the British Heart Foundation calls its “most technical mountain bike challenge”! Cycling in the Peak District’s Hope Valley with around 500 other riders, the team completed the race in 7 hours, raising around £800 for the British Heart Foundation charity.

Rich Wild says: “Working as a team, we completed ten weeks of intensive training, cycling ten hours per week off-road to ensure we developed our technicals skills ready for the arduous terrain. We had to ensure that our diet was spot on to keep our energy up and we also had to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.

During the race, the scenery was absolutely stunning but the track was very difficult. One of the hills was four miles! Over the course of the race we gained 5000 feet in altitude. There were also really tough downhill sections with boulders and rocks which were quite dangerous.”

Alan Dales says: “It was a great day but tough at the same time! We had some obstacles to overcome on the day, the tyres in my bike were under pressure so I had to spend a while sorting that out before I even got started! We also had a few minor injuries in the team that had been picked up during training so we had to ensure no other injuries happened on the day.

We started as a team and we ended as a team, we all waited for each other and motivated each other through the difficult parts. It was a great team bonding experience. 

Thank you to all the generous people at PMC and our friends and family that have sponsored us.”




May 2018

Valve maintenance solution wins Josh place in national final
Josh Eades, Operations Engineer for Pipelines Maintenance Centre won the semi-final of the IGEM Young Persons paper competition. Josh will now appear in the final in Birmingham on 14 June.

Josh said: “I presented my innovation project on growing a range of technologies which can address aspects of valve maintenance and, specifically, focusing on buried valves which are suffering from corrosion caused by water ingress. The project is structured to identify a number of new ideas, and then challenge their appropriateness using basic engineering tools, in order to produce a short-list of potential solutions, paying attention to 3 main aspects, ‘Assess, Clean and Protect.’ I’m looking forward to representing PMC at the final.”

Josh eades IGEM win