A pioneering company, Armada Engineering are world leaders in marine hydraulics as well as providers of innovative solutions to a growing range of engineering challenges.
6 | Apr | 2018
Armada Engineering has been operating since 1989, providing specialist engineering services and supplies to the marine industry. With a staff of 24, the company is based in a 10,000 square feet purpose built facility at Bickland Industrial Park in Falmouth.
Armada Engineering has exceptional expertise in marine hydraulics and are regarded as world leaders in this field. Their highly skilled team of engineers has worked on a wide range of vessels, including grey ships, commercial survey ships and superyachts. They have carried out projects at numerous shipyards around the world, conducting surveys, installations, re-fits and maintenance.
Over recent years, Armada Engineering has branched out into offshore renewables, where it has been commissioned to carry out a number of pioneering projects. It was involved in setting up the very first tidal arrays in the UK, located off the coast of Scotland. Here, Armada Engineering was responsible for building the massive powerpacks for Rolls Royce Tidal Generation that are at the heart of this facility.
Armada Engineering has also played an important role in the construction of the Westermost Rough offshore wind farm, situated in the North Sea, five miles off the coast of Yorkshire. The huge turbine towers were laid on barges to be transported to the site from Newcastle. Armada Engineering designed and built the hydraulics for the upending buckets which were needed to lift these massive structures into position. This was the first time that hydraulics had been used in this way on a windfarm construction project of this scale.
Solving tough engineering problems like these is at the heart of the company’s operation, as their Managing Director, Joff Collins, explains:
“The superyachts sector has been a really important growth area for our business, and one that is always presenting us with unique one-off challenges.
“For example, we are involved with the world’s fastest superyacht, which is owned by the Aga Khan. This is a fantastic vessel that is powered by two massive Rolls Royce engines, delivering a top speed of 68 knots. Our brief was to create and build a hydraulic starting system for these engines. This starting system was the only one of its kind in the world and, as you can imagine, the amount of torque that it needed to generate was huge.
“We worked very closely with the Rolls Royce team to the develop the system and prove its performance with extensive sea trials. We now have an ongoing involvement in looking after and maintaining this superyacht, so that it keeps operating at peak performance.
“Another superyacht client presented us with a very different type of challenge. The owner wanted the swimming pool on their yacht to be variable in depth so that, for example, it could be made shallower when the children were using it. Some clever engineering and innovative use of hydraulics enabled us to create a system that would raise and lower the pool floor to pre-determined levels, depending on the water depth they required. At the uppermost position it became the dance floor– complete with light panels! The whole system was controlled by a touch-screen located by the pool.”
Joff sees this ability to diversify as a crucial strength of the business:
“We have been able to take our engineering skills into new growth areas and find innovative applications for our expertise. This is vital in order to keep the company moving forward and a world leader in our field.
“Our pioneering work in superyachts has been very successful for us and we can see a lot more potential in this sector, especially in the European superyachts market. We have really only scratched the surface of what we could achieve in the long-term on a worldwide stage.”
Cornwall has proved to be a very successful base for the business. Joff says:
“I was born and raised in Cornwall, so I know very well the great strength of the marine industry here and the excellent talent pool and supply chain that we have.
“In fact, Cornwall’s engineering heritage stretches right back to the Industrial Revolution and the growth of tin mining. The region has always been at the forefront of innovation in engineering. The current growth of new sectors like marine renewables feels like a modern-day Industrial Revolution.
“We have an exceptionally good facility at our Falmouth base, while our Cornwall location also enables us to collaborate with other local companies on large projects, such as with A&P and Pendennis Shipyard - one of the world leaders in luxury superyachts.
“It is important that we are able to service customers around the world, and therefore excellent communications are vital for us. So the superb superfast broadband network in Cornwall is a valuable asset for our business. We have a ‘Fibre To The Premises’ connection which enables us to achieve ultrafast speeds. We have an online retail operation and we are planning to develop this side of our business further. Superfast broadband gives us the scope to take this to the next level and operate globally, regardless of location.
“We are now in an excellent position to take advantage of the significant worldwide growth opportunities for our business over the coming years.”