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£56k green boost for precision components firm

An Oldham manufacturer is set to save more than £56,000 a year after installing an extensive rooftop solar panel system and energy efficient equipment at its factory.

Bradley Manufacturing produces springs, wire forms and pressed components - specialising in sheet metal fabrication and finishing services, including CNC manufacturing, laser cutting, punching, bending and forming, automated powder coating and sublimation printing. 

The third-generation family company also has product testing and electrical assembly capabilities and has recently branched out into making LED light fittings.

The firm’s 146,000sq. ft state-of-the-art factory in Chadderton, Oldham, was already a relatively efficient facility before its latest green additions, with LED lighting fitted throughout and an extensive de-stratification fan system in place to drive warm air from the roof down to working height.

However, with support from specialist resource efficiency advisors at GC Business Growth Hub, managing director Nigel Bradley took things a step further in 2018.

“As a manufacturer with a large footprint, it’s important that we continually look for ways to reduce our overheads - especially energy costs, which is a win-win because it also helps to reduce our environmental impact”, Nigel explained.

Cost benefits

Working with Growth Hub experts to identify and quantify new opportunities, Bradley Manufacturing invested £275,000 in a new variable speed compressor, waste heat recovery and a solar PV system spanning two buildings.

The variable speed compressor is smaller and more efficient than its predecessor, while the waste heat recovery system saves on gas heating by recycling heat from the compressor. Together, the equipment is anticipated to save £15,500 a year on electricity and gas, against a £25,000 investment.

However, the equipment was eligible for 50 per cent grant funding from the Growth Hub, so Bradley Manufacturing’s total investment will actually pay back in less than a year.

The solar PV system is split across two buildings, with a total generating capacity of 398kWp. The panels are expected to generate £41,000 a year in electricity savings, Feed in Tariff subsidy and revenue from selling excess power to the grid, meaning the £250,000 upfront investment will pay back in around six years.

Other benefits

But the cost savings are only part of the story. “On top of the immediate financial benefits, Bradley Manufacturing will also benefit from improved energy security and the opportunity to add battery storage to their solar system in future to help manage their electricity demand more efficiently”, explained Claire Scott, environmental business advisor at GC Business Growth Hub.

“The new improvements also add up to 170 tonnes of annual carbon emissions avoided - reducing Bradley Manufacturing’s impact on the climate considerably.”

Nigel Bradley added: “GC Business Growth Hub’s support with our investment has been invaluable. We look forward to continuing our partnership - the next step is to explore how we can increase our throughput against overheads such as energy, raw materials and processing time.”

To find out more about the Hub’s support for Greater Manchester SMEs, or to read other success stories, click here.