University funds power company to invest in UK railways

23rd November 2017
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
University funds power company to invest in UK railways


A company which provides a range of products and services to the electrical power industry has doubled its turnover and recruited 15 new members of staff. The business was awarded £496,000 from the University of Derby’s Invest to Grow fund to develop new infrastructure and purchase a larger site.

EPS UK, based in Loughborough, specialises in designing innovative medium voltage switchgear solutions.

Prior to their engagement with the University, EPS’ owner, Brian McKean, had previous experience working on US railway projects and saw the potential to invest in the electrification of UK railways.

Following discussions with the government and Network Rail, EPS was invited to bid for a contract that would allow them to supply substations as part of the electrification for the UK railway network.

Due to the size and financial requirements of the project, EPS formed a joint venture called Switchgear Substation Alliance (SSA). The venture comprised of three companies; EPS, Electren and Giffen who, after a lengthy bidding process, were awarded the contract.

The University of Derby’s Invest to Grow scheme was a financial boost for the business as it allowed them to develop new infrastructure and equipment, alongside recruiting and training new staff.

The fund was also used to purchase larger premises in Nottingham and equip it appropriately as the site in Loughborough had limited space to assemble the equipment required for the contract.

McKean, Owner of EPS UK, said: “The funding from Invest to Grow has provided a springboard for the business to significantly develop its infrastructure, systems and processes.”

The Nottingham site has been equipped with new IT and CAD software that is recognised by Network Rail and BMI compliant. EPS has improved its accounting process by incorporating a Material Requirements Planning (MRP) systems to help fully understand costs.

Funding from the Invest to Grow scheme has enabled EPS to purchase their own on-site testing facility so that they no longer need to hire an external facility. These developments have sparked interest in organisations to hire out their facility along with trained staff.

McKean added: “We now have the capability to manufacture products, which has transformed the business and enabled us to scale up and compete for much larger contracts.

“Due to the Invest to Grow fund, and our ability to deliver the substation contract, we have experienced a significant increase in jobs.”

EPS has been approached by American and European switchgear companies who require UK based manufacturing partners, an opportunity it could have missed out on if it was not for their new capabilities.

The company is exploring the opportunity to develop, test and build a new product with a Spanish utility company, focusing on electric vehicles.

Mark Wheddon, Head of Delivery for Invest to Grow at the University, said: “We are delighted to support EPS with this exciting project. The funding from the scheme has given them the infrastructure and equipment they need to deliver this contract and grow their business; we very much look forward to collaborating with them in the future.”

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