Fulfilling Velocity’s potential as a world leading supplier of low carbon, high quality pothole repair technology has come a step closer with the major involvement of Pearson Engineering.
Velocity is well established in the UK having devised ‘velocity patching’ as an effective road repair technique plus developed the materials and vehicles for delivering the process. The company’s efforts have paid off in terms of appetite for its services and machines, with orders now coming in from overseas. But with success came a problem: how to meet growing demand while persisting with a policy of continuous improvement.
“Our factory at Sunderland was creaking at the seams,” says Velocity managing director Richard Jackson. Fortunately a remedy was close at hand. Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, Pearson Engineering Ltd is a highly successful manufacturer of military equipment and remote control electronics focused on countering mines. It has extensive engineering and production capabilities.
“Together we can broaden the Velocity offer and build on the company’s successes here and overseas.” RVL chairman John Reece
Pearson’s parent Reece Ventures Ltd (RVL) has a policy of investing in firms in the North East which complement its own skills and offer growth opportunities. It has taken a 50% stake in Velocity, making the road repair specialist a partner company to Pearson and other subsidiaries in the group.
“For us at Velocity this has opened up a vast array of resources, not just in manufacturing but in research and development, and such areas of expertise as the design and software for PLCs (programmable logic controllers),” says Richard Jackson. “Pearson will help us take velocity patching technology and the manufacture and operation of machines to a new level.”
Velocity’s patching technology has drawn plaudits from engineers around the UK and elsewhere for the high quality remediation of carriageway defects that can be achieved plus the overall low impact nature of the repair process. The system is based on use of high velocity air to clean potholes and then blast in asphalt. Specially formulated bitumen emulsion in the mix means the process is a cold one and thereby low in emissions of CO2.
Developed, designed and (until now) built in Sunderland by Velocity, the specialist trucks used for patching are semi automatic and match the high tech nature of the technology. Skilled operatives are required, but only two of them per vehicle. Low manual input plus the speed of the process means velocity patching costs less than one third of an equivalent conventional repair.
New partner Pearson is well equipped to take up the manufacture of Velocity machines and to assist with their development in future. The company’s range of military products – highly protective, designed for fitment to military land vehicles – is sold throughout the western world and is in extensive use in Afghanistan, for example, at the current time. The US Army is a major client, sometimes placing orders for thousands of items.
A proud claim is that the Pearson range quite literally saves lives. The company designs and develops all its products in house at its Newcastle base where it has considerable facilities for manufacturing: Pearson is quite accustomed to mass manufacture.
“I am very pleased with our involvement in Velocity which is a great company with a high quality product,” says RVL chairman John Reece. “Together we can broaden the Velocity offer and build on the company’s success both here and overseas. An objective for us is to bring more wealth and employment to the North East.”
Richard Jackson describes the coming together of Velocity and Pearson as a mutually beneficial merger and says the Velocity name will remain. The company will continue to offer velocity patching road remediation services as well as market its machines. But velocity machine production has already moved into one of Pearson’s big Tyneside sheds, which is a relief to Mr Jackson.
“Demand has been growing for our vehicles, to an extent that was close to outstripping our capacity to produce them in Sunderland. Recent additional orders for seven velocity patching machines from South Africa and two from the Gulf were causing us to sweat.”
Keeping up with demand is no longer a worry, nor is maintaining a policy of continuous improvement. Jackson points out that the support of Pearson’s manufacturing side is not the only resource Velocity will enjoy – the abilities of others within the group will also be in reach.
One of Pearson’s specialisms is providing systems for the safe and reliable operation of any vehicle from a remote location. “They really do have that kind of expertise,” Mr Jackson says. Other Pearson systems are likely to find their way into Velocity machines in the near future. “We want to employ new PLCs to improve our road patching process and vehicles, to make everything more effective and efficient, to cut emissions, effect economies of fuel and reduce our carbon footprint.”
“Lean, green Velocity patching machines” is a phrase Richard Jackson likes.
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