Cochran - Case Studies


Boiler Operation & Safety Awareness Hotel Seminars


SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences


The Use of Biomass - General Paper


Byworth Boilers win prestigious Award


CEA Yearbook 2016-2017


TV Crew & 'The Vital Spark' Steam Puffer Visit Cochran


'It's those damn bean counters again


Byworth expands its reach in Scotland to deliver a better customer experience


Maxecon Boilers - NDT Inspection Issue


Benefits of CEA membership - CEA Endorsement

A retired industrial Engineer who is now working as a competent person inspecting Heritage Steam Plant and equipment.


I have found individual membership beneficial to myself along with BOAS accreditation. BOAS accreditation was an important part of professionally proving my competence to operate and look after steam plant. I found that maintaining membership was useful in assisting to keep me up to date with changes as they happened around the steam industry.

The Combustion Engineering Association Conference and workshop programme allows you to absorb legislation and your responsibilities with a group of likeminded people and together improve your knowledge and understanding of the subject. All the speakers know their subject and you get the chance to interact with them and get advice in plain English. The sessions are practicable and relevant with a chance to interact with others operating steam equipment where you can also share your experiences.

Membership also gives you the chance to get involved with the C.E.A. and help to make a difference. Their work on the Boiler Operator Accreditation, Boiler Feed Water (BG04) and Industrial Gas Accreditation Scheme (I-GAS) which needed members to get together and write and set up the system and documents. This needs input from experts in their respective fields as well as some input from the intended recipients. If we put nothing in ourselves to CEA we will get nothing out, so attending and taking part will help you, others and the C.E.A.


Keith Hawkins

Eng Tech MSOE MIPlantE



Cochran - Case Studies

The Central Campus Energy Solution

Turnkey Case Study (read here)

Having previously supplied Aberdeen Royal Infirmary with steam boilers back in the 1986, Cochran were contracted to provide the main steam generation equipment for the new Foresterhill Health Campus Energy Centre. Commissioned in June, the plant was operational by August 2012.


Increasing Efficiency and Reducing Fuel Costs

Efficiency Case Study (read here)

BillerudKornas Beetham at Milnthorpe in Cumbria is a world leader in the manufacture of speciality papers for healthcare and food packaging markets. Recently BillerudKornas made the decision to replace their existing 40-year-old boilers in order to reduce the fuel and maintenance costs.


Evolve Polymers
Recycling Waste Heat into Valuable Energy

Heat Recovery Case Study (read here)

Cochran recently installed a Heat Recovery Boiler system for Evolve Polymers at Hemswell in Lincolnshire. The project which made use of exhaust heat from two gas engines was completed in association weith leading generator hire company, Aggreko. 


Boiler Operation & Safety Awareness Hotel Seminars

Cochran Ltd is pleased to announce the popular 1 day Boiler Operation and Safety Awareness hotel seminar at various locations throughout 2016.

Supported by the CEA the seminar has been designed for personnel responsible for attending to Boiler Plants on a regular or intermittent basis such as Plant Managers, Security Guards and Shift Operatives.  It also benefits personnel responsible for matters relating to Health and Safety and indeed anyone requiring a comprehensive overview of the efficient operation of the Boiler Plant.



Tuesday 7th June 2016

Mercure Burton Upon Trent Newton Park Hotel

Newton Solney


DE15 0SS

Tuesday 16th August 2016

Mercure Livingston

Almond View


EH54 6QB

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Mercure Wetherby

Leeds Road


LS22 5HE


The seminar designed to provide a basic understanding of the everyday operation of boiler and burner plants.  The seminar consists of a series of illustrated talks and demonstrations, with course members being encouraged to question and actively participate.

The seminar costs £375.00 plus VAT, per person, and includes all course literature, morning coffee, buffet lunch and afternoon tea and Certificate of Attendance and it covers the following topics: 

  • Boiler Fittings
  • Combustion and the use of Various Boiler Fuels
  •  Boiler Construction
  • Essential Routines, Daily and Weekly Checks
  • Basic Water Treatment
  • Boiler House Health and Safety
  • Actions in Emergencies
  • Question and answer session


To book call Cochran Training Department on 01461 202111.  Further information on Cochran training courses are available at


SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences

The CEA are happy to support its members, SAACKE Combustion Services, Enersol Flomar - M&M training and Torque Engineering who are hosting this Energy, Emissions and Efficiency Conference, along with SSE Enterprise looking at Micro CHP. 

Below is the SAACKE 2016 conference programme, please book directly with SAACKE using the flyer booking form or contacting via

This conference will also give you a flavour of the more detailed CEA two day conference workshops to be held at Crewe Hall, Cheshire 14 - 16th June and the Cambridge Belfry Hotel, Cambridge 12 - 14th July, covering in more depth your legal obligations when operating combustion plant and carrying out Technical Boilerhouse Risk Assessment.

For more information please contact or see our events page.

The CEA have organised a third day at each venue, Crewe Hall and the Cambridge Belfry with topics covered:

  • Crewe Hall - a mix of MCPD updates, Industrial Gas Accreditation (I-GAS) and boiler water treatment (BG04). 
  • Cambridge Belfry hotel - Biomass Health & Safety Awareness after recent boiler explosions. It is designed for Owners, Installers, Operators and Managers of biomass systems. 

See SAACKE Programme of Regional Conferences Here


The Use of Biomass - General Paper



A Summary Paper - COSHH Hazards arising with the storage of wood fuel

Author: A J Nicol BSc CEng MEI


It is appropriate to note that the comminution of aged timber will produce dust of all sizes including tiny particulate regardless of fuel specification. That dust will contain or have attached any of the residues of any chemical treatments etc and will because of its size remain airborne for long periods, post shredding and movement. Inhalation will present a COSHH risk (particularly with organo-chlorides) and will, very likely, with accumulation present an explosion risk. The risk of explosion will be most acute with enclosure e.g. above conveyors that are enclosed (reference the OSB investigation into the Imperial sugar explosion). Where wood is treated or where wood is wet and rotting wood is stored there is also the inherent risk of fungal growth and the attendant COSHH risk.

The use of Biomass has increased significantly over the last ten years. This increase is in large part due to a perception that biomass is green, clean and sustainable. These conceptions are in part driven by market pressure and in part underwritten with Government commercial interventions. The rapid development and deployment of biomass has alarmingly resulted in the un-informed design, review, installation and operation of allied storage and combustion technologies (with attendant fatality and injury)

Read the full paper here


The research and information and in particular the  formulation and execution of large scale trials for CO production from wood chip is very limited. There is sufficient evidence to show that large scale storage of any organic material but in particular soft wood lumber or chip will produce CO and generate and oxygen depleted high CO2 atmosphere. Where headspace ratio is small that will result in unacceptable CO levels.

Entry to a space storing large quantities of organic materials requires special and sensible consideration and precaution.

My consideration is based on this very limited data and analysis available for fresh wood chip. In the context of auto oxidative CO formation at least this will provide some safety margin because there is research available which suggests that the fatty content of wood reduces with age and accordingly the propensity to generate CO reduces.

Keeping the wood very dry will hamper biological degradations with attendant, CO, Methane and CO2 production, and for that reason ahigh fuel turnover and no dead spaces are preferable.

Ventilation must assure mixing or else stratification or binding may occur, creating pockets or layers of high CO concentration.

The detection systems must at least detect at the level where any human operator might be. Additional low and high level alarms might be used to provided a robust alarm system and warning of over pile CO build up and stratification.

Operational and maintenance activity that requires entry to a large store will merit special precaution. e.g. a risk assessed entry, COSHH test, extraction and evacuation procedures (written and tested) - and published emergency procedures to mitigate the effects of any Hazard being realised e.g. initial healthcare procedures for persons suspected of carbon monoxide poisoning or Oxygen deficiency.


Byworth Boilers win prestigious Award


Byworth Wins Prestigious Award at the House of Lords…

On the 22nd October, Byworth travelled down to London to attend the David Gunn Memorial Lecture & Lord Ezra Awards 2015 at the House of Lords.

The event was organised by the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA), a registered educational charity aimed at improving the understanding and development of the combustion industry. Originally formed in 1933, it advocates science and best practice of combustion and engineering, with a long history of promoting efficiency in the utilisation of all fuel types.

The event began with a fantastic lecture by Dr Stephen Payne OBE, the chief naval architect of the Queen Mary 2 (QM2) - Cunard's flagship ocean liner, which entered service in 2004. 

The entertaining anecdotes throughout the lecture included his childhood story of a single-minded determination to achieve a boyhood dream – to build a liner that would be reminiscent of the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QM2’s predecessor). What was perhaps more inspiring was his memories of a supportive teacher he had throughout his education and career. It was said teacher that persuaded Stephen to ‘follow his dreams’ which led him down his successful path. They both stayed in touch throughout Stephen’s career and unfortunately the teacher passed away just before the QM2 was first to set sail. A touching end to the story concluded when Stephen mentioned there was a plaque dedicated to his teacher hidden on the QM2 and he hopes one day it will be found and the inspirational story will be exposed.


Stephen Payne commands the attention of the audience with his entertaining lecture

The events of the afternoon turned to recognising the efforts of people within the industry. The pinnacle of which was the Lord Derek Ezra Award 2015 for achievement in areas of higher efficiency, safety and lower emissions in industrial combustion. 

It was then that Derry Carr, Chairman of the Association, announced Byworth Boilers had won this prestigious award for its Unity control system. Pete Waterman OBE, the Association’s President presented the award to Byworth which was accepted by the system’s creator, Jason Atkinson and Technical Director, Adrian Rhodes.





CEA Yearbook 2016-2017

The Combustion Engineering Association New Year book 2016/2017 is now available to read in the resource section of the website.


TV Crew & 'The Vital Spark' Steam Puffer Visit Cochran

Cochran Plays Host to 'The Vital Spark' as TV Company Documents Restoration of Famous Steam Puffer, the VIC 27 or ‘Auld Reekie’.

This vessel is possibly best known for her starring role as the Vital Spark in the 1994 TV series ‘The Tales of Para Handy’. Following her television debut, the puffer was left to rust and rot in Ardrishaig until 2008 when a team of puffer enthusiasts secured ownership of the vessel and rescued her from an imminent future on the scrapheap. From Ardrishaig, the engineless, leaky vessel was towed through the Crinan canal to Crinan Boatyard where her restoration would take place.


Since then, the restoration of the vessel has been filmed by television production company Caledonia TV and a 3-part series will be shown on the BBC later in the year. The camera crew visited Cochran along with John Dunlop, Managing Director of Crinan Boatyard, to film the latest progress on the boiler build.

The original Coal Fired Cochran Boiler, manufactured in 1943, was brought back to our factory for inspection but after thorough examination was condemned. However, Cochran have been tasked with the manufacture of a new, more efficient coal fired boiler replacement, using the old boiler as a template. The new boiler, rated at 1000kg/hr has a working pressure of 10 bar g. The boatyard will take delivery of the new boiler in the summer and thereafter, smoke will rise from the funnel of ‘Auld Reekie’ once again. 


Coal Fired Boiler positioned aboard the 'Vital Spark' Steam Puffer

Further to our news story in April 2015, the restoration of the famous Steam Puffer vessel named VIC 27 or 'Auld Reekie', (possibly best known as the 'Vital Spark' in the 1990's TV series) continues apace. Last week the Managing Director of the Crinan Boat Yard, John Dunlop along with a film crew from Caledonia TV, visited Cochran to document the Coal Fired Boiler's despatch for a 3-part BBC series following this restoration project.

The original Cochran boiler was manufactured over 70 years ago but was condemned after inspection and Cochran were tasked to manufacture a new more efficient replacement using the old shell as a template. 

The following day at the beautiful Crinan Boatyard, Lochgilphead, Argyll and Bute the boiler was expertly lifted in to position aboard the VIC27. The photos show this was a highly skilled task with extremely limited space in the old boiler house.  

Find out more about the restoration project here


'It's those damn bean counters again

Byworth’s resident bean counter, Rachel Westerman discusses why capital projects should be looked at over the longer term rather than just focusing on the initial outlay of money.



Rachel Westerman, Byworth Boilers’ Financial Director

“Recently we invested in new welding machinery for the factory. Rather than just looking at the capital costs, we based the investment on the running costs (including electricity, welding consumables and labour). Buying more efficient and up-to-date machinery can cost a substantial amount but the project payback was definitely worth the additional costs. It will only take us 3 years to recover the investment, and this does not take into account the reduced labour time which can now be put to better use making more fuel efficient boilers.

“Although looking at projects in this way takes longer and in some cases is more difficult to quantify, it does work out better for all stakeholders to calculate the overall investment before signing that purchase order.

“Our Yorkshireman 2 boiler is expensive when compared to other boilers (even our own Yorkshireman) but the savings from lower running costs should outweigh the additional capital expenditure in a relatively short space of time. Fuel is set to start rising again in the near future so this needs to be taken into account when considering your investment.

“It is disappointing when the sales team report back to me that although we are favoured by the engineers, once it gets passed on to the purchasing and accounts people, it often becomes more about  the initial capital cost than the lifetime cost.

“I urge other ‘bean counters’ like me to consider the longer term investment (and reduced operating costs) rather than just what is in the capital budget for the year.”



Byworth expands its reach in Scotland to deliver a better customer experience

Following the success of their regional office in Stourbridge, Byworth Boilers are pleased to announce the opening of a second regional office in Glasgow.

The building spans  3000 square feet including a workshop and customer training facilities.

Driven by strong demand for their products and services across Scotland, this new regional office will help them support their rapidly growing customer base.

Alex McLean, Aftersales Office Manager (based at the new office) states:

“We are committed to continuously improving and developing the service in order to deliver the best customer experience; the new office will enhance our service offering for this audience.

“We share a bright future here in Scotland and we look forward to getting better acquainted with our Scottish customers and forming new relationships in this significant market.”

For more information please contact: or call our experts on +44 (0) 141 774 5066


Maxecon Boilers - NDT Inspection Issue


Please note that this is to let you know of an issue that has recently come to light. We don’t know the size of the installed population of this type of boiler so cannot judge this in any statistical sense.

NB. One of our members who run Maxecon Boilers has failed its NDT SBG01 examination.

Defects were found between the end plate and the furnace tubes, and on subsequent inspection a crack at the toe of the weld was found on the fillet weld of the end plate to shell. The crack starts at the 4 O’clock position and finishes at the 8 O’clock positions. In some places it is 10mm deep (the parent metal thickness is 20mm) and is a finger nail thickness crack.

According to an Insurance inspector, this is the 3rd Maxecon Boiler in three years that has failed the NDT in exactly the same way. All of these boilers were built in the early 70’s so have been in service for a significant length of time, often used as auxiliary boilers.

It was commented that it is good that this has been found now (2015), as it was not found at the last inspection in 2010. Their other Maxecon Boiler failed in 2010 with defects in the furnace tube. 

We would just like to make other owners of Maxecon Boilers aware of this possible problem and to specifically look for this at the next NDT inspection.

It is alway difficult to be sure where the crack originates from and how long it has been there, but the usual NDT on the shell to end plate would be 6 O’clock, 12 O’clock and 2 other position to a total of 20% of the total circumference.

The Furnace mouth is 100% checked every 5 years so the defect in this location had occurred after the previous NDT and within the last five years, this could be as a result of a more cyclic loading than previous boiler operations.




 16-07-2015                                                                                                                   End



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