Robust, quiet and technologically advanced, Volt Safe is amongst the contractor friendly genset solutions on the market
Mather & Stuart Power Solutions has been a division of rental giant A-Plant for the past three years, but the company’s pedigree in machinery hire actually stretches as far back as 1992, when it was originally focused on the rental of welding equipment and associated products. It is, however, that 2016 acquisition that has precipitated record growth for the Lancashire firm. In that year the company would record a £6.5 million turnover from a one depot operation in Wigan. Fast forward to 2019 and Mather & Stuart can now supply its customers nationwide from an increased network of ten service centres, with an income increasing exponentially to nearly £20 million. Over that same time period, the fleet size has tripled from 650 generators in January 2016 to over 2,000 in August 2018, whilst there has been a further £1 million investment in distribution.
“Construction represents around 60 per cent of our business,” explains the company’s Gareth McDonald, “and that is reflected in some significant new orders.” Indeed, the temporary power equipment specialist acquired Harrington Generators International and JCB Generators worth £6million just last autumn – amounting to over 180 units in total – and with these there is a clear commitment to address its customers’ key concerns. Many of the models from Harrington are, for instance, equipped with synchronisation panels, which means operators can link units together and accrue increased fuels savings as a consequence. “Our depots coverage extends from Aberdeen down to Southampton, and Bristol across to East Anglia, with the latest location opening in Norwich early last summer. From those sites we can now cover the whole country, and are involved in some of the country’s most substantial civil engineering projects, as well as seeing significant growth amongst housebuilding clients. As a result, the orders just keep coming through, and that’s the motivation for the continued investment.”
The latest addition to the Mather & Stuart portfolio is a £3m outlay in Volt Safe equipment, with the first 56 units – totalling £1.3m thus far – already on the fleet. These will be joined in the coming months by a further 60, at a cost of £1.4m. Volt Safe is a combination of super-silenced generator, electrical distribution board and a high capacity, triple-bunded fuel tank. As a concept it is unique to the industry, and such a significant purchase signals that this is one supplier which is determined to source the premium solutions for its customers, but Mather & Stuart have gone further still. “The machines we’ve acquired have been specified with additional acoustic dampening material inside,” continues Gareth, “and that further reduces noise levels. Indeed, our units are actually now around 58dba at one metre, which makes them amongst the quietest available on the market, and particularly suited to residential brownfield sites, where there are existing and occupied homes, or other noise sensitive locations like hospitals and schools.”
In addition, Volt-Safe really is the strong and silent type. In the battle to combat theft and vandalism on site, the equipment is housed within an anti-vandal steel container, with the only access through a side entry personnel door, which is fitted with 2 No security locks. That 3m x 2.4m container will also protect against spillages of engine oil, anti-freeze and Diesel. Effectively, the generator, the fuel tank and the container are all ‘bunded’, offering unprecedented triple protection.
Today’s fleet operators are increasingly demanding real time information on the performance of plant, and telemetry is no longer just an optional extra but a vital tool in the fight to improve levels of productivity. In the generator market, one of the perennial problems for any end user has been to correctly size the equipment for the application, and with contractors under pressure to achieve fuel savings, and demonstrate their sustainability credentials on projects, it is an issue that needs a solution.
“All of our Volt Safe units are equipped with full telemetry,” declares Gareth. “It is through these systems that we can see the performance of the machine in terms of fuel consumption, but also put in place a regime of preventative maintenance, which will hopefully reduce downtime. That data is accessed through our intranet system, and various alerts can be set up, including whether a unit is being under- or over-used and with that information we can then quickly act to either up or downsize a machine. Not only that, be we can also provide customers with very accurate reports of just how much fuel they are consuming, and levels of CO2 emissions.”