Andrew Robinson, Arc Energy Resources

Energy Focus caught up with Managing Director Andrew Robinson to find out what day-to-day life is like at Arc Energy Resources

Andrew Robinson

Can you tell us a little bit about Arc?
Arc Energy Resources is a welding engineering company, employing 70 people in Eastington, Gloucestershire. We specialise in corrosion-resistant weld overlay cladding, radiographic-quality fabrication and precision machining for the oil and gas, nuclear and petrochemical sectors. Products include flanges, pipelines, risers, valves, pressure vessels, spools, pig launchers and other specialist equipment.

How did Arc start out?
Arc was founded by my parents, Alan and Rosemary Robinson, in 1994. Alan pioneered development of cladding in the 1980s, and started Arc to offer the highest level of technical support and production techniques. Key milestones include gaining Investors in People (2004), ASME U Stamp (2007), Fit4Nuclear (2011) and Rolls-Royce approval (2017).

What’s a typical day like at Arc?
We work on such a wide variety of components and projects that every day is different. One day we could be cladding 30-tonne oil rig valves and the next, welding sensitive components for Rolls-Royce.

What the best thing about running a family business?
The sense that the whole company is part of the family. We look after our staff, and are rewarded with exceptional loyalty. Some of them have worked together for over 35 years! Also, the ability to take a very long-term view with regard to investment.

If you weren’t working at Arc, what do you think you’d be doing?
My background is in economics. Before I worked at Arc I was on a graduate fast track at HM Treasury, so I’d probably be working in finance, living in London. I steered away to focus on a career where I could see physical products being produced.

What’s been Arc’s biggest highlight to date?
So many! Big defence contracts; 30-tonne valves; urgent complex wye pieces for BP; Rolls-Royce approval (the only Tier 1 welding supplier); the acquisition of our machine shop in 2016; winning Stroud Life Business of the Year in 2015; and the introduction of latest generation cladding technology, built in-house last year, to name a few!

Can you tell us about your move into the nuclear sector?
We identified nuclear as a growth market in 2011, to counteract the cyclical nature of oil and gas. We’ve developed our operational, quality and safety systems since then, and are now working on really exciting projects including support structures for Hinkley Point C and waste containers for Sellafield.

What challenges face energy suppliers in a decarbonised world?
Uncertainty. Where will the oil price go next? Will renewable technology reduce significantly in cost? Will the government subsidise, tax or nationalise any particular industry sector? Where is public perception focusing, in an age of social media? Decision-making in modern business is increasingly risky.

What can visitors to Arc’s ONS 2018 stand expect to find?
Our highly qualified welding engineers will be on hand to offer technical advice about fabrication and cladding. Visitors will be able to view and touch samples of our work, and we can discuss any particular issues relating to welding, corrosion and wear.

What’s next for Arc?
We’ve invested heavily in new technology – robotic welding, bi-cathode weld overlay, and computer numerical control (CNC) machining. The next phase is developing these initiatives to their full ability. This will support our ongoing expansion into the nuclear and rail industries. We are particularly excited about working in partnership with Sellafield on waste containers.

What would it surprise our readers to know about Arc?
The size of the operation, and the breadth of our offering – not just cladding and welding, but technical support, procurement, project management, design-for-manufacture, CNC milling and turning, non-destructive testing, shot blasting, coating and inspection (manual and coordinate measuring machine) as well.

And you?
I live with my wife, two-year-old son, and four-year-old Maltichon, Disney, who are my top priorities outside of work. My passions are sport, particularly rugby, and music – classical and rock, not usually together! I also have a genuine interest in encouraging young people into engineering. 

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