Wallingford’s Howbery Business Park’s position attracts power industry supplier

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A company specialising on on-line partial discharge (PD) testing of MV and HV plants has expanded to Howbery Business Park  at Wallingford. Partial discharge is a spark that can occur in high voltage electrical insulation.

IPEC develops world leading technology in the detection and location of PD in cables, switchgear and accessories.

While the company’s developing and manufacturing base has stayed in Manchester where it was first established in the 1990s to transfer electronic technology from academia to industry, a few years ago, Managing Director Colin Smith decided to return to Wallingford – where he grew up – to make the most of relatives’ support as he started his own family.   

“I’ve been based on a nearby business park, but I knew Howbery through family visits to the café, and I’ve been keen to move here for a few years. I was therefore very pleased when a suitable office became available, coinciding with the end of the other office’s lease,” he said. “I’m now able to walk to work at Howbery and am really enjoying the grounds. I’m also keen to look after one of the allotments.

“The park will be ideal for receiving our international clients. Eighty per cent of our business comes from them, which has helped cushion our business during the pandemic. Many of our customers are from countries that exited lockdown ahead of the UK, which meant they were back up and running earlier too. We provide them with complex instruments and systems for detection and location of partial discharge. By detecting partial discharge, our systems can identify defects, allowing maintenance to be conducted. This avoids outages with their associated costs and even serious health and safety implications.”

Donna Bowles, Estates Manager at Howbery Business Park, said: “We are so pleased that IPEC was able to join us on Howbery Park. We’re also looking forward to a time when visitors can return to the park, along with all of our community. Howbery isn’t the same without all of its people, although the wildlife does seem to be enjoying the quiet!”