Alpha Process Controls has invested in increased production and testing facilitiesAlpha Process Controls (APC), part of the GT Group, has expanded its manufacturing and testing facilities to increase capacity for production of its LNG Marine Emergency Release Couplings (ERC) used during Ship-to-Ship/Ship-to-Shore (STS) LNG Bunkering.

Having secured projects from tier 1 operators across Europe and South America, APC has increased its production capabilities to cater for its contract wins and future needs of the evolving industry and as LNG is used more as a marine fuel.

Based in Peterlee, County Durham, APC has made a significant investment in the new facilities, which includes a new cryogenic testing area and training facilities for industry engineers and technicians.

The Cryogenic Testing Area forms part of APC’s comprehensive product testing capabilities and will also be utilised for future innovations and product development.

It utilises a 2000 litre liquid nitrogen storage facility, enabling APC to ensure its ERC couplings are tested to temperatures of minus 196 degrees centigrade, which is much lower than the typical bunkering temperatures during LNG STS transfers.

APC is a market leading manufacturer of onshore vehicle-based breakaway and dry break couplings and loading arms.  In addition to APC’s intensive research and development, it has also created the family of marine ERC couplings for the transfer of LNG, hazardous chemicals, cryogenic liquids and numerous other gases.

The production facilities sit alongside APC’s existing in-house test centre, part of a previous £1million investment, which supports the manufacture and factory acceptance testing of the ERC couplings.

The test centre utilises a pressurised water system, which is calibrated to supply water at a comparable rate to LNG during ship-to-ship transfer, to ensure couplings deliver optimum performance and meet stringent industry standards.

In addition to testing new couplings, the test centre also hosts the overhaul, retesting and re-commissioning of units that have already been in operation.

John Lamb, Managing Director of Alpha Process Controls, said: “The expansion of our facilities is in direct response to the growing interest in our portfolio of marine couplings, particularly from the LNG sector.  The innovation we have brought to the market, which is built on extensive experience and rigorous research and development, delivers significant operational and safety benefits, which are key focuses for our customers.

“The expanded capacity of our facilities in North East England, which are operated by a team of skilled and experienced engineers, will enable the business to increase its presence in the market and provide a more comprehensive manufacturing, product testing and technician training operation for the marine industry.”