Bendalls Engineering

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Bendalls Engineering's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Bendalls Engineering is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Sean Saunders, managing
Checking dimensions of a transportation
unit for a waste container
Bendalls Engineering can fairly claim to produce mission-
critical equipment. As specialists in steel fabrication, they
have been designing and manufacturing pressure vessels
for the nuclear and oil and gas industries for over 50 years. In
these harsh and highly demanding environments, safety and
quality are of paramount importance. Bendalls’ managing
director, Sean Saunders, reflects on the expectations of the
company’s global customer base, and on how collaborative
working will ensure a business which began life in 1894 is set to
thrive for many years to come.
When we deliver a pressure vessel to a nuclear power plant, there is every chance
that once installed it will never be seen again in its 60-year-plus life. In a nuclear
environment, dependability is all-important. Our pressure vessels need to be
maintenance-free over many decades, and built to the highest quality standards.
We can never cut corners; that’s an ethos instilled in all of our employees, from
day one. Everyone understands what each item we manufacture does, and the
consequences if it were to fail. Our clients regularly audit our business and must
have total confidence in our ability.
Our longest partnership is with Sellafield, for whom we’ve produced many complex
specialist pieces of equipment including, in recent years, two of the world’s largest
nuclear manufactured vessels. We were proud to be the first organisation to receive
Sellafield’s lead supplier certification for all our operations.
The exacting standards we follow for the nuclear sector are equally valued in the
challenging oil and gas arena, where Shell, Exxon Mobil and Conoco list among
»Managing director: Sean
»Established in 1894
»Based in Carlisle, Cumbria
»Services: Design, manufacture,
assembly, machining and
»No. of employees: 100
»Sectors: Nuclear, oil, gas,
pharmaceutical and process
»Clients include Costain,
Hyundai, BP, Kvaerner, Wood
and Shell
Bendalls Engineering
»Water degasser drum used in Golden Eagle North Sea project
»Fuel gas column for Wood used by BP for Shetland Islands oil
»Duct dampers used by Daewoo Shipping and Marine Engineering,
South Korea
»Pressure vessels and columns for BP in Azerbaijan
our global customers. One such major
project was the recent production of
high-end vessels for the BP Nile Delta
project, which will see Egypt become
self-sufficient in oil and gas for years
to come. Beyond our traditional
markets, the defence industry, with its
similar critical emphasis on quality and
reliability, is a sector we plan to enter
in the future. The calibre of our people,
the robustness of our processes and
the extensive vetting of our supply
chain makes us an attractive partner to
many different sectors.
Collaboration and culture
New opportunities are opening up
all the time. A recent example of this
was our work with GoGreen, a waste
management and recycling company
that uses our vessels for reprocessing
plastics and to produce biomethane
from household waste. Our success
in new or existing markets, however,
isn’t just down to the products and
solutions we offer; we continually
look for ways to make the lives of our
customers easier, and that often comes
from greater collaboration.
The earlier we can engage with our
customers, the better. If we start
talking at the concept stage, with
our engineers working alongside our
customers’ engineers to design the
product, then manufacturing will be
simpler, smoother and more cost-
effective. We are seeing an increasing
desire to work collaboratively; there are
sometimes a few walls to break down,
but, after that, we’ve worked towards
great results together. The more clients
share their problems, the more pain
and cost we can save them.
Internal collaboration is a big focus,
too. We may operate in global
markets, but there is still a family feel
to Bendalls, and a strong sense of
loyalty. We believe in every individual
being as important as the next.
Solutions to problems can come from
anyone in the team – the young
apprentice on the shop floor, or the
engineer with decades of knowledge
and experience. What’s really
important for our workforce is the
sense of ownership; we want everyone
to work as one team. It’s this culture
that allows us to deliver the highest
quality, year after year.
Changing technology
Technology has come a long way since
we manufactured the body panels for
Donald Campbell’s record-breaking
speed machines in the 1960s. Today,
we use a wide range of materials in
our Carlisle manufacturing facility,
including carbon steel, stainless
steel alloys and nickel alloys. We are
seeing further exotic materials in
use currently, such as super duplex
stainless steel, an alloy that is highly
resistant to corrosion, has very high
mechanical strength and can withstand
Apprentice design
engineers working on
the 3D modelling of a
process vessel
We continually
look for ways
to make the
lives of our
Highlighting best practice
greater heat. These new materials,
not surprisingly, are harder to work
with in some regards. For that reason,
we are constantly developing our
welding techniques and working
with accredited laboratories to
confirm the viability of new materials
Investment in technology has gone
hand in hand with our investment
in people. We’re proud of our
apprenticeship programme, and see
great value in “growing our own”. The
apprentices going through Bendalls
at the moment will work not just in
manufacturing, as was traditionally the
case, but in engineering and project
management too.
Looking ahead
Although we’re best known as a
supplier of pressure vessels and
equipment – we were one of the first
fabrication suppliers to Sellafield in
the 1950s, and provided pressure
equipment to North Sea oil and gas
companies in the 1970s – we now
do so much more, especially in the
hydraulics and electrical control arena.
One such example is the equipment
we build to transport waste for
reprocessing; a recent project entailed
building a conveyor system across
a radioactive pond, onto which
11-tonne skips could be loaded,
using an extendable bridge. Our
ability to design and manufacture
specialised steel equipment is well
complemented by other engineering
businesses in the wider Carr’s Group,
to which we belong, such as those
specialising in remote handling and
robotics. We have a clear ambition
to work more closely with our sister
businesses to bring wider offerings to
Greater diversification going forward
will mean we’re less dependent on the
nuclear sector. One challenge we’ve
seen in the past is limited visibility of
the government’s energy policy; the
more we understand of the strategic
plans for the British nuclear industry,
the better we can plan for the future,
which in turn means greater efficiency
and reduced costs.
No matter how we develop, grow or
evolve in the future, one obsession
that will never go away is our product
quality. We see it as our intellectual
property, and a real differentiator.
There will always be cost pressures,
but, considering our reputation and
the sectors we serve, we can never
compromise on quality or safety.
We see
quality as our
property and a
A completed process
vessel for a gas
development plant in

This article was sponsored by Bendalls Engineering. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister