In 2005, Bill Dormer spotted an opportunity to apply technology developed for Hale Hamilton’s industrial customer BOC/Linde for his naval customers. BOC used the company’s automated cylinder filling technology to consistently fill gas to a very precise weight – their customers buying a certain mass.
On board naval vessels, BA equipment is used in fire fighting and in damage control situations. It is also used by navy divers. Investigations by the Marine Auxiliary Systems (MXS) IPT had uncovered some concerns over the methodology of the charging process and the quality of the air that was delivered.
These concerns fell into four main areas:
- Over/Under charging of cylinders
- Effects on cylinder life
- Quality of charging air
- Effects on operability
Bill proposed the development of an automated cylinder charging system to solve the RN’s problem.
Jim Bentley (then MOD technical authority) said: “Bill came to me with the concept of an automated cylinder charging system that would effectively control the charging profile of the navy’s damage control and fire fighting BA sets. The idea of having each member of the ship’s re-entry party enter the incident with a full charge of high quality breathing air available to them had huge operational benefits.”
“Just having the maximum available mass of air available could give an extra eight to ten minutes on time in theatre. This extra time could be the difference between life or death for an injured party.”
Jim worked closely with Bill and Hale Hamilton project engineer Terry Manders in the development of the AUTOCHARGE System, helping Bill organise a technology demonstration to a large number of UK MOD stakeholders, the outcome of which was the approval of a year long ship trial aboard HMS Ocean.
Following the presentation of an INEC technical paper in 2005, Bill secured orders for 30 AUTOCHARGE Systems from BAE Systems for the UK’s six new Daring Class Destroyers, with a twelve system order for the UK’s new QE Class aircraft carriers. Bill then secured an eight system order for the Indian Navy’s new Kamorta Class. To date over 60 systems are in service.
For further information on the AUTOCHARGE System: www.halehamilton.com/AUTOCHARGE