Welcome to Network75 Ltd. Please feel free to contact us.
Founded in 2002 by Professor Steve Thomas and Dr Steve Lloyd, Network75 Ltd is a spin out company from the University of South Wales offering Pressure Awareness training to businesses within the water industry.
In 2007 the company was approached by a large multinational contractor to the water industry. A senior manager within the organisation had serious concerns about the number and severity of accidents that were occurring as a result of the build up of air in the water pipe network. In order to train the workforce to gain an understanding of the dangers of air pressure in pipes we developed innovative practical rigs that would demonstrate the potentially fatal consequences of not appreciating the hidden dangers that constantly reside within a water pipe network.
One of the benefits of being part of a large network is that you are constantly meeting very interesting people, with great ideas. One such person was Ashley Clough who worked for Laing O Rourke in Wales. He was passionate about the safety of his workers and he identified that there was a potential lethal scenario being played out daily.
The programme was developed by Steve Thomas & Dr Steve Lloyd. Stuart Lane assists with the delivery.
Director Steve Thomas, a chartered Mechanical Engineer, has 24 years’ experience in higher education, developing courses up to Masters’ level. Steve has published numerous academic papers and has delivered Network75 Ltd’s Air Pressure Awareness training to over 500 delegates;
Director Dr Steve Lloyd holds a PhD in Thermodynamics and is an expert in Energy Management;
Lecturer Stuart Lane has over 35 years teaching experience and, to date, has trained over 1000 participants in Network75 Ltd’s Air Pressure Awareness programme;
A classroom is required but we will bring all our own equipment. An open space is required for the rocket and Melon Surprise.
When we were first approached to develop a training course that would demonstrate the dangers of pressure in pipes we knew we had to make the content interesting and highly visual.
Our first idea was the air powered rocket because this would be relatively simple and would have a very high visual impact. There were also some ready-made toys on the market which we could utilise immediately. We spent a long time designing and developing our own rockets which also incorporated parachutes that would allow the rocket a more controlled return to the ground.
Whilst the rockets were providing a very good indication of the stored energy in compressed air we realised we had to make a visual connection with the water industry. This was achieved by utilising an actual piece of water main from the water network. We experimented with both electrical and mechanical actuators. The mechanical actuator was a simpler design and therefore became our final choice. The current rocket launcher is the fourth iteration in the series and can safely launch rockets up to 1000 feet.
When the development of the rockets was ongoing Steve Lloyd took inspiration from the film The Day of the Jackal. We concluded that if we could launch a projectile from a section of water main into a melon then this would provide a perfect visual and audio demonstration. The biggest hurdle we encountered during the development of this rig was in the design of the projectile. After much experimentation which concluded aluminium to be the perfect choice of material. At a pressure of only 4 bar the demonstration can be highly effective.
The third rig we developed we affectionately named Waterworld. This project was the most complex to develop and took a significant amount of time. Whilst we were happy that we had developed practical demonstrations that can show the dangers of pressure we realised we needed a representation of the entire water network system that would demonstrate where pressure could be a danger.
The technical challenges of this rig were plentiful. Simple considerations such as the type of water vessel was causing practical problems however, the biggest challenge was displaying a simulated head of pressure. In the end we designed our own electronic device which displays simulated pressures of over 20 bar.
Development of all three rigs is continuous so that we are always confident of providing the best practical demonstrations on our training courses.