Our visit to Edwards Vacuum

This event proved to be our most popular networking event yet, with nearly 40 delegates booked.

The Burgess Hill site is a centre for R&D into vacuum technology. Our host Peter Lamb, Senior Manager Scientific Pump Technology and Site Leader at the Burgess Hill facility, gave us a brief introduction to Edwards Vacuum and explained where it sat in the giant Swedish manufacturing conglomerate that is Atlas Copco.


 
Ian Hopping of Auditel also gave an interesting presentation on net zero, explaining more about the gases we loosely term as ‘greenhouse gases’.

 

Peter explained how Edwards and its parent Atlas Copco has sustainability at the core of its operations. It has ambitious targets and has already achieved much throughout its supply chain.

 

Peter also explained the myriad applications of vacuum technology. Many manufacturing operations require clean environments, pharmaceuticals being a clear example, while over 90% of all flat screens are manufactured in a vacuum environment.

Multi-billion dollar microchip fabrication plants, known as ‘fabs’ require vast arrays of vacuum pumps. We were shown one of these pumps, the size of a small tea trolley, they use sophisticated software to maximise efficiency and reliability within the arrays.

Much of the work done at the Edwards site involves advanced research. There are over 400 scientists and engineers working on site. Some areas were closed off as the work involved technologies that had yet to be patented. Photography was limited for this reason.

We saw such areas as the anechoic chamber, a room designed to stop reflections of either sound or electromagnetic waves. The room has a special separate concrete foundation that isolates it from energy entering from its surroundings. Such facilities are essential in testing equipment to run more efficiently and to achieve the extreme high vacuum conditions as required in the most advanced technological fields, such as satellites and particle accelerators such as CERN

When we returned to the main conference room for some more networking we were also entertained with some fun experiments, as presented the other month at Mid Sussex Science Week to local primary school students.

BHBPA would like to thank Peter Lamb and Edwards Vacuum for a fascinating morning.
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