West firm wins multi-million pound Heathrow contract

A South West based manufacturer of specialist ground support equipment has won a contract worth millions to supply cutting edge equipment to London Heathrow airport.

Powervamp, which has two main offices in Weston-super-Mare and Luton, will supply an undisclosed quantity of its ‘Sidewinder’ special power delivery systems to London Heathrow over the next 18 months, in what represents another UK manufacturing first for the firm.

The Powervamp ‘Sidewinder’ is a retractable series of arms housing the high frequency cables that provide power to all aircraft while at the terminal.

The system has been designed to give airports a simple and reliable power transfer system; and is an essential piece of equipment, without which the airport cannot function.

The deal represents a major coup for Powervamp, who won the contract ahead of some of the world’s biggest engineering firms.

They were also the only company that were able to manufacture a sample product from CAD drawings and deliver a finished prototype.

Before designing the ‘Sidewinder’, Powervamp engineers worked alongside ground handlers at Heathrow, studying the technical difficulties they faced during rapid aircraft turn round times in all weathers.

Richard Roller, company founder and Joint Managing Director, comments: “Powervamp has shown that an SME can outmanoeuvre the large corporates, respond faster and deliver ahead of schedule.

“A number of influential people suggested  it wouldn’t be possible to build the equipment that Heathrow required. However, we listened closely to what the customer wanted and we saw first hand what was needed.

“You don’t try and tell the engineering management at Heathrow – the  world’s busiest airport – what they should have.

“With Heathrow operating daily at 100 % capacity, the management know better than anyone exactly what is required, and quality and reliability are top of the list”

Ken Walker, who is also MD at Powervamp, comments: “This really is a major project win because it’s almost impossible to get a new product into Heathrow.

“With the airport operating at 100 per cent capacity it is completely understandable that they dare not risk disruption and delays through unproven equipment. There simply is no room for failure”.

The ‘Sidewinder’ will be used at terminal 2 and terminal 3 and Powervamp has given London Heathrow a five year warranty on the product, demonstrating the company’s confidence in its quality.