With apologies to William Shakespeare, we’d like to pose a serious question: To hire, or not to hire?
Short term hire of equipment is common practice in many industries; in the construction sector, for example, it’s normal to hire everything from waste skips to heavy equipment, while many us hire tools for those weekend DIY projects.
Yet when it comes to specialised systems for applications in the water and wastewater, and industrial and process sectors, the practice of hiring is less common. Firstly, this can be attributed to a limited awareness in the market that hire options are available; secondly, to the fact that most suppliers are not set up to offer – or choose not to offer – hire options; and thirdly because established procurement practices are generally geared towards major capital expenditure projects.
Although hiring specialised industrial equipment, such as chemical dosing systems, is not suitable for every application, it can in certain circumstances offer a commercially attractive option. For example, in the event of an unexpected breakdown or emergency the ability to bring in a pre-configured system that can be installed and operating within hours can ensure that critical processes continue to function; this can be particularly important for wastewater treatment plant, where a failure can potentially lead to environmental damage and significant fines.
A further example is where hiring stand-alone, containerised plant allows process operations to continue uninterrupted while planned maintenance or plant refurbishment is carried out; this can be for weeks, months or longer. Similarly, hiring on a month-by-month basis through OPEX budgets can provide a viable alternative for projects where CAPEX funding is unavailable, or where pilot plant is required to test a new process prior to upscaling to full-scale production.
One of the issues with hiring, is that many suppliers do not have the resources to maintain suitable systems in stock, so that there is an inevitable delay while a solution is specified, designed and built. This might be acceptable for planned maintenance – although even here the planning horizon can be shorter than the time required to supply a suitable hire system – but is a major challenge in the event of an emergency shutdown.
Our solution for chemical dosing requirements is therefore to maintain a fleet of containerised systems, which are available from stock. These use standard equipment and are modular in design, so can easily be adapted if required. Each unit is self-contained and can be delivered to site, connected up and switched on. All our systems include appropriate splash guards,overfill alarms, bunds, and leakage detection. We can also supply dual-contained dosing lines if these are not already in place, ensuring our systems are compliant with environmental and safety standards.
It’s a quick and simple solution. One that, to borrow again from Shakespeare, allows customers to avoid ‘the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ – or to put it in modern terms, to be able to manage their costs, introduce operational flexibility and maintain the quality and standard of their processes.