Welcome to the North West Centre of the Process Industries Division

The North West Centre represents the interests of 2000 members of the Process Industries Division in the North West of England who have a professional interest in the process and chemicals industries.

Objectives of the North West Centre

  • Create an environment in which engineering knowledge can be readily shared between engineers working in the process industries of the region
  • Encourage the involvement of members in the operation and decision making process of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Arrange discussions, meetings, visits and seminars that cover topics of interest and relevance to technical and professional members working within the process industries in the North West
  • Act as a link between the Process Industries Division at national level and the members of the North West Centre
  • Ensure that the Process Industries Board decisions and policies meet the needs of the members in the North West regions

The activities of the North West Centre are arranged for the single purpose of providing professional support to the members. It is therefore essential that members make their requirements known to the committee. 

Registered members have the following benefits:

  • Emailed details of each North West Centre event
  • Comment on the planning of future events
  • Circulate technical queries and professional queries to other members in the region

The North West Centre Chairman is Mr Noel Hensman

Please contact the Chairman or any committee member if you would like further information or would like to become involved in any activities or join our committee.  

Forthcoming Activities

If you would like to be included on the North West Centre mailing list and hear about the Centre's programme please contact us at process@imeche.org.

Post event report: Introduction to equipment for engineers – Food manufacturing - 15th January 2014

Ian Rigby and the engineering team at Walkers Skelmersdale kindly opened their award winning doors to a group from the IMechE.  Ian took the group through the journey the factory has been on over the last 6 years to develop and train their operators and engineers to handle the engineering challenges of an ever evolving, automating, developing manufacturing environment.

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Post event report: Technical tour at AMEC - 16
May 2013
An IMechE visit was conducted to the AMEC laboratories in Birchwood. This was the fifth successive year in a row and popularity has increased, attended by both members and non-members. Visitors ranged from neighbouring companies based at Birchwood to some who had travelled from as far as Sheffield. This year the tour was extended to include the Materials and Corrosion labs in AMEC Technical Services in addition to the Development Test laboratory and the large rig hall.
The main presenters from the AMEC Nuclear Engineering Development were:
  • Martin Hooley, Mechanical Engineer- Engineering Development
  • Kevin Mottershead, Corrosion Manager - Technical Services
  • Andrew Wisbey, Principal Consultant- Technical Services

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Post event report: Introduction for equipment for engineers - valves (technical lecture) - 14 November 2013 On the evening of the 14th November Stuart Montgomery (AVK’s UK market sector manager for waste water) and Oliver Gambling (AVK’s Key Account Manager – North) made the journey to UCLAN’s Harrington Building to deliver the first in a series of talks and visits from the “Introduction to Equipment for Engineers” series of events on the subject of valves. 

The following topics were covered:

•    Valves manufactured and supplied by AVK
•    The history of water and waste water valves (including showing pictures of 4m butterfly valves)
•    Visuals showing the challenges of installing and operating valves and the pitfalls to avoid when designing an installation

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Post event report: The Challenges of non-PSSR Piperwork - Lecture - 27 March 2014


John Miles, Sellafield’s Pressure Systems Centre of Excellence Leader, started his talk with background history of how Sellafield started as a munitions factory in the late 1930’s, with major nuclear build in the 1940’s to its present status of reactors, storage, fuel production and reprocessing.  Ageing plant is problem, together with the complexity of the different plants.  One of the individual plants has 306 km of pipework, with a site inventory of over 30000 vessels and 1000’s km of pipework.

Of this inventory, approximately 15% is governed by the Pressure System Safety Regulations, which looks at the danger from stored pressure and does not recognise the hazardous properties of the contents (except steam).  This leaves 85% governed by other legislation such as COMAH, PUWER, H&SWA, and Nuclear Installations Act etc.   

To manage this equipment a risk based approach was adopted.  A set of guiding principles were developed, together with a set of risk factors.  The factors considered were the substance, situation, safety/business, and continued service/failure mode.  Each factor was considered separately and numerically indicative risk score produced.  This was used to establish the method of plant review from plant inspection, to a full RBI process with an independent facilitator.  The findings were benchmarked and the process integrated into the overall asset management process.  This process now incorporates four inputs, the Long Term Safety review, Asset Care programme, technical basis of maintenance, and the non PSSR inspections.  This integrated process has the aim to reduce the overall risk for the plant.

A short questions and answers session followed the presentation.

It was an interesting and informative evening with the event exceeding many of the attendees’ expectations. 


Site Visit to AMEC Birchwood - 19 May 2014

On the evening of Thursday May 19th 2014, an IMechE visit was conducted around the
AMEC laboratories based at AMEC Birchwood. This was the sixth successive year in a row
and popularity has increased, a total of twenty eight people attended the evening, both
members and young non-members. Due to the level of interest two tours were presented.

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Current and Future Events

Looking for an event nearby? If there are no events indicated contact your local representative to exchange your ideas for forthcoming activity.

Please click the event heading for further information.
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