Flow control specialists Ham Baker debut at WEFTEC

The UK flow control specialist company Ham Baker Group made its US debut at WEFTEC 2015 with plans to market its passive flood-defense barrier system Autodam – in addition to the company's newly expanded engineering solutions in the United States, including products and services for desalination and irrigation projects in areas of drought

First established in 884, the company has earned an enviable reputation in the UK, the Far East, Australia, and South Africa. Its increasing amount of work with US consultants in the Middle East in the past few years prompted the company to embark on ambitious plans to bring its products and services across the Atlantic. Some of the Group's products are already made under license in the US.

In 2013, the Group was bought by Andrew Williams, who described Ham Baker then as "a sleeping giant that was stale, fragmented and with no ongoing investment." Two years later, the Group reports a US$50million turnover and a growing business.

Ham Baker Group takes an holistic approach to providing engineered solutions and sees it success in the Middle East as key to its belief that it can become a valuable partner for large infrastructure schemes in the US. "In places such as Dubai, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, our engineering is pushing the boundaries", said Williams, who is Group Managing Director of Ham Baker Group. "We're achieving this in places where specifications are exacting to say the least — and it hasn't gone unnoticed. Over and over again, consultants asked us why we weren't working in the US."

Williams says Ham Baker, an approved supplier to Ashghal, the Public Works Authority responsible for the planning, design, procurement, construction, delivery and asset management of all infrastructure projects and public buildings in Qatar, is recognised for high quality and engineering know-how. The Group recently completed the design, manufacture, supply and supervision of an installation of high-head special stainless steel penstocks for stormwater pumping stations. The 18-meter (m) on-and-off-seating penstocks, including two sized at 2.5m2 and 3.0m2, are a key part of the country's Expressway Programme, which with 560 miles of new roads is one of Ashghal's most important infrastructure projects. The Expressway will also cater for future light rail transit (LRT) and Metro's Red Line North. Iconic superstructures at key locations along the route will complete the striking look of this major road network.

In Birmingham, England, Ham Baker Group is close to completely a custom-designed wastewater flow control system for part of the Rolls Royce Group. In addition to cast-iron penstocks and ATEX-approved actuators, a key control system will monitor and operate both the foul and wastewater drain discharges into the local sewer network to prevent the discharge of hydrocarbons. This part of the installation from Ham Baker Group company IVL Flow Control will also safeguard storm and foul water drainage systems so that they are never overwhelmed. "This is a great example of how we can provide the whole solution," Williams said.

As for Ham Baker's US prospects, Williams added, "Our biggest challenge will be to set up our own manufacturing and distribution in the US, but we have made some very promising contacts, including good potential agents at WEFTEC, which has given us a better understanding of the market in North America."

This article first appeared in World Water Magazine - Nov/Dec 2015