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Signing up to a new way of travelling

posted 20 Oct 2011, 06:52 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Mar 2013, 09:35 ]
Leading the way in innovative signs and graphics design and installation, Signs Express (Sheffield) were delighted to be commissioned to provide hoarding and screen signage for the UK’s first public hydrogen filling station.

Used to recharge hydrogen fuel cell cars, the station is operated by industrial gases company BOC, a member of The Linde Group, at the Honda manufacturing facility in Swindon. The venture is the result of a partnership between Honda, BOC and economic development company Forward Swindon.

Signs Express were tasked with the design and specification of a complex screen to hide the mechanics of the station which included a compressor, a heat exchanger and associated pipework fitted behind the customer dispenser.  The housing also needed to accommodate a large 180o opening gate in order to gain access to supply the low pressure hydrogen bottles. Steel and aluminium were used throughout to minimise fire risk. Commenting on the work, BOC project engineer Chris Chisholm said, “It was a pleasure to work with Signs Express and their advice was gratefully received.”

The project was particularly technical as Signs Express Sheffield centre owner Steve Morris explains; “We were delighted to be part of such a ground breaking new development. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are the future with no emissions and excellent car performance and are proving to be a big attraction to manufacturers with wide scope and popularity certain for the future.”

“We provided a complete service from surveying the site, design and specification of materials and manufacturing and a full installation service within a tight time frame for the national launch of the site on 20th September. The completed work has a dual purpose – safety and security with the addition of promotional graphics to advertise the businesses behind the initiative.” 

Steve continued, “Spanning 15m long, 1m wide and 2.4m high, accuracy in installation was crucial to the success of the project. Graphics application was completed off site and as the design runs continuously across a number of panels, there was no margin for error in order for the graphics to register perfectly when installed. Because of constraints surrounding the fuelling machinery and a canopy above the station, the fixing of panels and supporting structure had to be absolutely in line with our drawings and specifications for a flush finish in all directions. A great deal of thanks go to my skilled sign makers who seized the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in this demanding but very rewarding project.” 

The new fuelling station is open to anyone using or developing hydrogen-powered vehicles and looks and takes the same time to refuel as conventional filling stations and does not have the short battery life constraints of electric vehicles. Hydrogen has huge potential as a sustainable transport fuel, creating no emissions other than water vapour.

Ideally located half way along the M4 between London and Swansea, the Swindon station is the first public fuelling station in the UK. As a fully operational, commercial scale station using tested technology, its only a matter of time before the station is replicated in other locations across the country to encourage the more widespread take-up of hydrogen powered transport.

Signs Express provides a wide range of signs and graphics to businesses across the UK & Ireland through its network of franchised production centres.

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