We went to Suncombe's facility at Enfield for the Factory Acceptance Test. They went out of their way to accommodate some minor issues; Elliot is a very enthusiastic guy and really knows his stuff, and it went very well..
We didn’t have very much trouble with the commissioning side of things, or in the operations side. The Containment Level 4 facility as a whole, including the effluent treatment part, has worked really well since it was commissioned..
The system is 90% automated, with touch-screen controls, but we still have manual control of the final discharge and for heat treatment. We also have the reassurance of CCTV cameras, and automatic leak-detection in the ETP room..
The equipment is very well constructed to a good standard, and it's a vital part of the operation of the Containment Level 4..
Suncombe have always been very helpful, particularly during the commissioning phase, and if we have an occasional operation problem, they are very quick to respond. I would certainly recommend them to other professionals. ”
The communication was good. Their documentation was brilliant. …if you asked me whether I'd work with Suncombe again – I’d say ‘definitely’ ”
The plan was to bring in one skid, get it operational for one part of the plant, while decoupling an existing skid from the old system, and getting that new skid communicating with their control system. Then, a year later we put in two additional skids, that we brought online, and effectively discontinued with the old unit.
We went out to tender to four preferred vendors with a basic design and a full procurement specification for what we wanted the skids to be able to do. That tender was won by Suncombe, and whilst I hadn't worked directly with them before, they came highly recommended from other companies I'd worked with.
From the onset, it was very apparent that Suncombe were very interested in the project. They demonstrated that, both in their competitive pricing, but also in their willingness to engage with us into the level of detail that we needed, and from the beginning it was a very friendly engagement.
The only concern was the timeline, because it was quite tight. We worked very closely with both the client and with Suncombe to deliver the first skid pretty much on time.
The second phase was more complicated because there were two skids required, pretty much in a very similar timeline. The Client had good representation at the FATs that were held at Suncombe's premises, and the Suncombe engineers that did a lot of the site-based testing work were incredibly highly regarded by the client. The result was that both skids were delivered on time, and they're now operational.
Their strength is definitely their flexibility and their communications. When the Client requested changes, Suncombe were always helpful and adapted the build as required. And they somehow managed to keep to the original time schedule, which was a credit to their staff and their project management skills. They are a really friendly team, and I look forward to working with them again. ”
Manufacturing workmanship has always been superb and occasional quality issues addressed quickly and efficiently. Management commitment and support is second to none. ”
It’s good kit, it’s designed and constructed to the standard expected by the pharmaceutical industry and it’s been operating for over ten years, I am not aware of any major problems.
Over the years there have been many occurrences with suppliers making promises that they can’t deliver, but Suncombe stand-out because they are specialists in the items and elements they produce. If they say they’re going to do something, they will do it.
The guys who are the main interfaces at Suncombe, Dave and Steve I’ve known now for many years, they’re very straight forward to deal with, and it’s always been a pleasure to work with them.
In summary, Suncombe are experts in what they do, and they’re great people to work with. ”
Their technology knowledge was very impressive and their ability to build bespoke units was very impressive too. Also, I think just the friendliness of the team really helped; it was a nice group of guys to work with. ”
We checked several companies before talking to Suncombe, but all of them were very rigid regarding the project delivery, and basically were saying ‘this is the system, this is the timeline – take it or leave it’.
Suncombe were willing to shorten their timeline in order to meet our requirements, but they were very clear on what they could, and could not, do. It was very reassuring to discuss the project with people you could feel understood what they’re talking about; they’re not just trying to sell you stuff. It was very easy to communicate with them.
The timelines were kept, throughout the whole two and a half years of the project, and even when we added last-minute changes, Suncombe were very understanding.
Throughout the entire process of the design, the construction, the SAT visit, and their visits here, their communication was very open and very honest. They never tried to sell us things that we don’t need, in fact in some cases they said, “We can do it if you want, but we don’t think that you need it”.
Everyone in the company that I’ve been talking to are very professional, and if they are unsure of anything, they’ll say “I don’t know, I need to check”, which is a very rare thing to find.
We tested each skid at Suncombe, and then they helped us install and test the system on-site. We had two phases to the project: we installed one system, and the year after we installed the additional two, using Suncombe people here, and via remote support.
One thing we’ve seen with our water consumption is that very clear savings have been made. With the previous system we had times when production had to stop because we didn’t have enough water, but now this never happens.
I can tell you that we finished the project exactly according to the timeline, and exactly according to the budget.
The bottom line is that they are very friendly and very patient; it was always easy to discuss the system with them and it was a very, very pleasant environment to work in.
I think that they are one of the best companies I have ever worked with during my years as an engineer. ”
The new CIP set has got at least twice the capacity, and has a lot of scope for programming, so it'll allow us to do two different cleans at one time.
Their guidance and advice has been very, very useful, and in all honesty I trust them implicitly. I didn't even go for another tender knowing how their existing kit has been so robust and reliable. It's a key piece of equipment that has actually enabled us to produce product without any preservative and give it the best part of over thirty days’ shelf life. It's an absolutely critical part of the overall process.
We discussed my requirements, and they put my interpretation down on paper. I then went through what was quite a big document, adjusted a couple of little things, and then we went to drawings, and looking at how it would fit into my plant.
They took about nine months to manufacture the skid, then we did factory acceptance testing, and put the plant on water as best as we possibly could. They held onto it for a little while because I was putting an extension up which hadn't quite been finished.
This piece of equipment has gone in now, and a wall has gone in behind it. After commissioning we’ll take advantage of their training, both at their place and our place.
Suncombe's major strength is their understanding our business, and I can say they've become more friends than just business associates. I feel that if I was in trouble, I could pick up the phone to them and they'd be there and waiting.
They are very, very accommodating. Very knowledgeable. Always there to explain what I wasn't sure of; clarifying things. Great experience. Great people to work with. ”