Babcock International Group PLC
Babcock International is the UK’s leading engineering support services organisation headquartered in London. Babcock specialises in support services and managing complex assets in different environments. Babcock was founded in 1891 and currently has a revenue of £4,503 million (2015). Today Babcock employs over 35,000 employees worldwide who design, build operate and maintain infrastructure assets. Babcock deliver complex output contracts and specialise in delivering bespoke services. With revenue of circa £4.5 billion in 2015, they support vital assets within a number of industry sectors including defence, emergency services, energy, transport and training.
With a patent awarded in 1856 (S. Wilcox and O.M. Stillman), George Babcock and Stephen Wilcox joined forces to design and market a boiler that increased heating surfaces for better efficiency and was both effective and safe. In 1867 B&W was established in Providence, Rhode Island, when George H. Babcock, Stephen Wilcox, Jr., and Joseph P. Manton form Babcock, Wilcox and Company to manufacture and market a water-tube steam boiler. This invention patented by Babcock and Wilcox marks the beginning of and set the standard for safe, reliable steam-generated power. Though George Babcock and Stephen Wilcox died 19 days apart in 1893, their legacy of designing and supplying the highest-quality equipment and providing superior customer service lived on.
In 1891 the British arm of the company, Babcock and Wilcox Ltd, was formed with a capital of GBP 240,000 with its sphere of operation to include the world outside of the USA and Cuba that were already covered by the American company. The original British works were at Kilbowie, Scotland, and employed 130 men.
In 1901 the Babcock and Wilcox boilers were selected by the Admiralty for the new battleships on their own responsibility, according to all the information their disposal and acting in consultation with the Boiler Committee. The record of the experiments made by the Boiler Committee and which led them to recommend the Babcock and Wilcox Boilers as suitable for use in the Navy, was to be found in the Report presented to the House. Babcock and Wilcox boilers had been removed from a vessel called the "Northern Isles," and the boilers so removed were subsequently put into another ship where they worked successfully. Similar boilers were removed from the "Scottish Hero" after three years service. The Babcock and Wilcox boilers were taken out of the "Cameo" and replaced by larger boilers of the same type, giving satisfaction to the owners of the vessel.
In 1902 the Renfrew Works were opened, where some 1,300 men were employed. Since then there had been many extensions, and now between 5,000 and 6,000 men are in regular employment. The firm's activities in Lincoln commenced in 1924, when the boiler works, engine shops and foundry of Clayton and Shuttleworth were purchased. The Lincoln branch produces pulverised fuel plants, steam winches, high-speed steam engines, structural work and power-station plant. The Company owns works in other parts of England and Scotland, as well as in Australia, France, Spain, Germany and Italy, with branch offices throughout the world. Its boilers are of a type better known probably than any others.
In 1979 Babcock and Wilcox became Babcock International. In 1982 Babcock International plc floated on the stock exchange, and in 1987 FKI Electricals acquired Babcock International. That year a total of 1,000 jobs were lost within three months at their Renfrew plant and the work force was reduced to 800 from its capacity at one time of 8,000. By 1989 FKI had shut down a quarter of Babcock's manufacturing plant, and in 1989 Babcock was spun out of FKI. Babcock International, the successor to the original Babcock and Wilcox Company, is organised into the following divisions: Marine & Technology, Defence & Security, Support Services & International.
Babcock designs, builds and manages critical equipment and systems for navies and commercial customers worldwide. With an established history of designing, building and managing the integration of some of the world’s most complex ships, from small combat boats and rescue craft to naval cutters, offshore patrol vessels and aircraft carriers, Babcock is well placed to deliver the next generation of naval and marine vessels.
As well as an extensive track record, which includes a Scott Class Ocean Survey Vessel, Echo Class Hydrographic Survey Vessels and the LÉ Róisín and LÉ Samuel Beckett Class Offshore Patrol Vessels, the current design portfolio includes the Protector, Defender and Arrowhead series of ships, designs for inshore and offshore patrol vessels, multi role and general patrol frigates and a range of fast catamarans and other novel designs such as SWATH hulls.
Babcock’s 800-strong engineering design team provides all aspects of naval vessel design from first principle concepts, through modifications and capability enhancement of proven and existing vessels, to full ship design. Babcock offers expertise across an extensive range of disciplines including naval architecture, marine and electrical engineering, communications and mission systems integration and ship air interfaces. We are also able to draw on our ship support experience to provide designs that are both optimal for operations and support through life.
Babcock’s designs incorporate real time feedback from working with worldwide navies and commercial customers, lessons learned through our construction experience and use of internationally recognised military and commercial based standards to drive out unnecessary costs.
Babcock has also developed iFrigateTM a smart technology which seeks to ensure maintenance and upgrades are aligned, helping to meet the real needs of navies by increasing platform availability and readiness. iFrigateTM harnesses innovative technology using sophisticated new techniques to optimise engineering support. It does this through embedding technology at the design phase and capturing a wide range of data sources that are fused, modelled, and transformed to enable improved decision support and optimised planning. This cleverly designed predictive analysis of equipment is a game-changer in informing future service and maintenance requirements and reducing through life costs.
Babcock offers a broad choice of design services, either providing designs that can be built in Babcock’s facilities at Appledore and Rosyth or assist in designing and building vessels at a customer’s chosen location, via a technical collaboration. This can include licences and materials to build a vessel as well as assistance with yard upgrades and construction support through technology transfer. Babcock vessel designs lend themselves to an efficient build strategy using the maximum of pre-outfitting. Utilising a modular build strategy can also allow multi-site building, a strategy that has been successfully followed by many naval programs, including the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers.
Babcock International owns and operates complex marine engineering infrastructure at Devonport (Plymouth), Appledore (North Devon) and Rosyth (Scotland) delivering through-life engineering services, technology, equipment consultancy and training to global defence and civil customers. Babcock infrastructure includes large-scale docks, capable of accommodating the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, syncrolift facilities for ships and submarines, nuclear facilities, landing craft facilities and a dedicated frigate support centre, enabling us to deliver solutions that support complex engineering through-life programmes that increase the availability of our customers’ assets with significant cost reductions.
These unique facilities enable Babcock to undertake around 75% of UK surface warship fleet refits and upgrades and 50% fleet maintenance along with 100% of deep maintenance, in-service maintenance, in-service support and through life management of the UK fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. Significantly, HM Naval Base Devonport is situated alongside our own Devonport facility, where 50% of the Royal Navy surface fleet is base-ported.
The UK MOD has also identified the Babcock Rosyth and Devonport facilities, where the laid-up submarines are currently stored afloat, as the chosen locations for the initial submarine dismantling activities associated with its Submarine Dismantling Project. Babcock engineering and marine capabilities at Rosyth make Babcock the partner of choice for some of the most innovative commercial marine businesses world-wide. From Offshore Support Vessels and gas shipping to Floating Production Storage and Offloading vessels (FPSOs) Babcock can support a wide range of ships.
Babcock also manages the Clyde, Devonport and New Zealand Naval Bases, providing critical in-service fleet support and have a joint venture with the Oman Drydock Company at Duqm Naval Dockyard in Oman supporting the UK Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary and international navy vessels operating in the region.
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