Georgina's Blog

SHAPA has been the UK's leading specialist Association for the solids handling and processing industry since its formation in 1981. Our support and assistance has allowed our members to maximise their profitability, whilst taking advantage of the many benefits afforded by the Association.

Georgina's Blog

Nearly the end of January - 2019 has flown by so far!!

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written a blog, been so busy doing many different things, especially having just finished my mock exams, applying to University, work experience and creating my other projects!

I can finally say I’ve sent off my UCAS application for University. I have applied to Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham for Mechanical Engineering (MEng), Durham University for General Engineering (MEng) and Product Design Engineering at Loughborough University (MEng). I received conditional offers back from Leeds and Sheffield and an unconditional from Nottingham, and am looking forward to the post-offer visit days that I will be going on soon.

Back to the topic of this blog though, the work experience around Portakabin!

On the 5th of December, I was shown around Portakabin in York by David Offen. David is the design and manufacturing lead, and has previously worked within the Aerospace Industry as well. He was very knowledgeable and informative about all of the processes occurring within the different units and gave me an excellent tour explaining all of the different manufacturing methods and systems that are in place. Seeing the systems in action that I’ve been learning about in the theory section of my Design and Technology A-level gave me a much deeper understanding.

Whilst sat in the reception at the beginning of the day, the companies mottos and policies were presented on the wall. Although I can’t remember them exactly, they covered issues such as teamwork, sustainability, efficiency and quality. These were clearly in place across the factory to allow Portakabin to complete their mission, “To provide peace of mind for our customers across Europe through quality products and services.”

As I explored further around Portakabin, it seemed to turn into Narnia, as it continued to expand further and further. There was something new, innovative and more advanced around every corner. Their modular buildings are all made in different units, some of which I went around. The units were built with the first one being made first and then the next, until the last one which has just been developed. This was very clear as the technology and systems within the manufacturing processes kept on developing, as we went into the more modern units.

The first unit had more workers in than the last, yet the last used more computer controlled (CNC) machinery. After having used a CNC router at school for the F1 in Schools Competition, David showed me their CNC router, which roughly filled the size of a normal room - crazy! The router allowed them to cut out panels accurately and to a good quality, whilst speeding the process up compared to if it was done by hand with a jigsaw.

Another major difference between the units was how the panel was moved between the different work stations, within the Unit Production System. Within the first unit, the panel had to move in a range of directions, across the unit from one workspace to another. The panel was held up on balancing boxes that ensured that the panel was flat so that any processes were done accurately to a high quality. Within the final unit, the panel was placed onto rollers along a track system on the floor, which moved the panel in a linear direction from one side of the unit to the other. David explained how the track along the floor was perfectly calibrated such that it was completely straight in any direction. This was an amazing fact as the track went on for around 100 meters and allowed 1 man to push a panel along on the rollers with minimal effort. Overhead conveyors and cranes transported the required components as well as lifted on panels such as the roof. These linear and overhead along with Kanban systems improved the efficiency of the process, as the required components are automatically sent to the right area at the right time, within the JIT production system.
Once the roof has been assembled and the quality control check for the structure of the building is passed, the building is taken outside for the rest of the work to be completed. This would include features like extra fittings or painting, and made the whole manufacturing process much more efficient, as it uses outdoor storage rather than wasting vital indoor space.

Across the units David showed me how different quality control systems were in place, to ensure the processes are completed correctly and accurately. At the entrance to each different area within the units, there was a board with many booklets of how to complete each task, in order to get new workers up to speed as quickly as possible, or notify the workers of the correct way to complete the task, for the safety of themselves and any in the vicinity, as well as not wasting any resources. This is vital for a company like Portakabin, where the workers are constantly being moved around to ensure they stay motivated and the processes are efficient.

After touring round the site, I went back to the main office, where David showed me the current project that he is working on with the rest of the team. As they are developing the project, they have been utilising rapid prototyping methods to test and analyse ideas. One of their latest ideas used a very clever offsetting system, to make the join stronger, and clay was used to stimulate welding.

I would like to say a massive thank you to David, for creating a very interesting and informative day, as well to everyone at Portakabin who made my experience very enjoyable. And obviously not forgetting those who arranged the day - thank you very much.

09/04/18 - The F1 Finals

What an incredible experience competing at the National Finals of the F1 in Schools competition. Throughout 2 days of intense competition and jam packed action, Ginetta Racing Edu earnt the ‘Team Sponsorship and Marketing’ award, as well as being nominated for the ‘Pit Display’ and ‘Innovation’ awards, and having the second fastest car! read the full article here


1.137 seconds - the time our F1 in Schools car took to complete the 20m track at Regionals. read more here....


Reaching the end of a very busy Christmas term, we have lots to look back on, such as assisting backstage with the school play and Christmas concert, as well as designing and manufacturing the F1 in Schools Car.

At the beginning of the term, during my Design & Technology lessons, we started to design and build our own drone from scratch. This meant we had to plan the placement of the ESC’s, motor, battery, transmitter and the main control board in order to make the drone successful in flying. After many failed attempts due to numerous motor problems, resulting in many recalibration attempts, I’m proud to let you know that we got it flying about 10m in the air!!

Another interesting event of the Christmas term, was going to watch A-level Physics live in Manchester, where we listened to experts in physics talk about their current projects. This year’s lectures included highlights about Quantum Mechanics from Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Professor Trevor Cox talking about Acoustic Engineering, and the design process behind creating a room with good acoustic properties. However, my favourite lecture of the day was from Dr Michael Brooks, who gave a thought-provoking speech about time-travel and trying to define the word ‘time.’ - I’m still puzzled over how I might define ‘time’.

The final few weeks of the Christmas term were very busy for me, as I was helping with the school play ‘As you like it’. Being part of the backstage crew, I assisted the technical director in setting up the fixed lights on the trusses, rewiring many plugs and lights, and set up lots of complex electrical wiring, with help from some of her professional team. The highlight though, was climbing to the top of the Memorial Hall - 3 flights of ladders up! In order to retrieve some gels for the lights. During the performances, I was the Stage Electrician, so I was given the responsibility of setting up all the radio mics, and ensuring they worked, and controlling the smoke machine. Other than this, I had to reset a fuse of one of

the major lights and assemble part of a heavy wooden tree for the set, all during the performance.

A week later, for the Christmas Concerts, I was put on the following spotlight, which meant I had to set up the wiring for my own comms system, and improvise to light up the soloists and instrumentalists during pieces, as well as creating a figure of 8 for the drum roll of the raffle - and I had no prompts!

Outside of engineering, I passed my level 1 in tennis coaching, and competed for the school in an ESU MACE debating competition, where i spoke as part of the swing team, practising both my debating and public speaking skills, which i was complimented on. I received very useful feedback from this which I hope to put in place for more competitive debating competitions in the future.

The next blog will be an update of the F1 in Schools competition, and comes assisted with some videos!!



Read about Georgina's Blog   Georgina's Blog

Merry Christmas


2020 Solids Handling Industry Awards are now Open

The Solids Handling & Processing Association (SHAPA) are delighted to announce that the annual Solids Handling Awards to promote success and achievement across our collective industries,  are now open to all companies registered in UK, whether SHAPA members or not, who are directly involved in the solids handling and processing industry. This exciting opportunity will comprise awards in four categories: the Innovation Award, the Export Award, the Newcomer Award and the SHAPA Company of the Year Award...

Shapa Welcomes their new Arkwright Student

SHAPA Council Member James Podevyn and Ian Birkinshaw attended the Arkwright scholarship presentation event in Edinburgh to welcome our new Arkwright scholar Theo Cains to the Association


Explosion Safety Revisited

Over the past months The SHAPA technical committee have reviewed the information available and updated the advice given in the two publications within the SHAPA technical library available at these being Compliance with Legislation Implementing the Atex directive and an Atex PowerPoint presentation....

Dust extraction systems

Wherever solid particulates are handled, processed, stored or are created, as a bi product of a process such as machining or finishing, dust is usually generated.
This dust needs to be controlled to prevent risks to health and environmental damage...

The New Shapa Supplement Now Available

Always in Control

Industry 4.0 is reported to be the next major revolution in industrialisation. The main focus is to take all the individual processes and systems that are used in manufacturing to manage and control production, and import them into a cloud-based system This allows the workflow, product changes and the management of each and every individual machine or a series of machines can be controlled remotely...

Sucess for Georgina

Georgina Edwards, SHAPAs Arkwright Scholar has sucessfully passed her A levels with flying colours and is now bound for Loughborough University to continue on with her studies. We wish her well in the future and pass on our congratulations and best wishes.

Shapa and Santander Trade Mission

Shapa has been working with Santander to help organise a World Food India 19 trade mission to take place on the 1- 4th November 2019, for more information please download the flyer here 

Materials in Motion

Most products at some stage of their life during production or manufacture, utilise materials in powder or granulated form. This is where the challenge can be for the designers of equipment and processes to move these types of materials from place to place, horizontally, vertically or somewhere in between. The conveyor or elevator designer must consider a multitude of parameters, probably more than twenty in their pursuit of the most effective solution....

SHAPA Announces the winners of the 2019 Solids Handling Industry Awards

Open and Shut Case

There are many types of valves used within the bulk handling industry for controlling, conditioning or diverting the flow of powders or liquids. There are three main types of valves, these being shut off, diverter and rotary valves.

Solids Handling Awards - Shortlist

2019 has once again been an excellent year for the Solids Handling industry with many successes in all areas of solids and material handling, these successes have produced a strong shortlist for each of this years award categories. This year the award categories are, Solids Handling Export Award, Solids Handling Innovation Award, Solids Handling Newcomer Award and Solids Handling Company of the year award. The shortlisted nominations for each award category are:-

Solids Handling Industry Awards Dinner

Bookings are now being taken for the 2019 Solids Handling Industry Awards evening. This year the awards are being held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on the evening of the 8th May. Once again one delegate from each member company can attend the AGM and dinner free of charge, with additional delegates paying a nominal fee to cover the evening meal.   These awards are going from strength and this years nominations have been among the best that we have received. After the award presentations we will be entertained by local comedian Brian Newbold who comes highly recommended. There are still places available for this chance to celebrate the best in our industry and network with your friends and colleagues. Once again the dinner is open to members, their spouses, partners, customers and suppliers. So don’t miss out on this great opportunity just complete the booking form to guarantee your place   Please follow the link to download the AGM and Awards dinner booking form

Shapa Celebrates International Women's Day

SHAPA is proud to be involved with International Women’s Day on the 8th March to celebrate and promote successes in the world of Solids Handling and Processing. International Women’s Day provides a spotlight to showcase the commitment to women's equality, launch new initiatives and action, celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness, highlight gender parity gains and more.

See the Full story here

Magnetic Attraction

Most common manufacturing applications have a requirement for the use of Industrial metal detection systems for the inspection of bulk powders, granular or free flowing products. This is common place within the majority of most Food, Pharmaceutical and O.E.M applications where metal detection systems are used as part of a quality control programme.

Getting the Mix Right

The terminology ‘mixing’ and ‘blending’ is often grouped together as the same process, technically they are slightly different. The process of blending is the homogenous distribution of differing materials and is usually a relatively gentle process. Whereas mixing is usually a more aggressive process involving the combining of materials through the beating or stirring of the contents within a static vessel...

Safety of Machinery and CE Marking for Machinery workshop details launched

SHAPA are holding the workshop to give designers of machinery the knowledge and tools to design safe machinery in accordance with current Machinery and associated directives. it will also include a section on any implications as a result of the brexit agreements...

11th Digital Marketing workshop details launched

Shapa are holding the 11 th Digital Marketing Workshop, this highly successful event helps keep pace with the latest developments in Digital marketing. The event is exclusively for member companies and covers, whats new in Digital Marketing, Google analytics, Online advertising, and your Digital Marketing Toolbox to name but a few of the areas to be covered...

16th Jan 2019 Shapa General Meeting - Agenda

Agenda for the SHAPA General Meeting- Wednesday 16th January 2019 at 10:00 am

The George Hotel
WS13 6PR

1. Apologies for Absence
2. Minutes and Matters Arising
3. General Secretary’s and Membership Report
4. Chairman’s Report
5. Technical Committee Report
6. Marketing Committee Report

7. Coffee

8. Presentations

    Imagineering – A New project
    Bob Shanks - Imagineering Foundation

    Maximising your innovations
    Tony Cassidy- The MPA Group

9.   AOB – and dates of next Meetings
10. Buffet lunch

Merry Christmas

Christmas SHAPA

2019 Solids Handling Industry Awards are now open for nominations

Solids Handling Awards 2019

The Solids Handling & Processing Association (SHAPA) are delighted to announce that the annual Solids Handling Awards to promote success and achievement across our collective industries, that are open to all companies registered in UK, whether SHAPA members or not, who are directly involved in the solids handling and processing industry...

2019 Solids Handling Industry Awards open on the 1st December 2018

The 2019 Solids handling Industry awards are oepn form the 1st December 2018, the Catagories are Innovation, Export, Newcomer and Company of the Year. This year the Awards Ceremony will be held at the Royal Armories in leeds on the 8th May 2019. Don't miss out on these prestigious awards download the application form today.Tthe closing date for entries is the 28th Feburary 2019. 


As this year’s exhibition season is now ending it is very heartening to see that despite competition from other media, internet and so on, the physical exhibition remains an important marketing tool. Three of the exhibitions held this autumn, Recycled Waste Management (RWM), PPMA and BULKEX18 for Bulk Handling equipment providers and processors demonstrated the wide reach of our remit, from raw material production, via processing and manufacture, packaging and distribution through to final recycling and waste disposal...

Digital Marketing Workshop 2019

The date for the next Digital Marketing workshop has been announced as the 26th March 2019 at the East Midlands Hilton Hotel more details to follow.

Shapa General Meeting 24th October George Hotel Lichfield

IIntroduction to Bulk Handling Workshop

Shapa is running a new Introduction to Bulk Handling Workshop to be held at Nestle in york on the 4th December 2018. This workshop is specifically designed to take some of the mystique out of solids and bulk handling...The course which
is aimed at those who have just joined the bulk handling community and those who already work in the bulk handling industry in sales, marketing, accounts and operations etc. who feel that they need a deeper understanding of how
their products and services fit into the wider environment....

Better by Design

It is well known that an elegant design that works reliably is devoid of baulking obstructions and ambiguities and is simple to understand and operate. It is, of necessity, the result of ingenuity, experience, good applied science and engineering....

Safe to Breathe

For more than a century there have been efforts to improve air quality in the working environment, both in enclosed factories and other industrial areas. Even with scant knowledge of respiratory diseases it had been clear that people were more productive in a cleaner and better environment....


SHAPA announces the award catagories for 2019

The catagories for the 2019 Solids Handling Industry Awards have been Finalised, these are, Innovation, Export, Newcomer and Company of the Year. The presentation of the awards will be on the 30th April 2019. A venue will be announced shortly 


Hoppers, Silos and Storage Solutions

It used to be that all you needed to store your materials was a large area where your product could be piled high on top of its self out in the open air. As time has moved forward the need for more sophisticated storage solutions are required in order to safely store the ever-increasing range of bulk solid materials with their differing properties .....

SHAPA July General Meeting

The next SHAPA General meeting is on the 4th July at the George Hotel Lichfield download the agenda here


And the Winners of the 2018 Solids Handling Awards are:

Shapa's Arkwright Student posts her latest Blog

What an incredible experience competing at the National Finals of the F1 in Schools competition. Throughout 2 days of intense competition and jam packed action, Ginetta Racing Edu earnt the ‘Team Sponsorship and Marketing’ award, as well as being nominated for the ‘Pit Display’ and ‘Innovation’ awards, and having the second fastest car! Read the full article here

Promoting Success

Since time immemorial progress has been driven by innovation and invention and the desire to continually improve and better ones self. The desire to learn, improve and push at boundaries is an integral part of our nature. Whilst innovation in solids handling and processing seldom hits the headlines, it nonetheless drives the machinery of progress across an enormous range of industries.....


Shapa Announces the 2018 Solids Handling Shortlisted finalists

2018 has been an excellent year for the Solids Handling industry with many successes in all areas of Solids Handling, these successes have produced a strong shortlist for each of the award categories. this year the sortlisted entrys are ....

10th Anniversary Digital Marketing Workshop

Details of the 10th annual digital marketing workshop have been released,download the flyer for the event here and a booking form to make sure you do not miss out on this vital workshop which will give you the tools to improve your digital marketing profile

Health of the Nation

The need for solid health and safety systems procedures and practices is more important than ever as we move out of the European and customs union into World Trade Organisation rules for the global market read more here....

Only three weeks left to enter the 2018 Solids Handling industry awards - dont miss out

Learning to succeed

Many companies are founded on the back of an innovative idea by forward thinking people skilled in design, engineering, project management, marketing or other discipline. Whilst still small, the skills required to operate all aspects may possibly be gained by the founder. In former, less complicated times this may have been true as the firm expanded, but the pace of change of technology, standards and legislation as well as in marketing and particularly in financial accounting necessitates constant learning and improvement. The huge range of applications and processes served by our industry just adds to this challenge.....

Shapa's Arkwright Student posts her second Blog

Reaching the end of a very busy Christmas term, we have lots to look back on, such as assisting backstage with the school play and Christmas concert, as well as designing and manufacturing the F1 in Schools Car....

SHAPA January Meeting

The next General meeting will be held on the 24th January at the George Hotel in Lichfield starting at 10:00
Find out about OEE and GDPR, along with all the usual networking oppertunities.
for more details email Ian at and download the agenda

Applications are invited for the 2018 Solids Handling Industry awards

Shapa has launched the 2018 Solids Handling Industry awards, these awards are now open to all UK registered member and non member companies and institutions operating in the Solids Handling and Processing Industry. Application forms will be  available direct from the website from 01/12/2017 and winners will be announced and presented at the awards ceremony in the evening of 17th April 2018 more information is available in the link

2018 Solids Handling Industry Awards

Details of the award catagories and award launch date have been announced, for further information follow the link

Solids Dortmund 2018

Details have been released regarding the international Solids Handling show to be held in Dortmund on the 7th and 8th November 2018, for more information please follow the  link

CHoPS 2018

**Abstracts deadline extended to 22-12-17 ** for more information follow the link

Financial Awarness Training

This course has been especially designed for Shapa members and will include content specifically related to our industry

Who should attend ?
Anyone involved in driving their business forward e.g Managing Directors, Directors/Managers & Account Managers etc , whatever their level of financial knowledge. The workshop is designed to enable everyone to take away practical tips and strategic insight suitable to their skills and experience, whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced. So join us for and inspiring and enjoyable day out.

Download the detailedinformation and a booking form,today

If you can return these back to  as soon as possible so I can make the necessary arrangements and  if you feel that this course would help with someone in your close supply chain please feel free to include them.