How to Build a Bespoke Wooden Packing Case

We’re often asked how we go about putting a bespoke packing case together and how long it takes. On this occasion it’s just 2 minutes and 35 seconds, and here’s how:

How to Build a Bespoke Wooden Packing Case


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Installing three large robotic assembly machines

We know how much everyone loves a good film at Christmas, and this year we have one for you! We recently installed three large robotic assembly machines for a manufacturer of technology here in the South West. It was an interesting job so we filmed it…

Video: Installing three large robotic assembly machines


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Case Study: Clean Room Move at Bristol University

Bristol University’s School of Physics had been home to several Nobel laureates over the years. Pioneering research here has included the discovery of the π meson and the theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.

The school has been responsible for research that has underpinned fundamental advances in quantum mechanics, and it was to accelerate and expand its fabrication capabilities that a new on-campus clean room was built. IES won the tender to provide a range of engineering services to support the School as they relocated various clean room tools from their existing location in the Queen’s Building to the School’s own Physics Building.

The University identified a number of companies to invite to tender, but it soon became clear that there were actually very few that could offer the combination of equipment knowledge and relocation experience offered by IES. This was not a straightforward move, it involved:

  • A complete check of each tool prior to its being disconnected. Tools were tested for efficiency, leak and pump rates and to ensure that they were operationally acceptable
  • The disconnection of all equipment from utilities and then locking down all moving parts to ensure safe movement and transit
  • The physical movement of all the equipment from the lab, wrapping for protection and safety, loading onto the transport vehicle using a tail lift and transfer to the Physics building
  • Offloading the equipment from the transport vehicle and transferring each tool to the lift access level
  • Movement of each tool to the correct area and into position
  • Reconnection of the equipment to utilities
  • Re-commissioning of all equipment and testing to ensure the same operational performance as before
  • Full service of all vacuum equipment including replacement parts and consumables where required




Few projects run completely smoothly, the build time for the new clean room facility overran so IES had to remain completely flexible to help the project complete. It was also recognised that some of the equipment being moved was of an age where problems could justifiably be expected…happily IES’ experience runs deep, the company having retained the knowledge necessary to get all the equipment reconnected and working satisfactorily.

Would the University use IES again? Dr Andrew Murray the Faculty Technician says

“IES has proven to be the ideal partner in this project. Their practical approach, engineering experience and solutions based attitude has made what could have been an extremely difficult move into one that’s ultimately been completed on time and on budget. We’re more than pleased.”

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Case Study: Equipment Pedestals

The University of Southampton is recognised as a leader in Optoelectronics and is home to the Silicon Photonics Group, the group recognised as having carried out the work upon which the first company in silicon photonics was built.

With the intention of further supporting the UK’s silicon photonics research community the university planned the installation of a cost effective multi-project wafer service, a project that required an anti-vibration pedestal for their DUV (Deep Ultra Violet) scanner to be located in their upgraded clean room facility. IES were asked to design, supply and install this pedestal.




Section pedestal for Stepper in 1200mm raised access floor (installed at Southampton University, UK)

IES has considerable experience in the design and manufacture of support pedestals/tables for heavy or vibration sensitive production and R&D equipment. Typically these are used in the semiconductor fabrication process or in environments where a raised access computer floor is required. We were therefore ideally suited to meet Southampton University’s requirement.

The bases we manufacture for vibration sensitive equipment are individually designed to provide the appropriate structural support without permitting the amplification of those vibrational energies that would interfere with the performance of the equipment being supported.

Our first task was to complete detailed on site vibration testing prior to designing the pedestal and computer modelling it. Vibration testing is carried out both pre and post installation.

Our design had to meet the requirements of:

  • The dimensional, vibrational and load bearing specification of the equipment to be supported
  • The existing under floor services, which had to be bridged
  • The limitations of site access

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Dr Iain Anteney, Southampton University’s Cleanroom Complex Manager says:

The University of Southampton used IES to design and install an anti-vibration pedestal for their DUV scanner as part of a £1M upgrade to their cleanroom facilities aimed at providing the UK Silicon Photonics Research Community with a cost effective multi-project wafer service. The ability of IES to provide a complete turnkey solution, including design, build, install and final equipment positioning provided the University with a streamlined and practical solution.”

Another client for whom we’ve designed and installed a number of anti-vibration platforms is Xaar, the world’s leading independent supplier of industrial inkjet print heads. Speaking about IES Jerry Davies, Facilities Manager, Xaar PLC says:

We have built up a trusted relationship with IES who have been have been reliably providing us with tool moving, export packing and transport services for almost a decade.  They have designed and installed over a dozen support pedestals in our Huntingdon clean room suitable for our heavier and vibration sensitive production tools.”

Pedestal for Metrology tool – 240mm raised floor (installed at Xaar, Huntingdon, UK)










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Case Study: IES provides the largest move of its kind to the Bio Medical industry

IES has recently completed (October 2015) a ground-breaking project to package and move laboratory equipment, samples of viruses that can affect livestock and other items contained within laboratories at The Pirbright Institute, in Surrey.

The Pirbright Institute is a world leading centre of research and surveillance of viral diseases of farm animals and viruses that spread from animals to humans. Through fundamental and applied research they work to control, contain and eliminate diseases, such as foot-and-mouth, bluetongue and swine flu.

Pirbright has recently opened a new state-of-the-art laboratory facility at their headquarters in Surrey and expertise from IES was required for a highly delicate and complex move from previous laboratory buildings to the new facility. The BBSRC National Virology Centre: The Plowright Building now houses 150 scientists and staff and will play a vital role in the ongoing fight against some of the word’s most devastating viral diseases

Because of the content within the laboratories – sensitive equipment and highly contagious pathogens- IES was contracted as a specialist packaging and logistics company to plan and carry out the relocation. Pirbright’s project management and biosecurity teams tasked IES to come up with a project plan to package and transfer of all the equipment – the first move of this scale anywhere in Europe.

Tim Patten, Operations Manager at IES was briefed to come up with a packing solution so that all equipment and temperature sensitive samples could be moved without damage. Tim, in conjunction with the project team, devised a detailed 70-page plan about the packing requirements and procedures that would be needed for the move. This included risk assessments, mitigation plans and method statements. The plan for the move also had to meet the requirements of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Testing and collation of data was also carried out by IES to ensure the process would work. All materials, including the clear plastics that were to be used to form a sealed barrier were tested as they had to stand up to various specifications including being impermeable, being robust under duress and being resistant to a disinfectant wipe down. The testing was critical as any failure of the packaging during the move could have jeopardised. The Pirbright Institute’s Defra license.

Once testing and the plan was completed, IES carried out the management of the move to the new facility: Coordinating the IES packing staff and The Pirbright Institute’s external contractors to ensure that the agreed method statements and risk assessments were adhered to. Most of the move has now been completed successfully and the final phase started in October 2015.

Joan Shadwell, Project Manager for The Pirbright Institute, was responsible for the move and commissioned IES to supply the packing and project management of the move. She said:

“This project was very unusual as we had an enormous amount of equipment that had to be moved from a restricted area. We were looking for a unique wrapping solution and IES were able to provide this. We couldn’t use our normal externalisation methods as this would have taken too long and most of the equipment is too sensitive to the harsh treatments, but HSE and Defra allowed us to wrap materials three times before transporting them across open ground. IES had to write the procedures, then we had to get approval from HSE and Defra and our internal Biosecurity Department.  We were very pleased as both the planning and the move went exceedingly well and ran really smoothly. This is the first time we have moved equipment from high containment laboratories, on this scale, to a brand new building. When we did come across any issues, Tim and the team at IES were flexible and able to come up with unique solutions. We found them to be professional, friendly and accommodating and nothing was ever a problem.”

Matt Boyd, Sales Director from IES added:

“This packing and logistics project for The Pirbright Institute was a very unique challenge- a task like this had never been done on this scale for such highly sensitive equipment and samples of viral diseases. The packing and project management that we carried out, can now be adapted to meet the requirements of any organisation that has biosecurity requirements, for example in the medical, science or research and development sectors.”

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6 Simple Steps to CE Marking

This is the third in a series of blogs we’ve been posting about CE Marking. It’s obviously a subject that’s important to us at IES, but for a very good reason. A large number of importers and manufacturers do not fully understand the application of, or the implications behind, CE Marking legislation as it is increasingly being implemented. This is not something that can be ignored or easily got over when and if you’re caught!

So, to be clear, the products affected can be found under the Directives listed in our April 2015 blog at  The countries CE Marking applies to are all those in the European Economic Area (EEA), comprising the EU and EFTA countries plus Switzerland and Turkey.

Responsibility for securing CE Marking and then for placing it on the product is entirely that of the manufacturer or, if applicable, the importer or distributor into those countries involved. This responsibility involves the initial carrying out of the conformity assessment, the setting up of the technical file, the issue of the EC Declaration of Conformity (DoC) and the placement of  CE Marking on the product concerned.


The process will depend on your product, so:

Step One: Identify the Directive that applies to your product.

Step Two: Make sure your product complies with the essential requirements of the Directive.

Step Three: Check whether you need to have an independent conformity assessment for you product.

Step Four: Test your product for conformity, including a risk assessment.

Step Five: Prepare and have available all the technical documentation required by the Directive.

Step Six: CE Marking your product. This is a complicated procedure in itself.

Easy? No, not at all. And whilst it’s possible to undertake this procedure for yourself our experience would strongly advise against it. You’re far better working with experts who will guide you through the entire process, ultimately saving you both time and money.

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CE Marking, What should comply?

If you’re reading this and asking yourself whether your products have to have CE Marking, the answer is most probably “Yes”. This legislation, presented in the form of an EU Directive, covers an extensive range of products.

It’s a reflection on the importance of Europe as a world market that we have been targeted by manufacturers worldwide, all keen to win a slice of our spending, but many of whom have been promoting products that fail to meet our accepted national standards. The CE mark was introduced to show that a product is in compliance with the appropriate directives and standards. As a result any applicable product that does not carry CE Marking should not be sold and similarly CE Marking on a product permits enforcement agencies to withdraw any non-conforming products. Only CE Marked and compliant products may be legally placed on any of the 30 markets that make up the EU and EFTA (plus Switzerland), and move freely amongst them.

So what products are included? The following are some of the directives. Each carries a detailed description, and we’d be happy to help you to unpack the detail should any apply to your product. Please note that more than one directive may be applicable

  • 2001/95/EC – General Product Safety Directive
  •  2006/95/EC – Electrical Equipment designed for use within certain limits
  • 87/404/EEC – Simple Pressure Vessels
  • 88/378/EEC – Safety of Toys
  • 89/106/EEC – Construction Products
  • 2004/108/EC – Electromagnetic compatibility
  • 89/686/EEC – Personal Protective Equipment
  • 90/384/EEC – Non-automatic weighing instruments
  • 90/383/EEC – Active Implantable Medical Devices
  • 90/396/EEC – Appliances Burning Gaseous Fuels
  • 92/42/EC – New hot-water boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fuels
  • 93/15/EEC – Explosives for civil use
  • 93/42/EC – Medical Devices
  • 94/9/EC – Equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres
  • 94/25/EC – Recreational Craft
  • 95/16/EC – Lifts
  • 97/23/EC – Pressure Equipment
  • 2006/42/EC – Machinery
  • 98/79/EC – In Vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • 1999/5/EC – Radio Equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment
  • 2000/9/EC – Cableway Installations designed to carry persons
  • 2004/22/EC – Measuring Instruments

Remember that it’s the manufacturer or their representative who is responsible, so even if you’re importing a product from outside the EU / EFTA you’ll need to make sure that it is CE marked and compliant.

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CE Marking – Top 10 misconceptions

The 1st July 2015 will prove to be a pivotal day in the history of CE Marking. It’s the day on which Trading Standards gain the power not just to force the withdrawal of products not clearly CE Marked from the market but  to close down any company selling those products… until, that is, they can prove compliance, and compliance can be costly, time consuming and, ultimately, isn’t guaranteed. Product recalls can be a logistical and expensive nightmare, and the damage of such action in terms of reputation can be crippling.

For all of that there’s something of an “elephant in the room” syndrome in the air, with most companies aware that something is happening but many not knowing the full details or what to do about them. As a result rumour and myth has replaced fact, and with July looming, it’s time to expose some of those myths…

Myth Number One is that this won’t affect you. It will. If you market a product that requires CE Marking you will need to comply. The danger is that you might think that your products comply when they don’t, because:

Myth Number Two is that because your components are CE Marked your finished product is too. It isn’t. Construction Product Regulations clarify this, your finished product, whatever it is, has to be assessed and CE Marked too. Be aware that this also applies to kits to be assembled by the purchaser.

Myth Number Three assumes that because the company’s products are one-offs CE Marking isn’t necessary. This is heading onto thin ice because whilst it is true that uniquely singular items do not require CE Marking, the regular production of a series of similarly conceived items does. Is it worth being unsure of the need for CE Marking in a case like this? We wouldn’t think so! You may want to receive expert advice.

Myth Number Four says that dealing with CE Marking is relatively easy and can be done in- house. There’s a twist to this myth which is that initial failure can be quickly rectified and overcome. We would recommend a read of the various standards to be met (two parts of EN 1090, up to five parts of EN 3834 plus 14/30292703 DC and EN 14735) before taking this myth too seriously…and that’s before having to formulate and introduce new factory production controls and quality management systems. The truth is that CE Marking is an area of considerable expertise and should not be undertaken lightly. Rectification having failed certification first time around may be relatively easy, but re-testing is both costly and time consuming and meanwhile you’re off the market…

Ignorance may be bliss until 1st July, but thereafter ignorance could be commercially fatal. Why risk it? Contact us on +44 (0)117 938 0600 and ask to talk to us. We’ll be able to advise you as to exactly what steps you need to take.

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IES approved for the Military Packager Approval Scheme (MPAS) by the MOD

Bristol-based packaging, logistic and engineering company IES has recently been approved for the prestigious Military Packager Approval Scheme (MPAS) by the Ministry of Defence.


IES is the first company in the country to secure MPAS through the route of gaining approval from scratch, rather than being transferred over from the MOD’s previous packaging approval scheme, known as DR/14.

MPAS has been awarded to only 26 other companies nationally who meet the MOD’s stringent standards that certify them to package goods for the defence industry. To gain MPAS, an IES packer Piotr Strug undertook various stages of training and assessment. This included intensive online training, then a five-day expert course culminating in a series of practical exams.  Meanwhile, IES implemented new ISO 9000 management processes, which were audited by an MOD approved external certification body Lloyds Registered Quality Assurance (LRQA).

IES has been involved with the Export Packing business since 1991 and has supplied this service to companies such as Rolls Royce, GE and Intel. Over the last three years turnover has increased by 30 per cent.  More significantly, the business has grown from a £4.5 million turnover in 2005 to a £7.5 million turnover in 2014, an increase of an impressive 66%. At the same time IES has expanded from employing 31 people to 45 people. Having recently taken on new packaging staff, the MPAS registration will enable IES to achieve further business growth and therefore increase the workforce.

Matt Boyd, Sales Director from IES said:

“It is extremely important for our business that we have secured the MPAS registration and certification from the MOD. It will open up a whole new area of business for us and we are confident that we will win some big contracts, which will have a positive impact, both on the local economy and us. We are forecasting high growth over the next three years and predict more recruitment will be needed to help us carry out the extra work required. There are numerous companies in the South West who supply parts to the MOD and they all need a packaging supplier who has this essential MPAS registration.”

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FAQ: CE Marking

CE Marking

Why CE Marking?
We live in an increasingly litigious world where manufacturers are required to justify and prove the capability of their products, and ever more aware consumers want to know what they’re buying. To respond to these commercial needs the ability to meet, prove and then advertise adherence to widely recognized standards is paramount. This is especially true when selling into the huge but savvy consumer world that is Europe, where CE marking is a pre-requisite, where applicable. If you are considering selling into any countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), this could apply to you.

What does having a CE Mark actually mean?
It’s a declaration made by the supplier that all applicable conformity assessment procedures have been completed and that the product conforms to EU Directives. There are numerous product categories presently covered including:
• Equipment with electromagnetic emission (EMC)
• Low voltage electrical equipment (LV)
• Machinery

Is CE Marking Obligatory?
Yes, under European Law, as well as the national laws of each EU Member State.
European Union directives, known as the “New Approach Directives”, define “essential requirements” related to health, safety and environmental issues. All products covered by these New Approach Directives must be CE marked unless a specific Directive says otherwise. Note too that the same product may be subject to several CE Marking Directives.

Use of a CE mark is a declaration of conformity; it follows that a product should not be CE marked if there is no Directive in place for that product. Note that, when applicable the CE Mark should be attached to
• All new products, whether manufactured in the Member States or in third countries
• Used and second-hand products imported from third countries; and
• To products that have been substantially modified, unless the applicable Directives specifically excludes this requirement.

CE Mark

How should I apply the CE Mark?
Only the manufacturer, or his authorised representative within the EEA may apply CE Marking, which must take the form described in Directive 93/68/EEC. The manufacturer assumes ultimate responsibility for applying the mark or the manufacturer may appoint an authorised representative who should be based within the Community to act on their behalf. This person or organisation then assumes the responsibilities of the manufacturer.

When is the CE Mark applied?
Only once all assessment procedures covering conformity have been completed and the product is completely compliant.

Can we be sure that a product affixed with the CE marking is safe?
There is never a 100% guarantee that a product bearing the CE marking is safe. However, with the adoption of Regulation 765/2008pdf and Decision 768/2008pdf, the obligations of the manufacturer are spelled out and it is clear that by affixing the CE marking to a product, the manufacturer assumes full responsibility for its compliance with all applicable requirements in EU legislation.

It is the system behind the CE marking that ensures its proper functioning. The entire system, consisting of manufacturers, importers, distributors, notified bodies and market surveillance authorities, has been strengthened through the New Legislative Framework, which aims to further reduce burdens on trade while, at the same time ensuring a high level of safety and protection of other public interests.

Can I, as a manufacturer, affix the CE marking to my products?
Yes, the CE marking is always affixed by the manufacturer or by their authorised representative after the necessary conformity assessment procedure has been performed.

What is a manufacturer’s Declaration of Conformity (DoC)?
This document indicates that the product in question meets all the necessary requirements stipulated in the applicable directive. It can only be issued by the manufacturer or his representative, as detailed above.

Who supervises the correct use of the CE marking?
Public authorities in EU Member States in cooperation with the European Commission.

What are the penalties for counterfeiting the CE marking?
It varies by Member State but Economic operators may be liable to a fine and, in some circumstances, imprisonment and products may be withdrawn or recalled from the market.

Where can I find more information?
On the European Commission website. You can download the ‘Guide to the Implementation of Directives based on the New Approach and the Global Approach’, (often referred to as “The Blue Guide“). You can also contact the Enterprise Europe Network.

For the full version of this article or any other questions please contact IES.

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