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Subsea & Offshore Service magazine (SOS) picks the brains of Phil Robinson of Bender UK. Bender is a global leader in electrical safety technology, delivering solutions which monitor and provide advanced warning of developing insulation faults in a diverse range of industry sectors.

Phil Robinson

Welcome to SOS Magazine, so first up please introduce yourself and Bender UK Limited…

Phil Robinson. I am responsible for managing oil, gas and mining customers and finding new applications for our electrical safety technology - specifically within the UK and Ireland.

Oil, Gas and mining are key sectors for Bender. We patented the worlds first insulation monitor over seven decades ago in a mining application. In terms of oil and gas, our devices are widely used in on-shore, off-shore and sub-sea applications to detect and provide early warning of electrical failure.

Bender Insulation Monitoring Devices (IMD’s) continuously monitor the insulation resistance of IT power systems, raising alarms when values dropped below permitted thresholds. In oil and gas applications these warnings are vital to protect equipment and reduce harmful risks to systems, equipment and personnel, reducing downtime and costs of remedial activity.

Bender UK is part of the Bender Group, a global family business, established for over seven decades. The Bender group employs over 700 staff, with 50+ employees in the UK responsible for sales, marketing, service, applications engineering and technical support, with offshore engineering capabilities.

What is your favoured/most popular product in the Offshore Oil and Gas market and would you know why that might be?...

Bender has a large product range, so this is not an easy question to answer. However, we do have a best-in-class which is the ISOMETER® iso685 insulation monitoring device.

Used widely in critical applications, we have a specific subsea variant - isoHR685, which is a fantastic product. The subsea industry needs to measure up to 10GΩ and this device can do just that. Many customers choose this insulation monitor as it offers userfriendly, trusted and capable technology, with a range of reporting functions built in. Lloyds approved it is fully tested and approved, meets our customer’s expectations and is extremely robust and reliable. Importantly it is also backwards compatible so upgrades to aging devices are simple and straightforward for our customers who recognise the benefits of re-investment in technology upgrades.

How do you go about giving customers peace of mind that you provide the best service for them?...

Bender has been established over seven decades. The third generation of family owners play an active role in the business and the whole company ethos is based around the customer, technology and our reputation as experts and pioneers in electrical safety.

Bender UK has experienced technical and engineering teams working on implementation projects which includes offshore services such as survey and commissioning. In Germany we have an outstanding research and development team, who are committed future technologies and continuous improvement in our products. Coupled with our 5-year product warranty this full-service delivery gives our customers the peace of mind. We can even lease equipment packages now in the event of budget constraints if needs be.

What differentiates Bender UK and makes you stand out from your competition?

We invented the insulation monitor and are a global leader in this field. As a privately owned, independent global family business, we have unique values and attributes and can differentiate and set our own priorities much easier than global corporations.

As an OEM most of our design, development, production and test is conducted in house by the Bender Group of companies, giving us much greater control.

We have offices worldwide and our strategy globally is very much aligned so we are addressing the same objectives and priorities.

In the last decade we have invested 40M Euro is a state-of-the-art production centre in Grunberg, Germany, which was formally opened in 2017, producing some of the highest quality products in the world.

Through our brand, history and reputation our customers have faith in who we are and what we do. Our products have long life-cycles and we ensure that they are continuously improved and updated to meet changes in technology and ever-increasing demands of our customers.

Is the Oil and Gas marketplace showing signs of growth and has the looming Brexit had an impact at all in working with UK companies/individuals?...

Yes, we are seeing an increase in activity now. Customers are engaging with us again and the number of opportunities is increasing.

With aging assets out in the field there will be demands to improve these in 2019 well as investing in new systems. Our technology provides valuable information to operators, and if used correctly can prevent downtime, loss of production and wasted engineering resource – enabling our customers to operate more safely and cost effectively.

Brexit will hopefully play out over the next few months, and be it a hard or soft exit, I believe business will continue as it is a necessity.

As Bender UK are part of a large European company we have planned for both contingencies but as a global supplier to the sector it will be business as usual.

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