A FAMILY-RUN business based in Smithstown, Shannon is playing a crucial role in improving the national water and gas infrastructures.
Tensile Testing Services, which specialises in quality control in pipe welding for agencies including Irish Water and Gas Networks Ireland along with pharmaceuticals, is a company in the ascendency having purchased a new facility in Shannon, while it is now focussed on building on its professional training services.
Co-founder Joseph Birney explains that Tensile Testing has a 15-year history and has been integral to the development of improving gas and water networks in Ireland. He tells The Clare Echo. “When Irish Water and Gas Networks employ contractors in the field to install the pipes for their transmission – which are carrying the water and the gas in the ground – as part of their quality control they sample welds periodically to ensure they are suited for licenced service. So that weld will be cut out and sent to us, then we’re like the big brother monitoring the quality of workmanship in the industry.”
Their base in Smithstown has proved a fotuitous location, both central to a DPD hub and close to Shannon Airport. The Clarecastle resident and former Syntex employee started the company with Richard Roberts. Joseph, who came from an engineering and welding background, identified that weld testing had become a laborious task for companies who were forced to outsource to the UK, creating additional time and cost. Noting that there was a “huge increase in failures in the network”, Joseph and Richard developed Tensile Testing Services. Richard has since relocated to his native Scotland and Tensile Testing has become a family business, with son Joseph and partner Patricia now among the business’s ranks.
In recent years Tensile Testing has seized additional opportunities afforded by the Government trying to solve the housing crisis. “Even during Covid, there was a huge drive on housing as we have a huge housing problem. That’s generating work all the time because each housing estate needs infrastructure which is water and gas pipes.”
Joseph tells The Clare Echo that since its beginnings, Local Enterprise Office Clare has been a vital support. That has been a consistent theme and as Tensile Testing moves onto the next phase of its business story, Clare LEO continue to be part of their journey.
“We’re developing more into the training side of it for Irish Water, they’re requesting that their field engineers be trained and also the welding personnel for the different contractors. We’re developing into the hiring and manufacturing of specific pieces as well,” says Joseph.
“We initially approached Clare LEO to give us assistance at the start with business training and setting up. We recently progressed to a new building and they were integral part of our support, helping us with management training courses and having someone in the background to deal with. We also received Brexit training and help with basic principles of doing business plans.”
Tensile Testing are also on a road to lowering their carbon footprint and through the Clare LEO’s Green For Micro programme, have availed of a consultant to develop a ‘greener’ policy and improve efficiency.
“All along, I can’t say enough about the staff and the service that LEO provide us with. We definitely wouldn’t be where we are today without their guidance and assistance.”
To learn more about Tensile Testing Services visit https://tensiletestingservices.ie/