Home Opinion Face to Face | Barry Atkins Details the History of PASS and the Latest Trends in Testing

Face to Face | Barry Atkins Details the History of PASS and the Latest Trends in Testing

In this month’s Face to Face we speak to Barry Atkins, Managing Director at PASS, to find out about the history of the company and the latest trends in testing.

Tell us a bit about how PASS operates and the history of the company.

PASS started in 2001 from small beginnings in Teesside. We have a dedicated team and pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service. In 2022 we welcomed another well-respected company – Cuthbertson Laird – into the family.

Currently, there are three parts to the business, operating from six sites across the UK. Locations are Watford, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees, Leeds, Glasgow and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

We are national test equipment and instrumentation distributors for manufacturers such as Megger, Seaward, Fluke, Testo, Flir and many others. Our customers include those operating in a wide array of sectors such as electrical and facilities management, utilities, education, facilities, medical, marine/offshore, and the public sector.

PASS has calibration laboratories at each of our sites. Any specialised equipment comes to our head office in Thornaby where we have seven different calibration labs.

Our capabilities are electrical and electronic, process and instrumentation, pressure, temperature, humidity, dew point, dimensional, gas flow, torque, weights and scales, flue gas analysers and airflow calibration. We also offer on-site calibration services.

Our customers include the likes of large multi-site, multi-nationals and facilities management companies as well as individuals and tradespeople.

Our laboratory is accredited and audited by UKAS. We pride ourselves on providing a fast accurate service so that you can get back to working with your instruments.

We are also a service centre for companies such as Megger and Testo amongst others.

Just a mile away from our head office in Thornaby we have a dedicated electrical training centre. All of our training courses can also be offered on-site at the customer’s premises.

Which industry sectors does PASS predominantly serve?

PASS serves a wide variety of sectors, but is most prominent in:

  • Electrical trades
  • Facilities management
  • Power and utility companies
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Facilities management
  • Education

With such a wide range of products on the market how does PASS ensure customers are able to get hold of what they need when they need it?

We always monitor stock levels as well as our popular products to ensure that when our customers place an order we have what they need in stock so that it’s delivered the next working day, as far as possible.

How has the testing market changed over the past 20 years?

As like most sectors the test and measurement market has evolved and changed to keep up with the many advancements in technology and internet-connected devices.

There has definitely been a digital transformation, with T&M manufacturers constantly improving their offerings to keep up with technology. Software-defined instruments have become a prominent new feature to allow for flexibility, adaptability and ability to easily upgrade instruments.

Instrument connectivity including Bluetooth, Wifi and Cloud-based solutions has become a common feature, allowing devices to connect for collaboration and reporting across multiple sites, areas and remote operations using smartphones for control and reporting.

More currently, there is a large focus on energy efficiency, with manufacturers such as Fluke, Megger, Chauvin Arnoux and FLIR releasing new products to help test, monitor and evaluate the energy consumption of buildings, external power supplies, and machinery.

With energy consumption being a critical issue for most homes and businesses, monitoring and inspecting is crucial. T&M products are essential for identifying ways to improve energy efficiency and for effective preventative and predictive maintenance of assets.

The trend towards condition monitoring and predictive maintenance has led to a greater focus on the data generated during testing and so many T&M manufacturers now offer software packages for reporting and analysing trends for important decision making.

Lastly, the T&M market has become more globalised, with manufacturers operating on an international scale. At PASS we maintain relationships with many of the global players in T&M.

What sort of training programmes does PASS offer?

The training centre provides the full range of courses for the electrical tradesman including 18th Edition, Part P, 2391 and PAT testing amongst other courses.

We offer both City & Guilds and LCL accredited courses as well as 11Kv to 33Kv training including SAP (senior authorised person) training on a wide range of practical high voltage switchgear to the offshore wind industry, delivering specialised Wind Turbine Courses.

In addition, we offer Thermography training through the ITC to complement our thermal imaging cameras. Our full range of courses can be seen on our training website www.electricaltrainingcourse.co.uk

What are the company’s plans for the year ahead?

In summary, the company’s plans for the upcoming year involve not only expanding the product portfolio with innovative solutions but also enhancing service capabilities, particularly in the calibration domain. We are steadfast in our commitment to providing the best possible turnaround times for our customers.

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