The JCB Academy project was undertaken in partnership with a long-standing client of AF Switchgear, Imtech. To promote UK engineering and education JCB decided to sponsor an Academy opening its doors to Year 10, 11 and 12 students, accommodating up to 540 people.

Situated adjacent to JCB’s headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire the Academy is part housed in the Grade II listed Tutbury Mill, with a new annexe housing the main classrooms. Built in 1871 by Industrial Revolution entrepreneur Richard Arkwright, renovation of the picturesque site began in December 2009.

In addition to the main LV switchboards, AF Switchgear were called in to provide specialist engineering assistance and to manufacture a control panel to run a modern version of one of the world’s oldest engineering wonders, an Archimedes Screw.

The device shaped like a giant corkscrew, was used for this project to create a fully functional water turbine. Weighing in at 13.3 tonnes, the screw generates up to 85% of the centre’s electricity saving up to 64 tonnes of CO² compared to using mains electricity.

Approx. 50% of the water is derived from the River Dove which runs through the site with the weight of the water forcing the screw to rotate, generating electricity acting as an asynchronous generator. This in turn, powers the local site load and can export to the grid when needed.

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