Northern Innovation Secures First Export Business in Nigeria Following Investment in R&D

Moneyreagh engineering design company Northern Innovation has just completed its first export deal worth £200,000 supplying its unique borewell water extraction system to the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) based in Ikeja, Lagos in western Nigeria.

Invest Northern Ireland offered Northern Innovation £43,980, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, to help the company develop this technology which was designed specifically to be sold outside Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the success, Norman Ferguson, Managing Director of Northern Innovation, said: “An R&D grant from Invest NI enabled us to develop our unique borewell control system which allows for sustainable abstraction of ground water.  The system maximises the volume of water which can be extracted from a borewell but also protects the borewell pump from which water is drawn.  It also has a remote support facility which allows our engineers to monitor and control borewell installations without having to be on site or even in the country!

“The Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) is undergoing a major expansion and demand for water used in the soft drinks manufacturing process has increased. Through our long standing relationship with the local Coca Cola plant at Knockmore Hill in Lisburn, we secured the contract to design and supply two borewell kits for the NBC factory in Ikeja. We also designed, supplied and installed an automated tank level control system to the water storage tanks to optimise water storage on the site.

“This experience has reinforced the R&D culture within the organisation and we are confident that our success in Nigeria will help leverage future opportunities for our new borewell kits across Great Britain, Europe and beyond.”

Northern Innovation was set up in 2006 to provide process engineering consultancy to many local manufacturing and food companies.  Its customers include Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCHBC), Moy Park and Bombardier.

Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Research and Development, said: “Northern Innovation identified that product innovation and the supply of packaged solutions for extraction of ground water was a key driver for future growth of the business.

“This investment in R&D has enabled the company to develop a successful and innovative product offering which will give Northern Innovations a competitive edge within the specialised engineering sector. I would encourage more business like this to explore how research and development could boost their businesses performance.”

Northern Innovation has previously installed borewell systems for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, the Hastings Hotel Group, Moy Park, Queens University and various other large water users in Northern Ireland.

These installations provide both considerable cost savings over the use of mains water and for essential water users, resilience in times of mains water supply difficulties.  With many companies focussing on utility costs, the use of borewell water from their own private borewells (either on or off site) can provide substantial savings and very attractive capital investment payback times.