In Your Shoes - David Brown

My name is David Brown and I'm co-founder & director of Alator Data Services Ltd. Being a business owner is challenging, but there's something very rewarding and satisfying knowing I'm benefitting from all my hard work and effort.  

Using the latest technologies, our business provides emissions, calibrations and precision data services to the global power industry. Our business is going from strength to strength and we're looking forward to the year ahead.


Today was spent getting ready to travel to site at West Burton power station in England following a successful bid to support the capture of emissions data and conduct calibration checks prior to the power station undergoing an improvement testing program.

This involved conducting final checks on the equipment and packing ready for mobilising to site the next day. We also had to undertake a pre-arrival safety induction, liaise with the customer and complete all necessary health and safety paperwork.


Early start loading the van before a 6-hour drive to the north of England. 6 hours is like a nice little jaunt for me compared to some of the road trips I’ve made to Spain and France over the last 6 months. We have another project starting soon at Immingham power station, so I was able to stop off on the way, make contact with the team and discuss the scope of the work.  

I arrived at my accommodation for the next two weeks and met with Nuno Ribeiro, our Lead E,C&I Technician, who will be supporting me on site during the project. Nuno resides in Portugal, so this was actually our first face-to-face meeting since Nov 21. We had a nice catch up  and I was eventually able to give him his long-awaited Christmas gift following a long drawn-out saga with customs, which saw his parcel stuck in limbo for 4 months. The Kartel watch was a perfect way to gift him something Scottish whilst also supporting a local business.


Today we arrived at site, received our permits and had a safety walk-round with the customer. Following this, we set up our emissions equipment, which will capture and measure the level of gases being emitted into the atmosphere from the power station. We opted for the Horiba PG 350 as our preferred piece of equipment, as it’s MCERTS certified and uses the latest technologies. We have also developed an add-on with the capability of producing real-time digital outputs, which is a real benefit for our customers. In order to capture the required gases, part of our equipment has to be installed up the stack. This involves climbing up many flights of stairs and ladders to and overall height of around 70 metres. Definitely not a job for those with a fear of heights.


Another day on site, this time to complete calibration checks on 12 differential pressure transmitters. We carry out checks using Beamex’s MC6 Documenting Calibrator. We opted for this piece of equipment as it automates a lot of the process and reduces the risk of human error. We had to troubleshoot a few issues with the transmitters, so ended up being a late night.


We arrived on site and did our final checks, which included a digital input from our equipment to the power station’s controls system. This allows for the transfer of real-time data, which ultimately saves time in the execution of the testing program, as even remote workers can analyse the data. As this was a relatively short day at site, it allowed me to catch up with other projects we have been working on, including preparation of our ISO 9001 accreditation, which we hope to achieve in the near future. We are embracing the opportunity to prove our competency and implement a really robust Quality Management System (QMS).


Saturday was another long day on site supporting the test program with our digital emissions data. It’s always exciting to see the implementation of a test program for new technologies.

Sunday was a day of rest. Whenever I travel anywhere, whether it’s the Middle East, Europe or the UK, I always like to try and explore the local area. So today Nuno and I travelled to the Peak District and tackled Kinder Scout, which is the highest peak in the area. The sun was shining and it was a fitting end to a really productive week (I say that on reflection; at the time I was sincerely questioning the wisdom of climbing a really high hill on my day off).