Powering forward

With a track record of 5000 completed projects and installed power solutions worth nearly half a billion pounds, ICW Powermode’s heritage of delivering added value turnkey power solutions began in 1974

Founded by the current Chairman and CEO Ian Charles Wright, today ICW’s operations comprise the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of switchboards and datacentre power distribution equipment. This includes 11kV MV switchgear, packaged sub-stations, interlinking busbar, generator synchronisation equipment, UPS input/output switchgear and final power distribution to ICW Powermode’s intelligent LV power distribution equipment.

The scale of the solutions offered by ICW is what sets the company apart and to start off with an introduction to the business, Ian Charles Wright described the business in layman’s terms for MTE: “To put it simply, we make what every household has in the form of a ‘fuse’ or ‘circuit breaker’ box, but in our case, it is hundreds of times larger, and would typically power iconic buildings such as the Shard or Canary Wharf Tower, or data centres, hospitals, transport infrastructure projects and financial services buildings.”

Indeed, as recently as December 2018 ICW was a major part of the computer controlled lighting display at the Shard, which was formally switched on to celebrate the festive season. “ICW provided this service from basement to spire, from switchboards to LED fittings installed by abseiling electricians,” noted Ian. “We are also in the process of finishing a complete power refit in the iconic Lloyds of London building whilst the insurance world carries on around us.”

Data centres are also a growing area of focus for ICW and Ian pointed out that this trend is set to continue. “During the next eight years, the amount of digital data produced will exceed 40 zettabytes, which is the equivalent of 5200 GB of data for every man, woman and child on Earth, according to an updated Digital Universe study,” he said. “Cloud Computing and the Internet of Things are of paramount importance in today’s high tech world. All companies and indeed individuals, rely on data centres somewhere.

“ICW have been powering these centres since the 1970s and have the knowledge and experience to deliver quality and flexibility that can meet the demands of these data centres both today and in the future.”

ICW’s latest turnkey project in this sector was to power London’s biggest new Co-Location Datacentre in the City of London for the past ten years – Volta Great Sutton Street. The company provided the MV/LV/generator switchboards, busbar and SCADA control systems for this state-of-the-art 9.4MW high resilience, low latency and high connectivity facility targeted to meet the latest demands of London’s established financial and emerging AVM and ISP communities.

Given the high-profile and individual nature of many of the projects upon which ICW works, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, and this is where the company’s knowledgeable team adds so much value. They can draw on over 600 years of accumulated experience in the custom design and manufacture of intelligent final power distribution units and panel boards, with engineers planning both products and installations using the very latest computer software, 3D printers, highly sophisticated machinery and a proactive approach based on partnership and close knowledge sharing. Ian agreed that the quality and adaptability of its bespoke systems are two of the company’s biggest strengths. “Our tailor-made switchboards and systems are built to the client’s requirements for use in both new and existing builds,” he said, before going on to explain how the retrofit market is becoming a sector of importance for the business. “There are numerous established companies that are working in iconic buildings constructed in the last 50 years. Most systems and equipment have a life of 20-25 years, but with the correct experience and knowledge many of these buildings can be refurbished without the need to vacate, saving a huge amount of capital outlay.”

Alongside this need to renovate systems that are at the end of their life, Ian also highlighted that health and safety has become a higher priority for clients and their advisors. “Following the recommendation regarding the dangers of internal arc faults issued by the International Electrotechnical Commission in 2014, reducing the risks associated with these has been something we’ve needed to address,” he noted. The recommendation details arcing classes A, B, C & I, where Classes A, B & C focus on dealing with a possible life threatening situation once it has occurred, whereas Class I seeks to reduce the risk of an arcing fault being initiated, by individually enclosing, as far as practical, each conductor in solid insulation. ICW is one of very few companies who offer this powder coating product, and its products also fulfil a range of other important accreditations including BSEN 61439 – 2 and ASTA type test approvals.

As the need for more sophisticated solutions expands into new sectors, so too will ICW continue to create new products to deal with the demand. “Electricity touches everything we do from aviation to healthcare, from defence to logistics,” agreed Ian. “The market is growing stronger and that means there’s a need for more products.” To ensure it is ready to respond to customer requirements, ICW has plans in the pipeline to expand into new premises, with the overall ambition to double in size over the next three to five years. “Our experienced engineers will continue to offer only the best solutions,” Ian concluded. By delivering tried and trusted products to its clientele across the globe through its own unique business philosophy called ‘The ICW Powermode Way’, ICW remains a step ahead of the competition and on course for a powerful performance for years to come.

ICW Powermode
Products: Major manufacturer of switchgear, and an installer of complex power and control systems