Nova Scientia Installs New Cutting Edge Optical Table

Nova Scientia, a high-tech supplier of fibre optic monitoring and predictive maintenance for advanced engineering, which is pushing fibre measurements to sub-nanostrain performances at MHz bandwidth, is now operational with a fully functional, progressive R&D department thanks to the successful move last week and installation of a state-of-the-art machine and optical table.

The table and associated equipment was the last hurdle preventing the company from becoming operational and progressing its work on optical fibre sensing. This is triggering a new era of structural and environmental monitoring with its patented Fibre Segment Interferometry (FSI).

The table is the fundamental support pillar for the optical R&D operation but as it measures 2.4m x 1.2m and weighs almost half a tonne, it was far from straight forward to move to Nova’s new offices on the first floor of a pre-war, grade 2 listed building. 

Internal lifts were not an option as they were too small and couldn’t cater for this weight. IES, specialists in on-site engineering, technical, project management and logistics services, was commissioned to solve the problem and carry out the move. Once shipping delays from the manufacturer had been overcome, with no additional cost to NOVA SCIENTIA, IES were able to get stuck in.

Initially, it was thought the easiest way was to remove the windows, but this wasn’t allowed as structural changes were not permitted due to health and safety concerns.

Finally, after several site visits, the IES experts considered the problem, developed the solution and planned the route, which involved removing physical barriers such as part of a fire escape, erecting a primary scaffold landing platform and then orienting the table vertically so that it could fit through the fire escape doorway. The table was raised using a 45-tonne crane and positioned safely onto the landing platform.

The table was then moved inside the building using skoots and transported to the final destination. Once inside it was required to be orientated to a horizontal position and lowered onto the supporting legs using an A Frame Gantry.

With the successful installation of the table, NOVA SCIENTIA can now begin to deploy its sensing technology, inscribing optical fibres with highly precise lasers. The table removes vibration which means the lasers are accurate to micrometres, enabling them to introduce technology into the fibres which are less than the width of a hair.

These fibres will be used to measure any metric, from temperature and strain to pressure and humidity. They will be deployed in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, marine, energy, and oil & gas to name a few.  

Commenting on the table and move, Sharon Hancock from NOVA SCIENTIA said: “Having found the technology we needed, we thought ‘Right, here we go’. But it wasn’t that simple. Moving the most advanced technology in the world, state-of-the art equipment, isn’t always straight-forward. And that was a challenge.

“However I am really pleased that though we were scratching our heads to find a solution, we found a team that immediately saw the issues, came up with a plan and got it into place with the minimum of fuss. And now our optical table with associated equipment is firmly on the road to full operational capability and we are striking out into a new world of sensors created by our patented technology.”

Georgie Titley, Operations Supervisor of IES, added: “To enable an innovative start-up to become operational is truly satisfying by successfully moving a complex piece of equipment, safely and efficiently.

“I am looking forward to seeing Nova revolutionising the world of sensors, and I am sure we will come across their fantastic technology as we continue to help our other clients move machinery and factories around the world.”

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Written by Kevin Gambrill

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