First used by the Germans in World War II to monitor the testing of V-2 rockets, CCTV cameras are generally regarded as being mainly about monitoring locations in an anti-crime role. The UK has around 4.2 million such cameras – one for every fourteen people in the country.

Their prevalence has driven down costs dramatically in recent years and continuous technological improvement has ensured high quality imaging even in challenging locations. The benefits are expanding too, and are often unexpected.

Beyond the obvious, closed circuit cameras can provide a range of highly effective management tools. One long-established British company specialising in the processing of animal carcases has not only managed to use cameras to increase production and improve the quality of its products, but has also managed to slash its energy bills by a fifth into the bargain.

Formed back in 1882, P Waddington & Co LLP now has a large 5.2 acre animal by-product processing plant in Bradford and a transfer station at Rugeley in the West Midlands. Operating throughout the Midlands and the North of England, it is one of only a handful of companies in the UK which still collects and processes animal carcasses.

Waddington disposes of all kinds of carcasses and has processed everything from a hedgehog to a whale washed up on the Humber coast. It also deals with food waste and, with increasingly stringent regulations from both Europe and the UK government, provides consultancy services to firms in the food sector about waste disposal.

The company produces hundreds of tonnes of bone meal and tallow a week which is supplied to power stations where it is used as a bio-fuel. The production process involves three stages. First the carcasses are crushed to break down the material to the required particle size of 30mm. Both carcasses and food waste are then “cooked up” at 135 degrees Celsius to remove the large amounts of water with the resulting odour-free water vapour reaching 870 degrees Celcius. The materials are then pressed to render the tallow – animal fats and oils.

Waddington’s first incorporated CCTV cameras into its 24/7 multi-million processing facility in 1999. In 2013 it called in fire and security specialists Keybury to extend and upgrade the whole system, adding six new cameras and two monitoring suites. It now operates sixteen Vista pan zoom tilt cameras throughout the site both inside and outside. Every corner of the plant is monitored not only from the managing director’s and operations manager’s offices but also remotely from laptops, ipads and smart phones. This flexibility ensures Waddington’s management team can closely manage operations at anytime and from anywhere.

It chose Keybury because of their extensive manufacturing sector experience and its engineers’ same day response capability. Working at heights, using cherry pickers, the installation team selected highly water proof IP66 and 67 rated cabling throughout because of the facilities’ environmental challenges.

The installation work took a month and involved adapting the engineers’ schedules to fit flexibly around production shifts. Keybury only uses its own highly-trained engineering staff proved vital since detailed risk assessments were required to meet onerous waste processing regulations.

For all this to work it was very important that Keybury’s engineers took the time to get to know us and really understand what we needed rather than what they might want to sell us,” says managing director Mark Waddington. “They made every possible effort to partner up with us.

Ours is a tricky and demanding business with many potential issues as well as tough health and safety regulations and environmental legislation. Keybury was very knowledgeable, responsive and adaptable in ensuring that this was at the top of the agenda and more importantly that we could continue production during the installation.”

Waddington’s has derived a variety of benefits from the new system – and not just site security. The firm has been able to ramp up the quality of the throughput of waste materials by carefully monitoring the mix of loads going into each of the crushers. The waste material it processes varies hugely in density from solid hooves and bones to sloppy intestines and a better balance between the two ensures greater efficiency at the cooking stage, and ultimately greater productivity.

The monitoring process starts when the wagons arrive on site and continues throughout the whole production process. With the aid of the CCTV cameras, vehicle loads are segregated and graded before the waste material is feed into the crushing machines. The mix and flow of the waste materials can be timed precisely to ensure that the cookers can be kept at even temperatures which enhances energy efficiency. This has a large cost reduction implication because the cooking process is now considerably quicker. Waddington’s has realised a 20 per cent saving on the company’s annual £1.5 million bill for gas, electricity and water.

The company’s management team is also pleased with the 15 per cent reduction in downtime and significant savings it is making on maintenance budgets because there is less wear and tear on the plant and machinery. Not only does the consistent flow of material help but managers monitoring the loading process can immediately identify and retrieve foreign objects that might otherwise damage the crushers.

Given the inherent dangers of working in a waste refinery environment Waddington’s management is acutely aware of the health and safety of its issues for staff and utilises the CCTV system to carefully monitor staff procedures.

Not only does this ensure that staff are kept free from hazards, it also assists with training and re-training were necessary. On one occasion camera monitoring highlighted a problem with the use of a shutter door in the raw material processing area. The issue was quickly resolved by re-training the staff members involved.

Waste processing of this kind is very frequently inspected by local authorities’ environmental departments and Waddington’s is very proud of its unblemished ‘no complaints’ track record.

Mark Waddington concludes: “While the business in its early days did its best to protect neighbours from the sights and smells involved in rendering animal carcasses, I think my great great grandfather would be absolutely amazed at the procedures and precautions we have in place now.

The advantages technology such as CCTV monitoring brings has made an enormous difference to our business, not only from a health, safety and environmental point of view but it has also given us competitive edge.

Whatever sector you work in, business owners are continually striving to reduce overheads and improve productivity; Keybury’s CCTV system has certainly helped us with both of those.”

A proud history

In 1882 two Bradford businessmen, Priestley Waddington and Richard Jarrett got together to form a company processing butchers’ and abattoir waste. The partnership was an unusual one, admittedly Priestley was a butcher but what attracted the builder and stone quarryman Jarrett to the manufacture of glue, dripping and tallow is anyone’s guess.

They set up shop at Crossley Hall Works and the raw material was boiled up in large pans and cooked for many hours to extract the essential oils and fats. The buckets of dripping were delivered by horse and cart, each bucket covered with a sheet of brown paper, as a nod in the direction of hygiene, with the two men sharing the work of collection and delivery. Later, Priestley’s brother Sam Waddington of J Waddington in Keighley invested much needed cash on taking over the business.

The company occupied these premises for over 80 years and during World War 2 they came under the control of the Ministry of Supply. Taking the name Fabons Ltd they controlled the supply of palm kernel oil to the North East. At the end of the war the company returned to its traditional products and services and went from strength to strength under the direction of Sam Waddington II with John Waddington of Stocksbridge, Keighley joining in 1945.

Today that company lives on as one of the UK’s premier animal by-product and waste processors occupying a multi-million pound plant in the heart of West Yorkshire.