From education to employment

Former Plumbing student’s innovative pipe repair solution for Oil and Gas sector

Ross Dickinson

Borders College Alumni Association allows the College to remain in touch with past students and hear about their various successes and professional development. One particular Alumni member, Ross Dickinson, is making great strides in the Plumbing industry and is now developing his patented Rapid Pipe Repair and Rapid Pipe Freezing Clamps for the Oil and Gas sector.

Ross, aged 42 from Walkerburn, successfully completed his Plumbing training at Borders College between 2001-04, having previously worked as a carpet and furniture salesman. Gaining valuable experience as an apprentice to Ronnie Walter, RA Walter Plumbing & Heating (Peebles), Ross was named ‘SNIPEF Apprentice of the Year’ during his second year at College. SNIPEF (Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation) provided the funding which helped Ross on his journey to becoming a fully qualified Plumbing & Heating Engineer. Having been diagnosed with Dyslexia, this provided Ross a real confidence boost and helped him to ‘get on with it’ despite the challenges he faced with reading difficulties.

Following his College and apprenticeship training, Ross took up a position as Head Plumber for Candleberry Homes before setting up his own business, Emerald Plumbing & Heating, in 2007. He then went on to become Technical Product Manager at Rothenberger UK. He says:

“I want Plumbing students, and anyone else learning a trade, to realise the importance of an apprenticeship and encourage them to get their valuable qualifications because you never know where it can lead.”

Ross’s experience in the trade revealed a need for a simple yet effective solution for burst or leaking pipes that anybody, not just professionals, could use in an emergency situation. He began to prototype and test out some ideas before hitting on just the right design for the Rapid Emergency Pipe Repair clamp which he Patented and Trade Marked KIBOSH® (The World’s Fastest Pipe Repair™). Ross then started his next company, Kibosh Ltd, in 2009.

Ross’s simple yet innovative domestic repair clamp project, which has had support from Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway Scottish Borders, is manufactured by Cademuir Toolmaking Ltd in Selkirk and now available in a number of pipe diameters. KIBOSH® has become a popular device winning several innovation awards, and the demonstration video of the clamp in action now has over 100 million views on social media with hundreds of thousands of shares, which has brought requests globally in every sector.

Not content with stopping there, Ross has more recently been developing Rapid Pipe Repair and Rapid Pipe Freezing Clamps for the Oil and Gas sector which are suitable for use on larger pipes (for example on oil rigs and oil fields) following enquiries from the sector. In industrial settings, a leak can mean a complete operational shutdown which can be very costly.

The new 1 ½” prototype has achieved phase 1 proof of concept, with the Heriot Watt University Institute of Petroleum Engineering. For phase 1, Kibosh Ltd approached the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), who provide funding for companies to work with universities in developing new products.

This has allowed Kibosh Ltd to move on to phase 2 of the Oil and Gas Project, which will again be supported by OGIC, and potentially The Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) (who work on the basis that the project benefits the North Sea Oil & Gas Industry, and depending on the outcome of phase 2, may be able to assist with funding from development right through to deployment). The Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the University of Strathclyde, will be supporting both the fabrication of prototypes for even larger pipes with higher pressures, and the development for identifying appropriate materials and methods to mass produce components.

Once the clamps are deployed into the field they will provide a rapid repair for leaking pipes on the Oil and Gas sector which, once fitted, will keep the pipe functioning and allow surrounding operations to continue, potentially saving companies a lot of money.

College education was just the first step for Ross on his career journey.

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