Signature Materials reaches 1000th substation mark

In April this year, Signature Materials began working closely with Electricity North West and Greater Manchester Police to tackle metal theft in the North West.

This trial, which has been extended from its initial 16-week phase, is the first of its kind to be carried out by any DNO (Distribution Network Operator) and is hoped to have a significant impact on metal thieves targeting electricity substations.

Today, the Signature Materials team celebrate the marking of the 1000th local distribution substation.

The entirely portable technology engraves metals with full details of the ownership and location of the material, which can be visually checked by the police, scrap dealers and border control agencies. All data is stored in a national database. 

Steve Cox Future Network Manager for Electricity North West said, “We’re delighted to have reached this key milestone in our new metal marking trial. This shows our commitment to putting a stop to metal theft, which can result in customers losing power and cost tens of thousands of pounds to repair the damage. By marking metal with secure codes, we will help stamp out this antisocial crime by deterring would-be thieves, and help the police catch anyone who steals metal from the power network.”

Bernie Rickinson, Chief Executive of IOM3, which developed Signature Materials, said, “Providing cost-effective, easy to access visiual identity will introduce a step change in the reduction of metal theft. In this development, we have transferred a technology used routinely in the aerospace industry and have adapted the technique to mark most metals in a wide range of product forms. We can mark everything from a lead roof, to a plastic battery case, and importantly, provide the police with instant traceability.”