Muir Porter

Group Manager for Infrastructure

Group Manager for Infrastructure

MUIR PORTER

GROUP MANAGER FOR INFRASTRUCTURE

What is your role?

I provide support to the operational areas through development and improvement projects, as well as covering asset management and control. This includes overall management of the maintenance function as well as the implementation of the measurement traceability activities. My previous roles include flow testing and calibrations, and the management of the UK Flow Programme contract for BEIS.

What is your academic/industrial background?

Following a HND in Marine Engineering at Glasgow Nautical College, I completed a BSc degree in Engineering (Mechanical), and a BSc in Earth Sciences and Pollution Control through the Open University. Previously, I was head of Process Engineering at Booth Welsh technical consulting and led the Scottish office of ABB Engineering Services.

How did your interest in engineering develop?

As a child, I was interested in Naval architecture and navigation as my father was at sea. I had envisaged a future in the Merchant Navy, but as the UK fleet declined in the 1980’s, I decided to divert my interest to more general engineering and took up a career in engineering project management.

What are your main areas of expertise?

My career has mostly centered around engineering project management and technical consultancy within the process industries. I have worked in process engineering across many industries including pharmaceutical, petrochemical, whisky industry and life sciences.

What are your current key projects and who are your key clients?

A recently completed project involved the design, build and commission of the brand new £16m Advanced Multiphase Facility, at a brownfield site at our East Kilbride campus. The AMF is a large multiphase flow loop operating at up to 143 barg and with a separator 33 m long and 2.4 m in diameter housed in a 1600 m2 building. Currently, my team and I are working on a suite of projects to bring about a major modification to the existing National Flow Measurement Standards facilities. This combines facility redevelopments along with both process automation and data acquisition.

What most excites/interests you about your role?

For what appears to be a narrow field (fluid flow metrology), there is actually a very broad range of engineering and science involved. In addition, the field of measurement is not static, with new areas of interest opening up all the time across all industry sectors.

I also enjoy leading an efficient interdisciplinary team of individuals, working with them to develop a consistent professional approach in their support of continuous improvement, new and emerging technologies and best practice.

What future trends do you see developing in your area of work?

Digitisation and software automation development will be a big part of the future of process engineering, especially for the processing of large volumes of test data. Moving forward, all engineers will require to have a broad range of skills, including knowledge of programming and data management. This will require support from colleges and universities to ensure the next generation of engineers have the skills needed to meet the demands of industry for the future. 

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