IFC Inflow celebrates 30 years in business

The IFC team – on the front row Chris Underwood, Rick Bartaby, Greg Clarke, Katrina Flynn and Kiran Shaw with Stuart Warren, Gary Davies, Billie Chapple, Lee Biggins and Matt Ward on the back row
Founded in 1987 as Industrial Flow Control to sell tanker loading and process metering equipment, today IFC Inflow is run by operations director Kiran Shaw and technical director Greg Clarke.

Over the years, an initial emphasis on flow meters and loading arms has evolved into the provision of total project solutions, which include design, fabrication and installation services, in addition to a range of standard products direct from stock.

“Back in 1987 we only sold products that were made and designed by other companies for a specific purpose,” explained Kiran.

“But as customers reduced their in-house engineering staff it became apparent that we needed to offer engineering solutions as well as standard products. To that end we invested heavily in our own design and engineering facilities in order to develop equipment better suited to our customers’ expanding needs.”

IFC Inflow also developed and pioneered the use of bottom loading skids for road tankers operating in the Authorised Distributor market.  The company’s very first unit was built in 1994, since when IFC has expanded into different types of tanker loading, as well as fuel bunkering and tanker safe access.

The company, which also works in the food, beverage, powder, pharmaceutical, rail and marine sectors, has doubled in size over the past 30 years. With a customer base in excess of 2000 clients, which includes many blue-chip companies, IFC’s export business has also tripled since 1987.

The oil and petroleum distribution sector is IFC’s largest market, followed closely by chemical and petrochemical distribution, Fuel Oil News asked Kiran about the work in the Fuel Oil News market.

What have been the biggest equipment changes?

Driven by health & safety requirements in the early 1990s, the move from top to bottom loading has been the biggest change.  This resulted in IFC designing and installing the first bottom loading skid system, now the norm for fuel depots.

More recently the incorporation of electronic technology – such as load computers and depot automation software – into tanker loading operations has driven our product developments.

Do the majority of customers choose off the shelf options?

Whilst we do have a range of standard loading skid options with most customers choosing from these options, we treat all systems as custom builds. Some customers have their own standards and specifications and we pride ourselves on giving our customers a personalised service for each and every order.

Most customers know exactly what they need for their business, however each site is different and some require more project planning.  This is when rendered 3D CAD drawings and illustrations can help with the decision process.     

Customers are encouraged to visit IFC’s factory in Basildon for meetings and to see their equipment being assembled and tested.

What has been the company’s most challenging project to date?

All projects have their own challenges, but one that springs to mind was a multi-depot upgrade programme for Carrs Billington.  Spread over a two-year period this involved top of the range loading skids along with all onsite installation work for new tanks with gauging and electrics. A project for Essar, which involved four special loading skids, saw us working alongside a major consultant engineering firm to very high engineering specifications.

What particular attributes do you believe make IFC Inflow the market leading suppliers of bottom loading skids for UK oil distributors?

As an eminently reliable business that has been supplying loading equipment for 30 years, we offer customers long-term after sales, advice and technical customer service. This is backed by our own in house design team with a highly skilled technical director.

When it comes to installation 99% of the hundreds of systems IFC has installed have been straight forward and if speed is required, a skid can be installed and commissioned within 6 weeks.

We’ve achieved this very high standard through meticulous planning, site visits and continuous customer contact.

IFC has always strived to be a great British supplier of well-designed and excellently engineered equipment for the world market.

Is it still essential to keep innovating for the UK’s tanker loading industry? 

There’s always a need to innovate in our industry as technological and manufacturing processes change.  Matters of health & safety play a large part and as a bottom loading skid provider, IFC must keep ahead of requirements to ensure that compliance and standards are kept at the highest level.

How will IFC ensure that it continues to lead the way for tanker loading systems for a further 30 years?

We believe listening to our customers and keeping a sharp eye on the industry through publications such as Fuel Oil News will help us to both stay ahead of the competition and continue to grow into the future.

We will invest in our team to assist with continuous professional development and in learning new manufacturing techniques to make sure we can meet the ever changing demands from customers.

“Over the past 30 years we’ve gained a unique insight into our customers’ specific needs.  We pride ourselves on having a dedicated team of professionals who listen carefully to a customer’s requirements ensuring we provide customers with purpose-designed, effective solutions to any tanker loading or safe access requirement.

“Thirty years in business is a real milestone. We’re still growing and developing and we look forward to what the next 30 years will bring,” added Kiran.

Link to pdf here

IFC Inflow – providing customers with purpose-designed, effective solutions to any tanker loading and safe access requirements