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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Three Trends Driving Change in the Warehousing Sector

The pandemic has prompted a lot of rhetoric about change in many industries, but in the warehousing sector, Covid-19 has escalated trends that were already prompting rapid growth.

At AIS Vanguard, we offer the specialist lifting, moving and installation services needed to support and facilitate that growth. Here we explore three of the key trends affecting the industry and how we’re working with customers to help them adapt, expand and remain agile.

  1. The e-Commerce Explosion

e-Commerce has been gaining ground on bricks and mortar retail for the past two decades and we have seen growth in the warehousing sector to accommodate stockholding for online retailers. The rise of the mega warehouse used by online marketplaces and e-commerce fulfilment companies has been a particular feature of the sector, with stockholding, pick and pack and dispatch facilities all requiring specific equipment and layout considerations.

It’s a fast-moving segment of the warehousing sector and our role is often to deploy our specialist expertise and lifting equipment to respond quickly to changing needs. This may involve operators anticipating spikes in demand or responding to seasonal variations, for example, and our teams are often called upon to install or reposition racking, reconfigure warehouse facilities to optimise layouts or move packing lines as spatial layouts and operational needs change.

Installation and reconfiguration of automation systems is another key area of the support we offer to the sector. With our lifting and moving expertise, along with our mechanical and electrical engineering teams, we can deliver turnkey robot installation projects, allowing operators to drive efficiency

2. Supply Chain Resilience

Covid-19 highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and subsequent events, including end of the Brexit transition phase and the stranded container in the Suez Canal, have prompted a re-think about supply chain resilience.

For many companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, this has prompted an investment in increased warehousing capacity to store both incoming goods and materials, and outgoing products. We have been supporting companies as they have transitioned to increased warehousing capacity by assisting with fit-out of their new facilities. We are able to operate as principal contractor with full CDM responsibility, enabling customers to fast track fit out of new warehousing facilities or reconfigure existing assets with machinery and equipment moves, installation and full mechanical and electrical engineering.

3. Capacity Optimisation

With so much demand for warehousing accommodation, there is also a need to optimise the capacity of existing assets. This often involves reconfiguring the warehouse, installing high bay racking, moving to very narrow aisle (VNA) layouts and introducing robots.

With our expertise in project management, we are helping companies to carry out phased transformation programmes at existing warehouse facilities. This enables our customer to maintain stockholding and business as usual operations in priority areas of the accommodation, before decanting equipment and stock across as we move on to the next phase. We can carry out turnkey projects, including temporary modifications to the building for ingress and egress of equipment, heavy lifting and moving and full mechanical and electrical services, including robot installation.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Rewarding Excellence Builds on Your Customer Experience

Here at AIS Vanguard, we know that ‘thank you’ is one of the most powerful words in any language. Not only does it communicate appreciation, it also encourages and motivates people because they feel valued and rewarded for their efforts.

It is a simple principle, but one that underpins our exceptional service levels to customers. Why? Because rewarding our team for a job well done is an integral part of our people strategy, ensuring every member of staff is committed to giving 100% to their role, whether they are on site or office-based.

It was that philosophy that prompted us to launch our Excellence Awards scheme, an initiative that sees our CEO, Matt Ainscough, single out the achievements of a few members of the AIS Vanguard team every month. Each Excellence Award is both a reward and recognition within the business that the recipient has gone above and beyond, demonstrated exceptional skills or supported their colleagues. The awards scheme is aligned to our core values, rewarding teamwork, commitment, attention to detail and hard work and recognising colleagues that have delivered our values of firness and a no nonsense approach.

Usually, our Excellence Awards scheme rewards 3-4 people each month, but, during March, the exceptional performance across the team and consistently outstanding customer feedback prompted Matt to reward every member of staff in an unprecedented whole team Excellence Award bonanza.

Matt Explained: “We have been extremely busy and the teams have worked incredibly hard, overcoming the continuing challenges of Covid-19 to provide outstanding levels of service to customers and demonstrate professionalism and dedication.

“The performance and customer comments we have seen over the past month have made us very proud and I can’t thank the team enough. I wanted everyone to have an Excellence Award so they can treat themselves for their hard work. I am very proud that our team consistently showcases our core values across everything they do.”

As AIS Vanguard continues to grow and work closely with customers to help them navigate complex operational and commercial challenges, the power of a sincere thank you will continue to be a cornerstone of how we operate. Our service commitment depends on the skills, commitment and can-do approach of our people and by creating a community that rewards achievement we have developed a loyal and motivated team.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Spring is here so it’s time to plan summer shut down machinery moves

We may still be in Q1, but we’re racing through the calendar. After the turmoil of COVID-19 and Brexit, it has never been more important to optimise efficiency by ensuring all your machinery maintenance, decommissioning and installation work takes place during your summer shut down window.

At AIS Vanguard, we are experts in planning factory reconfiguration, machinery removals and machine installation programmes around our customers’ operational needs. The earlier the planning process begins, the more effective we can be in phasing heavy lifting and moving requirements around your operational needs and your mission-critical deadlines.

This year, after the disruption of the pandemic, your summer shut down industrial services requirements may be different from previous years. It may be that your machinery has been run for longer operational hours to accommodate additional shifts due to social distancing or increased output requirements. Alternatively, you may have mothballed some machines due to a drop in demand and be faced with decisions about whether to recommission or remove this equipment during your summer shut down.

Whatever the commercial and operational challenges facing you for this year’s summer shut down, our experience of managing complex industrial services schedules during shut down windows means we can help. And the earlier we get involved, the easier it is for our expert teams to advise you on phasing activity, managing risk and prioritising activity.

Here are just some of the ways we can help

  • Will you need diversions or modifications to electrical and mechanical services to accommodate machinery moves, decommissioning or new equipment installation? We can carry these out in advance of the shut down period, without business interruption, to maximise the heavy lifting and installation activities that can be done during the shutdown window.
  • Can all of the maintenance, decommissioning and installation activity you would like to do during your summer shut down be achieved within the time frame? We can help you plan a realistic timetable with a critical path that will help you prioritise and identify any work that can be done in advance.
  • If you’re installing new equipment during the shut down period, are you certain that delivery dates will be aligned to your decommissioning, M&E services modifications and reconfiguration requirements? We can liaise with equipment suppliers to ensure all activity is co-ordinated and completed on time.
  • Are there egress challenges for removing machinery for maintenance or decommissioning? We can provide full CDM for any temporary changes to your building for machinery removal and, thanks to our wide range of lifting equipment, we may be able to design a lift that minimises disruption by utilising one of our Megalift hydraulic gantry systems.
  • Are there are health and safety or commercial risk factors specific to your requirements and your site? Our team can work with you to develop a bespoke risk assessment and method statement for all activity during your summer shut down period, ensuring the programme runs smoothly as soon as the shutdown period begins.

Get in touch now to optimise the benefits of your summer shut down

With an evolving commercial landscape and pressures on operators to maximise operational efficiency, this year’s summer shut down is more critical than ever for many businesses. There are just 4-5 months to go before the critical shut down period, if you need help to plan and implement business critical maintenance, reconfiguration, decommissioning or installation projects, we can help.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Spend it or Lose It – How to Make Sure You Maximise the Value of Your Capex Budget

Spring has been a long time coming this year. Now that we’re nearing the end of Q1, however, the new financial year is fast approaching, which means that capex budgets will refresh. Often the coming year’s budget is allocated based on what you’ve spent this year, so, to secure an increase, or ringfence your capex budget at the same level as the current year, it’s essential to commit any money still available in this year’s pot. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all at once.

At AIS Vanguard, part of the industrial services expertise we offer to customers across sectors as diverse as manufacturing, energy, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and defence, is our ability to help you plan phased programmes ahead of time. In this way, we can advise you on how to maximise the potential of your capex budgets to achieve your objectives over the course of the year, while enabling you to hold back a contingency for unexpected expenses.

Our heavy machinery lifting and moving services, decommissioning, installation and mechanical and electrical expertise mean that we can provide a full turn-key service for all your requirements, whatever your plans, throughout the year. That includes equipment moves for maintenance, asset realisation or asset rationalisation programmes. We can also help with machinery installation and removal projects, including logistics and CDM.

At this time of year, if there is money remaining in your capex budget it pays to think ahead about projects that could benefit your facilities or your business over the next few months, and consider what can be done or booked in now to maximise your resources and your capex budget allocation. It may be that reconfiguring your equipment, removing a redundant asset or modifying electrical and mechanical services now will help with productivity or cost-efficiency over the coming year. And, of course, as we look forward to moving out of the restrictions prompted by the pandemic, amending social distancing, team bubble and split shift strategies that had to be implemented for infection control may also involve heavy lifting and machinery moving elements.

At AIS Vanguard, our expert team of industrial services project managers are here to help you identify the practical requirements of implementing your commercial and operational plans. That includes optimising your capex budget and ensuring spend is allocated within the financial year to help you retain your capex budget for next year. It also includes phasing the activity to reduce risk and minimise downtime, while helping you maximise the value of your capex budget. If you’d like to talk to us about how we could help, get in touch with our team today.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Latest News Machinery Relocation

Our Operational Controls Deliver Your Peace of Mind

When you’re relying on your industrial services partner to provide a safe and reliable service that minimises risk and maximises operational efficiency, accreditations count. Which is why we ensure our operational control certification is up to date at all times here at AIS Vanguard.

Over the past couple of months, we have been busy responding to customers’ annual compliance check requests to ensure they have all the latest data from us ready to get projects moving as quickly and smoothly as possible as and when they need us. But operational controls and compliance is much more than a box ticking exercise for us; it’s an ongoing responsibility and one that we take very seriously. For us, compliance with the various accreditations we hold provides an opportunity for continuous improvement and performance monitoring, which means our customers can always trust us to offer them the highest standards of health and safety, quality management and environmental controls.

This year, things are a little different. Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot invite auditors to site to carry out the formal review of our QESH (quality, environment, safety & health) performance and renew our ISO accreditations. But we are certainly not going to let that stop us from completing the audit process or from reviewing our own performance and looking for opportunities to improve.

The audit process for our ISO 9001 (quality assurance) ISO14001 (environmental management) and ISO 45001 (occupational health) accreditations will be done online this year, with an auditor reviewing our documentation and interviewing our team virtually, via video calls. It will be a little different than usual but no less robust. Our team has been busy preparing all the documentation needed to demonstrate the ways in which we are continuously improving both our systems and our practice.

It’s an important element of our business and our commitment to customers. We often work in demanding and hazardous environments which require a best practice approach to health and safety from our team, along with an understanding of the individual safety challenges and policies for each site. For heavy complex and technical lifts, heavy machinery lifting, equipment moves and electrical and mechanical engineering in industrial environments, a small mistake could have huge consequences for safety, environmental controls or the integrity of the asset. That’s why we put so much emphasis on policy, procedure and best practice, which are constantly updated as part of our ISO compliance activity.

The audit comes around once a year, but the focus on these areas is constant. Our commitment on every project is to carry out a bespoke method statement and risk assessment and to follow best practice QESH processes for every machinery lifting, equipment moving, decommissioning and installation project. From a one-off lift to a complete factory relocation project, our operational controls mean the same high standards are always met. And our accreditations ensure those standards are measurable, transparent and accountable.

If you’d like to know more about our accreditations or need us to complete a PQQ as a first step in working with you, get in touch.

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Machinery Lifting Machinery Relocation Machinery Removal

A Complete Approach to Supporting Industrial Rationalisation Projects

The past year saw tough commercial and operational conditions across many industrial sectors, leading to some difficult decisions to mothball machinery and reduce capacity. For some of those affected, the best strategy for maintaining profitability is rationalisation. As operators begin to adopt longer term plans for maximising the potential outcomes of economic recovery and tackle the uncertainty of Brexit, AIS Vanguard can help with rationalisation programmes that minimise disruption and prevent business interruption.

Helping Operators to Plan

Rationalisation programmes can deliver significant commercial and operational benefits but effective planning is essential to ensure business continuity is maintained while machinery is taken offline, removed or reconfigured. Sometimes, the project may involve removing a whole process or decommissioning an entire building. Others, it may require the removal of a production line in a live facility or the removal of specific assets on a busy factory floor.

At AIS Vanguard, we prefer to work with customers from the very beginning of the rationalisation planning process so that we can understand both the aims and the challenges of the project. In this way, our customers can leverage our team’s experience of similar rationalisation programmes to anticipate any issues before they arise and maximise operational efficiency during every phase of the project.

Our experts will create a critical path, ensuring any building services diversions, access and egress considerations, and reconfiguration requirements are fully factored into the programme. With a dedicated project manager to oversee the project, including all risk assessment, health and safety and CDM management requirements, we take a meticulous approach to planning every aspect of your rationalisation need.

Technical and Complex Heavy Machinery Lifting

With a plan in place, we bring together the right expertise from our multi-disciplinary team to deliver your rationalisation project.

Our experienced mechanical and electrical engineers carry out any service diversions and isolations required, before disconnecting and decommissioning the redundant asset. Having made any temporary access and egress modifications to the building, our team will then deploy the correct equipment from our diverse fleet of lifting equipment and vehicles, to remove the machine from the premises.

Often, rationalisation projects involve the removal of assets from a live industrial environment and maintaining business as usual operating conditions is a fundamental requirement of the project. Our expertise means that our clients trust us to overcome these challenges, even for the most complex and technical lifts. With our skills and deployment of the right equipment, we can remove heavy machinery while ensuring the safety of all personnel and the condition of the asset.

Logistics and Storage for Your Rationalisation Programme

Once machinery has been safely removed from your facility, we can transport the assets to wherever they need to be, whether that involves being broken down for scrap, put into storage to await sale or delivered to their new owner. We can even provide your secure storage requirements if needed.

Our in-house fleet and international network also ensure that we can transport the assets to their destination anywhere in Europe, or beyond, as part of a turnkey approach to rationalisation planning and delivery.

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Machinery Relocation Machinery Removal

Logistics Support to Put Businesses on the Road to Recovery

Industrial operators have had to adapt to unprecedented levels of change over the past year. The factors contributing to a continuing need to respond to change are still a key feature of market conditions across many sectors. Remaining agile in an environment like this is critical, which often means transporting heavy machinery, materials or products from one site to another. At AIS Vanguard, we are helping businesses across a wide variety of sectors to plan their logistics and ensure their assets are safely transported to where they need to be, on time and with all the correct paperwork.

Planning Logistics for Brexit Uncertainty

One of the biggest factors affecting operators’ logistics strategies over the next few months is Brexit. The end of the transition period on 31st December means there will be new rules in place for the transportation of goods between the UK and Europe, including both exports and imports. Alongside new compliance requirements and changes to paperwork for international logistics, there are a number of other ways in which the UK’s new relationship with the EU could affect logistics planning.

Even before the transition period deadline, uncertainty has prompted stockpiling of goods and materials, putting pressure on normal logistics networks, including vehicle availability, ports and ferry crossings, and warehouse capacity. This could result in backlogs for companies relying on their in-house fleet and warehousing facilities. It could also threaten business critical business transformation programmes, including machinery installation projects, factory relocations, asset rationalisation and asset realisation.

Realigning Capabilities after COVID

The other key factor affecting businesses’ logistics planning over the next few months is the impact of the pandemic on their operational requirements. In some sectors, reduced demand and a challenging commercial landscape is prompting rationalisation and asset realisation programmes. In others, there is an opportunity to capitalise on increased demand if new equipment and materials can be transported to the right location.

Where heavy machinery is concerned, specialist logistics capabilities are required in order to load, transport and offload the asset safely and efficiently. This may include gaining the correct approvals for the transport and putting support vehicles in place. Where machinery is being imported from abroad or dispatched to a buyer overseas, the logistics requirements also involve ensuring the correct paperwork is in place and liaison with the port authorities. And, of course, experience and the right skills for the job are important throughout the logistics planning and delivery.

Logistics You Can Rely on, Wherever Your Assets are Going

At AIS Vanguard, we have the fleet, logistics planning expertise and lifting and moving experience to meet all logistics requirements, including transportation of heavy machinery across borders. We work with our clients to understand their requirements and their deadlines to plan the logistics around their timescales. And because we understand the challenging conditions affecting the transportation of goods and assets at the moment, we can ensure that we factor any additional time or revised routes into the planning process to avoid unforeseen delays.

Our logistics capabilities encompass light commercial vehicles, including fully-equipped ‘tackle vans’, pick-up trucks and personnel vans, HGV vehicles including tractor units, HIAB trucks flat trailers and step-frame trailers and fork-lift trucks between 1.5t and 7t capacity. We also have eight large-scale warehouse facilities and an international network of storage provider partners.

Reliable logistics has never been more critical to business planning and performance, which is why our team is working hard to help clients get their assets to where they need to be.

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Equipment Machinery Installation Machinery Relocation Machinery Removal

Getting Ready for the Year Ahead with Heavy Machinery Installations During the Christmas Shutdown

The New Year is traditionally a time for new beginnings and that’s just as true in industrial settings as it is for those who make a mental note of resolutions every year. Often, those industrial fresh starts involve substantial activity over the Christmas shutdown period, with new machinery installation taking place at this time, ready to hit the ground running when the first shift begins again in January.

Machinery Installation to Prepare for Change

Machinery installation is always a focus for the Christmas shutdown period as industrial operators use this scheduled downtime to introduce new assets and carry out any modifications required to the layout or building services. This year, however, planning machinery installation for this period has never been more critical. Following the upheaval and altered commercial landscape prompted by the pandemic in 2020, the UK will complete the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021, creating new challenges and opportunities. As a result, it’s the ideal time to realise any plans to diversify, enhance productivity or increase capacity by installing new equipment or replacing existing machinery.

Ensuring Machinery Installations Go to Plan During the Christmas Shutdown

Ideally, any machinery installation required during the Christmas shutdown period should be planned as far in advance as possible and as much of the groundwork should be done in advance to maximise the value of the available downtime.

Our experienced team work with clients to plan their machinery installation projects, developing a method statement and risk assessment in advance and understanding the technical and operational requirements of the project. This may include diversions or upgrades to mechanical and electrical services, preparation of foundations and footings, floor preparations and positioning checks and drilling and preparation of floor fixings.

It is also not uncommon for temporary modifications to be needed to the building to enable access for machinery installation. Once again, this needs to be factored into the schedule for the machinery installation project and there is potential for this essential preparation work to be carried out in advance of the shutdown while the facility remains operational.

Another key area of planning for machinery installation during the Christmas shutdown is arranging the logistics and the resources required for the installation programme. As this is a key time for maintenance and logistics, booking transport and ensuring the right personnel with the skills and experience needed are available are essential elements of a successful project.

An Integrated Service for Machinery Installations

Thanks to the interdisciplinary expertise within our in-house team and our national fleet of vehicles and specialist lifting equipment, AIS Vanguard has the resources to plan, co-ordinate and implement machinery installations during the Christmas shutdown.

We can handle the whole machinery installation project with full CDM management, including risk assessment and method statement, logistics, lifting, mechanical and electrical connections, testing and pre-commissioning and commissioning. Our team can provide a critical path, aligned to your deadline and operational requirements to help you make the most of your Christmas shutdown for machinery installation and begin the year ahead ready to maximise your potential.

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Factory Relocation Machinery Installation Machinery Relocation Machinery Removal Mechanical Engineering

Christmas Shutdown: Plan Early, Plan Well to Maximise the Value of Downtime

It may feel like we fast forwarded straight from early spring to mid-autumn this year, but, in industrial settings at least, the normal routines of the calendar still apply. With local lockdowns and fluctuating R numbers, how we’ll celebrate the festive season at home is still uncertain, but the predictability of a Christmas shutdown is more important than ever. As we look ahead to 2021 and the demands of competing during the recovery, it’s essential to plan ahead for scheduled downtime, including all heavy machinery installation, decommissioning, removal or relocation requirements.

At AIS Vanguard, we specialise in working with companies across a huge variety of industrial and commercial sectors to help them maximise the value of planned downtime, including the Christmas shutdown. This is the most important maintenance period for many operators, which often means disconnecting assets to enable maintenance, machinery removal to allow work to be carried out on the building or heavy machinery installation to replace redundant assets or adjust process capabilities.

Our role is not just providing the specialist equipment and on-site expertise to carry out projects, including technical and complex lifts and all mechanical and electrical requirements; it’s also to help our customers to plan their project, ensuring their objectives are met and the value of their Christmas shutdown is fully realised.

This year, that planning process is more critical than ever. 2020 has been a challenging and unpredictable year, which has resulted in spikes in demand for some, while others have been operating at reduced capacity. As we look ahead to 2021, it’s clear that there is more uncertainty ahead, which, combined with the extraordinary times that have affected us all over the past few months, means that businesses may need to think beyond their usual Christmas shutdown routines and use the time to optimise their assets, both operationally and commercially.

As an experienced industrial services specialist with a 40-year track record, AIS Vanguard has the expertise, resources and equipment assets to support industrial and commercial companies in leveraging maximum value from their Christmas shutdown. Our team works with customers to understand their commercial priorities and operational parameters for the Christmas shutdown period so that we can advise on sequencing activity in a way that is time-efficient and aligned to both their objectives and their budget.

This approach includes creating a critical path with clear and accountable deadlines for each element of Christmas shutdown maintenance and asset optimisation requirements, along with a detailed and bespoke method statement and risk assessment. Our team works with customers in the lead up to the shutdown over the Christmas period to finalise these plans and carry out any preparatory work that can be done while the environment is still operational. This may include diversions to mechanical and electrical services, modifications to the building for access or egress, or decommissioning and removal or redundant assets to make space for new machinery or construction work.

With as much as possible planned and carried out in advance, we can then work with customers to deliver their industrial services requirements within their Christmas shutdown period. Our team ensures we are ready to hit the ground running when the customer’s last shift ends and have completed all activity in time for the first shift to begin on time when the Christmas shutdown period is over.

The Christmas shutdown is so much more than a marker of the end of the year in many environments; it is a staging post for operational efficiency and commercial strategy for the year ahead. Our philosophy is to plan well and plan early and, in a year where thinking ahead has been more complex and challenging than ever, meticulous planning and implementation of Christmas shutdown maintenance and adjustments has never been more vital.

Plan Your Christmas Shutdown with AIS Vanguard

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Industrial Services Machinery Relocation Machinery Removal

Heavy Machinery Removal – An Overview

Here at AIS Vanguard, we realise that heavy machinery removal can cause major disruption to overall productivity and output for a business.

Our reputation has been built on reliability, quality and safety within the industrial sector and we’re proud to be recognised as one of the UK’s leading companies for heavy machinery removal. Prior to a project being undertaken, our clients like to know what’s going to happen and when; we’re providing a brief overview of what happens during a project.

Planning for Heavy Machinery Removal  

Prior to any work being undertaken, our Project Manager’s will speak to clients to fully understand the nature of the removal and what needs to be removed and why. Once everything has been communicated, an effective plan of action is created and shared with clients so everyone involved is fully aware of how the project will run.

Decommission

When the plan has been agreed between AIS Vanguard and the client, our team then head onto site and start by safely decommissioning any machinery that has been allocated to be removed or relocated.

After safely decommissioning the machinery, we’ll help our clients to remove the machinery should they need assistance and ensure it is moved with the highest health and safety protocols in place.

Health and Safety Importance

Heavy machinery removal is a big task that requires all hands-on deck for everyone involved, however, health and safety is a priority for everyone here at AIS Vanguard and we pride ourselves on implementing the highest H&S standards into every job we undertake.

Our exceptional health and safety standards has recently just led to us achieving our 3rd consecutive Gold RoSPA Award.

Get In Touch

To learn more about our heavy machinery removal services, get in touch with the AIS Vanguard team on 01257 411111, or alternatively fill out our Contact Form and we’ll be in touch.

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