Mike Torbitt, new Cressall M. D.


Cressall Resistors announces the appointment of Mike Torbitt as the company’s new managing director, from 1 December 2023. With an impressive background in leadership and a wealth of experience in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, Mike brings a dynamic and strategic vision to guide Cressall Resistors through its next phase of growth and innovation.

Mike joined Cressall in December 2021 as head of finance and business systems, and additionally took on the role of deputy managing director in October 2023. He takes over from Simone Bruckner, the outgoing managing director, who’s led the business for over eight years.

Mike has over 17 years’ experience in key finance and leadership roles across a range of industries, including a stint as UK finance director at sporting and outdoor goods manufacturer Thule Group and several roles within the automotive and manufacturing industries.

His successful track record includes spearheading business strategies, driving operational excellence and fostering a collaborative work environment. Mike’s pragmatic leadership and experience as a highly trusted team player is demonstrated through his record of commercial success at several multimillion-pound organisations.

Cressall, with its global footprint and strong reputation for manufacturing excellence, has become a trusted partner for customers seeking reliable and efficient resistor solutions from a range of applications — from automotive to power generation to marine and offshore use cases. Mike’s appointment will allow him to provide strategic consultation and projection with a focus on growing the business’ key areas — its dynamic braking resistor for automotive applications, the EV2, and its load bank division, Power Prove.

“Mike joined the Cressall team almost two years ago, and since then he’s already made a great impact on our operations,” said outgoing managing director, Simone Bruckner. “His strong background in finance and business procedures and proven ability to adopt a strategy of commercial success will ensure the continued growth of the business.”

“Simone has been an ideal role model in the time that I have been with Cressall and I know that he is a tough act to follow,” added Mike Torbitt. “I would like to thank the board of directors and owners for their confidence that I can deliver on their expectations, and to wish Simone every success on his next venture on behalf of the whole Cressall family.

“Cressall has a rich history of delivering high-quality resistor solutions to a diverse range of industries. I am eager to build on this foundation, surrounded by a strong, reliable team of experts that are responsible for the company’s success. Now, it’s about evolving an already well-established business and growing our presence in the most promising sectors.”


power transmission

With the rise of offshore windfarms and international grid links, effectively and efficiently transmitting electricity over long distances is more crucial than ever before.

Simone Bruckner, Managing Director of Cressall, explains the role of high voltage direct current (HVDC) and filter resistors in making long-distance energy transition possible.

The UK has four times more offshore windfarms in operation than in 2012, with the number set to rise significantly as the government looks to reach its goal of generating 50 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030.

Along with this rise, international and intercontinental grid links have increased as the UK trades excess power with other countries, much of which is generated by renewable means. Trading the surplus not only saves energy, but also prevents Brits paying to turn off turbines when more energy is generated than the grid can take.

As the UK currently has 13.9GW offshore wind capacity compared to its 50GW goal, it is important that this output is used efficiently and energy loss is kept at a minimum. Although alternating current (AC) is standard in electrical power transmission, the current often concentrates near the conductor’s surface – known as the skin effect – which causes energy loss.


HVDC is a transmission system that uses direct current (DC) for the transfer of power over long distances. As remote offshore windfarms and the grid are often far apart, HVDC enables effective transmission due to its uniform current density throughout the line.

Additionally, HVDC supports the trading of excess power between unsynchronised AC distribution systems, which run at a set frequency and cannot be connected to those with a different frequency. As HVDC does not have a frequency, multiple circuits can be interconnected and converted to both system voltage and frequency levels of the system at point of use.

While HVDC is used for international grid links, it must be converted back to AC at the local grid level. However, converters create harmonic distortion, which in turn can cause lower efficiency, overheating and increased chance of equipment failure.

Therefore, harmonic filter resistors are a vital part of HVDC and SVC converter stations, helping to remove harmonics by dissipating them as heat. This ensures a safe and assured power supply for the UK and countries across the continent.

The UK’s rollout of offshore windfarms currently puts it among world leaders, and with the pipeline of projects close to 100GW, Britain could soon supply many countries with surplus energy. With the ever-increasing need for sustainable energy, HVDC ensures that countries across the world can safely and securely benefit from wind power.


pre-insertion resistors for turbines


Back in 2019, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised 40 GW of UK offshore wind power by 2030. In early 2022, the Government raised that target to 50 GW, with an additional five GW from floating wind turbines. But are floating wind farms the solution to existing offshore power problems?

Many of us will be familiar with the sight of wind turbines. After all, there are more than 10,000 of the structures on land and at sea in the UK. In terms of efficiency, offshore wind turbines often have more favourable wind conditions, producing more electricity per turbine than their onshore counterparts.

But traditional offshore wind turbines have their limitations. Traditional offshore turbines are built onto a large steel column, fixed into a concrete foundation on the seabed. These can only be installed in relatively shallow waters, up to depths of around 60m. Not only does this limit the potential areas for turbine installations, it also means that the turbines have less access to the stronger winds that are often found further out to sea.


To capitalise on the stronger winds further out, floating wind turbines can be built instead. These are turbines built on huge floats, anchored to the seabed with weighted subsea cables.

Operating in much deeper water, floating wind farms make use of vast areas that were previously considered not suitable for offshore wind power. Being further out to sea also means that turbines can be a lot larger in size than their counterparts, producing even more electricity per turbine.

Kincardine, the world’s largest floating wind farm based in Scotland, has five operational floating wind turbines. Three cylindrical floats arranged in a triangular formation support each turbine, and pipes between the floats allow liquid ballast to be pumped around the structure. In this manner, the weight of the turbine can be shifted to stabilise it in harsh conditions, as well as orientating it for the wind direction.



In April 2023, a report published by the House of Commons stated that, at the UK’s current pace of change, it will miss its target of decarbonising the power sector by 2035. As the UK fights to secure its energy supply, what progress is being made in the renewable sector, and what needs to change? In this article, Simone Bruckner, managing director of resistor manufacturer Cressall, explores.

More and more applications are going electric. Whether it’s the cars we drive or the heat pumps in our homes, rising electrification is putting more pressure on the grid. In fact, the UK’s electricity demand is expected to double by 2035.

60 per cent of our current electricity usage comes from low-carbon sources, which includes renewables and nuclear power. But within the next twelve years, renewables are expected to supply up to 90 per cent of the country’s power if we’re to meet decarbonisation targets. In real terms, this sets a target of around 150 GW of renewable energy. But this is a long way off our current capacity of just 40 GW.

Further efforts to secure the UK’s energy independence while meeting decarbonisation targets have resulted in additional goals. The British Energy Security Strategy has outlined a 50 GW target for offshore wind by 2030, as well as a 70 GW target for solar by 2035.

But with a current solar capacity of just 14 GW, is the UK on track to meet such targets?


One of the biggest issues faced by those in the solar sector is obtaining planning permissions and approvals. Industry body Solar Energy UK reported back in 2021 that around 17 GW of new projects were in the planning pipeline, with just under 800 MW of new projects entering the pipeline each month. But typically only around 500 MW of capacity is added each year, much lower than the approximate 4.5 GW required to meet the Security Strategy’s 70 GW target.

In Sleaford, Lincolnshire, a 600 MW solar farm able to power 190,000 homes is currently undergoing consultation with local residents. Despite being in talks now, if the plans for the farm are approved, it’s not expected to start construction until at least 2026.

Another problem with solar power is efficiency. Solar panels tend to operate with efficiencies between 15 and 20 per cent, compared to between 30 and 50 per cent for wind. Evidently, there’s improvements to be made to the efficiency of solar power if the UK is to hit its targets. But what can be done?


Maintenance is a key factor in improving efficiency. Regular cleaning and inspection ensures that the solar panels are working properly. But there might be times when the solar panel needs to be disconnected for more extensive maintenance or repairs, presenting an electrical safety challenge.

While there is still sufficient light, the solar panel will continue to produce electricity. This electricity must be discharged so that the panel can be handled safely. This can be done using a load bank, which dissipates excess electricity to allow safe disconnection, installation, and maintenance of solar panels.


Ground-mounted solar panels have the advantage of space, compared to those fixed onto rooftops. This means that the panels can be tilted and moved with respect to the sun’s position in the sky. An electric drive system is used to move the panels, either along a pre-programmed path or using information obtained via solar radiation sensors.

Moving the solar panels helps to maximise their efficiency throughout the day, as well as accounting for minute changes in the sun’s position and trajectory throughout the seasons. In fact, these systems can increase the output of solar farms by up to 35 per cent.

Motorising solar panels requires electronics that can ensure they move precisely and safely. To achieve this, a dynamic braking resistor (DBR) can be used. A DBR dissipates the excess voltage generated by the motors as they decelerate. As a result, the panels stop exactly when required, resulting in a more accurate positioning.

Though these slight changes in positioning may only be minute, when multiplied across an entire solar farm, they represent a significant proportion of its overall output and efficiency.

Finding suitable resistors for the solar sector can be a challenge. Cressall has vast experience in providing resistors for a variety of applications, including renewables. Offering resistors with no wearing components, they can last as long as the solar panels themselves, minimising downtime.

As deadlines get closer, pressure is mounting to provide a secure supply of green energy. Evidently, governments, planning regulators, energy companies and manufacturers will all have a part to play in the UK’s journey to green energy. As the House of Commons’ report states, the achievement of a decarbonised energy system will not come easily ─ but it is not impossible.