Thought Leaders 2021: Mark Ferguson

Kaishan Australia Pty Ltd

Monday, 11 January, 2021

Thought Leaders 2021: Mark Ferguson

What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2021?

With a renewed emphasis on local manufacture, it is anticipated there will be an increased demand for economical, sustainable compressed air generation to power machinery and tools across a wide variety of industries. Opportunities in manufacturing of scientific instruments, new age technologies and equipment, and a return to homegrown design and engineering will foster the need for new generation, highly efficient air compressors and ancillary equipment.

With the growth of new industries will come the need for existing manufacturers to upgrade their equipment to the new world standards required to compete on both the local and international markets.

With energy costs rising constantly, compressed-air-reliant industries will need to lower the cost of energy input whilst maintaining or increasing compressed air power output. This will be achieved by upgrading outdated equipment by offsetting capital expenditure with massive energy savings over years of operations.

We at Kaishan Australia are at the forefront in the supply and servicing of super energy-efficient air compressors for all types and sizes of industry over a wide range of applications.

Our support and service teams are primed for a high demand in new equipment installations and regular service programs that maintain compressed air systems at peak operating efficiencies. These highly trained specialists have the experience and know-how to maximise operating efficiencies in virtually any type or brand of air compressor and system.

What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2021?

  1. Finding the right people to lead our industry into this new decade. From experienced and entrepreneurial managements to highly trained support and service technicians who can keep pace with the latest energy-saving engineering and technologies.
  2. Continuing to research and develop ever more efficient compressors and system components that will keep pace with the demands of industry in a world that is experiencing energy shortages and ever increasing costs.
  3. Keeping in tune with industry developments so as to predict and cater to the changing needs of Australian industry. We need to be proactive rather than reactive to growth and change.

What impact has the COVID-19 global pandemic had on your industry and how does this affect your business strategies for 2021?

Obviously, the restrictions placed on industry with reduced workforce, greatly changed working conditions and operating limitations for our own business have affected our bottom line. More importantly the effect on our client companies and general suppression of business expansion has reduced the demand for our products, particularly in the smaller business sector.

Whilst some companies saw complete or partial shutdown as an opportunity to upgrade or service existing equipment, our service division continued to operate utilising strictly COVID-safe procedures on a 24/7 basis to solve problems swiftly and keep clients operational at the highest efficiency possible.

We have planned to operate at maximum possible capacity with finely tuned contingency strategies which can quickly be implemented should COVID restrictions or lockdowns re-occur. We have re-assessed our future strategies to include rapid response to any predictable future conditions to ensure we maintain a supply chain and service protocol that ensures our clients receive the highest quality of product and support possible.

How has the current international uncertainty impacted your cybersecurity and/or supply chain management plans for 2021?

Being a largely autonomous Australian contingent of a leading global corporation with manufacturing plants and offices throughout the world, we are confident that the Kaishan group and our integrated strategies and systems are prepared for any contingency that may threaten.

Whilst we are aware of international political influences affecting world markets, our position as a market leader in the Australian compressed air industry employing a large national workforce is one of continuing to develop and service Australian industry. Formerly operating as Southern Cross Australia Pty Ltd with over 40 years’ experience in supply and service of high-quality air compressors and service, now as Kaishan Australia we are in a far stronger and stable position to supply and service Australian industry.

What are your thoughts about the post COVID-19 ‘new normal’ in relation to remote working technologies and supporting staff?

As a supplier of energy-efficient air compressors and systems, we are well prepared to face the changes of COVID-normal conditions. Whilst it is preferred that our workforce can now operate close to normal, we can operate with remote staff connections particularly in the sales and marketing areas. Our tech service teams are fully equipped and stocked to operate with minimal office interaction. Kaishan Australia will always support its staff to remain as safe and efficient as possible until we can drop the COVID from ‘normal’.

What sustainable strategies will be at the forefront for your business in 2021?

  1. Continuing to source and supply the best possible solutions to our customers’ compressed air needs now and in the future.
  2. Working with our international partners to provide revolutionary new technologies to maintain compressed air as a viable power source for industry well into the future.
  3. Employing and deploying the best people in the industry to service our customers.
  4. Continuing our growth and enviable reputation in the Australian and international markets.
  5. Adapting to the needs of Australian industry on a proactive platform.

How is your industry preparing for artificial intelligence developments and/or advanced manufacturing?

As our international slogan reads: ‘ENGINEERING THE FUTURE!’ is an insight into a global manufacturer that places R&D high on its priorities to ensure we are proactive in the development of advanced technologies and engineering solutions that will benefit industry throughout the world while reducing energy consumption for environmental sustainability.

  1. By developing more highly automated functioning of industrial air compressors through variable speed drive technology that programs the compressor to provide for fluctuating demands in work schedules thereby using less energy in lower or non-usage periods.
  2. Introducing advanced 2-Stage compressors that allows the compression ratio to be split over two distinct rotary screw airends resulting in compression ratios across each airend of around 3:1. The outcome is less slippage, less bearing loads and with intercooling, significantly higher outputs for the installed motor power. The output of a two-stage compressor is typically around 20% higher than that of an equivalent single-stage compressor.
  3. Supplying new age, PMVF compressed air systems that combine the most energy-efficient combination of proven energy-saving technologies in the compressed air industry today. It really is a unique systematic optimisation of an advanced compressor unit, superior airend quality and dynamics integrated with the latest in permanent magnet motors which require a lower kW input to maintain specified air demand. It’s a game changer, offering unsurpassed efficiency in compressors down to 22 kW, providing models suitable for virtually any industry application. When PMFV is applied through two stage technology models it can provide up to 50% increased efficiency over conventional compressor types.

For over 30 years Mark Ferguson has worked with a myriad of compressed air equipment applications across Australia. Starting in the industry as a Graduate Engineer, Mark has been involved in all aspects of compressed air including sales and marketing, design and manufacture through to business leadership. “It has been an amazing journey through an incredible number of industries and applications and I’ve never lost the passion for what I do.”

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