Thought Leaders 2022: Mark Ferguson
What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2022?
As Australian industry recovers from the effects of COVID-19, there is a huge emphasis on reducing energy costs associated with running plant and equipment. Pressures are also mounting in keeping pace with carbon reduction and environmental issues. With the cost of generating compressed air the highest annual energy cost in many industries, the compressed air industry worldwide is striving to find efficiency improvements in order to be a provider of power now and into the future.
With international chain constraints, opportunities for growth in Australian manufacturing will create a demand for compressed air equipment that can keep up with new technologies and applications.
What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2022?
- Finding and developing the skills needed to cater to the national demand for energy-saving compressed air systems. Experienced and trainee management, service technicians, salespeople, system designers, warehouse and logistical service and support personnel are needed to take the industry to the next level.
- Further developing working partnerships with our clients so they can take full advantage of the complete range of products and services that will ensure them trouble-free and cost-saving compressed air supply that exactly matches their applications.
- Selecting and marketing the right choice of products and services that cater to the current and future needs of our customers in providing the latest, proven expertise, engineering and technologies that continue to deliver our promise of ‘Engineering the Future’.
What impacts have the pandemic lockdowns had on your industry, and how does this affect your business strategies for 2022?
Whilst the past two years have been extremely difficult in terms of workforce, production and maintenance restrictions, we have spent our time keeping our operating customers’ compressed air systems running at peak efficiency and stocking up with the latest world-class machinery and system components ready for the inevitable demand to come this year and beyond. We have gone from a ‘just in time’ inventory model to a ‘just in case’ model, meaning we are well placed with excellent levels of inventory to take on the expected industry demand in 2022.
We are very optimistic of the growth in the Australian manufacturing and general industry over the coming years and have planned to lead the Australian compressed air industry in the recovery. Heavy industrial, manufacturing, automotive, mining, food, instrumental, electronics, you name it, we are ready with the products and capabilities to match the exacting needs of any application.
It will be imperative for businesses to minimise energy use whilst increasing productive output. Compressed air operators must critically assess their current system for inefficiencies and calculate input energy to determine the need for upgrades to new equipment.
Is your company working on decarbonisation strategies or net-zero goals to mitigate the effects of climate change in 2022?
Our whole global business is about reduction of energy use for increased output for our customers.
We are also working with our global group to develop advanced power regeneration and energy solutions that convert otherwise wasted energy to usable power. We supply compressors that consume around 1500 MW of electricity from the global grid and offset this with renewable expander generation systems that produce well in excess of 1500 MW of electricity. For that reason, we are, in effect, carbon neutral.
The global Kaishan Group manufacturing divisions are already carbon neutral with stringent production recycling policies and implementation procedures.
How is your industry preparing for artificial intelligence (AI) 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.
- 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.
- Introducing advanced 2-stage compressors that allow the compression ratio to be split over two distinct rotary screw airends resulting in less slippage, less bearing loads and with intercooling, significantly higher outputs for the installed motor power. The output of a 2-stage compressor is typically around 20% higher than that of an equivalent single-stage compressor.
- Supplying new age, PMV compressed air systems that combine the most energy-efficient combination of proven energy-saving technologies in the compressed air industry today. It’s a game changer, offering unsurpassed efficiency in compressors down to 15 kW, providing models suitable for virtually any industry application. When PMVF is applied through two-stage technology models it can provide up to 50% increased efficiency over conventional fixed speed compressor types.
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