Published 25-02-2021
| Article appears in February 2021 Issue

Compressed air industry faces up to challenges of 2021

24-02-2021
When PMFV is applied through two stage technology models it can provide up to 50% increased efficiency over conventional compressor types.

The restrictions that COVID-19 placed on us from 2020,  is a wake up call on export and import reliance for many industries. 

We can continue as we were and hope for a slow progress to recovery or learn some important lessons in adaptability to the current and future business environment with renewed vitality and optimism. 

New opportunities will continue to emerge for local Australian design and manufacture. This is in particular with scientific process, new age technologies, mining, food production and engineering, as a result of restrictions on imported goods, parts and supply chains. 

So that the Compressed Air industry must adapt to remain in line with such new growth, offering a viable and sustainable energy source to power new processes and machinery. 

Just as industry needs to upgrade plant and equipment to meet world standards and compete in local and international markets, compressed air systems must keep pace with new user demands. 

Keeping pace, and in fact contributing to leading global compressed air technologies is the greatest challenge to Australian based suppliers in 2021 and beyond. 

With continuously rising energy costs across Australia and the whole industrialised world, compressed air must be delivered more cost efficiently and with an improved  ‘energy in/energy output’ ratio than ever before, or alternative end-use power sources will eventually take over. 

Existing operators must update existing systems or embrace new compressed air technologies to lower or at least maintain their energy costs.  

It can clearly be demonstrated that the capital costs of upgrading will be recovered through big energy savings over a few years of operation.  

While the very latest innovations and technology in air compressor design and engineering are dramatically reducing the energy required to run them, it is also incumbent on the user to maintain their compressed air systems in peak efficiency condition. 

Regular expert servicing of compressors and ancillary equipment dramatically reduces the occurrence of leakage and inefficient operation. 

Expertise and experience to lead the industry

Human resources is a vital part of industry development. And Management must be aware of industry trends, availability and implementation of latest technologies and build a team capable of supplying and servicing a wide spectrum of industry types. 

They must also be proactive, keeping pace with and contributing to the evolution of global technologies that will maintain compressed air as the power source of choice, by a majority in their market industries.   

Sales and marketing people must fully understand the needs of the changing markets and be fully aware of the products and services required to meet demands, now and in the future. 

Financial personnel must be aware of ‘capital cost versus payback’ formulas and liaise with sales and marketing to deliver real term benefits proposals to customers.

Service heads and technicians must be continually trained and in tune with evolving technologies and the increasing demands of compressed air users. They need to provide support in all facets of user needs and informed advice to operators. 

Finding the right people to perform these roles is a big challenge for all Australian based compressed air suppliers. 

So companies must attract the best personnel possible and instigate constant structured training programmes for staff at all levels. 

The impact of COVID on the CA industry

According to Mark Ferguson of Kaishan Australia, the restrictions placed on industry with reduced workforce, greatly changes working conditions and operating limitations affected the company’s bottom line. 

More importantly the effect on client companies and general suppression of business expansion reduced the demand for products, particularly in the smaller business sector.

While companies saw complete or partial shutdown as an opportunity to upgrade or service existing equipment, Kaishan’s service division continued to operate utilising strictly Covid-safe procedures on a 24/7 basis.  These kept clients operational at the highest efficiency possible. 

Mark Ferguson, CEO of Kaishan Australia commented: “We planned to operate at maximum possible capacity with finely tuned contingency strategies which could be quickly 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. 

“As a supplier of advanced technology, energy efficient air compressors and systems, we are well prepared to face the changes of Covid-normal conditions should they continue throughout 2021 and beyond. 

"While it is preferred that our workforce 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’ .”

 

Proactive R&D is vital to maintain the industry

As virtually all air compressors and system equipment sold in Australia are sourced from overseas based companies, locally based suppliers must ensure that their products are utilising the very latest in engineering excellence and energy saving technologies. 

They need to be proactive in inputting the needs of their customer base to local and international R&D programs. Industry diversity and local conditions must be considered in the development of products that fit the bill for Australian compressed air users. Current and potential customers must be kept up to date with global developments that will influence their future choice of products and brand.   

Available new technologies

VARIABLE SPEED DRIVE: A highly automated functioning of industrial air compressors through variable speed drive technology, programs the compressor to provide for fluctuating demands in work schedules thereby using less energy in lower or non-usage periods.

ADVANCED 2-STAGE CONFIGURATION: This relatively new compressor type 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 2-stage compressor is typically around 20% higher than that of an equivalent singe stage compressor. 

NEW AGE PMV AIR COMPRESSORS: Developed by Kaishan, this revolutionary compressed air system is an integrated 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.  Kaishan’s PMV technology and engineering offers unsurpassed efficiency in compressors down to 22kW, 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. 

Kaishan Australia is one local compressed air company that strives to remain 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. 

The company’s support and service teams are primed for a high demand in new equipment installations and regular service programs. With highly trained specialists to maximise operating efficiencies on all types of air compressors and system.

Formerly operating as Southern Cross Australia Pty Ltd with over 40 years’ experience in the supply and service of high quality air compressors, Kaishan Australia sees itself in a far stronger and stable position to supply and service Australian industry.

Mark Ferguson stated: “As our International slogan reads: ‘ENGINEERING THE FUTURE!’ is an insight that places R&D high on priorities to ensure we are proactive in the development of advanced technologies and engineering solutions that will benefit industry in Australia and throughout the world while reducing energy consumption for environmental sustainability”.

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